BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "I pray to the fact that it's never a situation where my family is in the line of danger. Where I'm running errands to Walmart, Target or the grocery store and I'm put in a situation where I have to be mama bear," said Shikira Burt.
Shikira Burt and Amanda Cumberland are a lot alike. They're both married, mothers of three and their also two ladies who carry a whole lot of lead. Exercising their Second Amendment rights gives them piece of mind.
"I have a 9-millimeter. I carry a weapon with me at all times," said Burt.
"I have a 357. My guns with me all the time. I actually have a special purse and my gun goes in my middle pocket," said Cumberland.
Burt, a former police officer, has used guns since she was 18. Her family first taught her how to shoot. She still remembers a time pulling her gun out got her out of a dangerous situation. "While working on duty for a former police department that I was currently working for at a particular time, I did have a situation to where I needed to use my other resources of training in order to defend myself," said Burt.
At the age of eight, Cumberland's dad started teaching her how to shoot. She said that training gave her a healthy respect for guns. Her weapon is what she credits for saving her years ago.
"I remember being about eight months pregnant, went to show a property had gotten there before the clients. Just to check everything out walked in. I had left the door open, so the clients could come in behind me and I had some people walk in and confront me. Well little did they expect an eight-month pregnant woman in five-inch heels to pull out a gun out of her purse," Cumberland recalled.
President of Coast Rifle and Pistol Club Randy Brownlee is seeing more women at the range.
"We have had a huge influx of associate members wives now joining with their husbands that enjoy the shooting sports. Shooting is a great sport. It's a lot of fun. The protection part, for your self-protection that has been big lately, with all of the school shootings and such as this," Brownlee explained.
Brownlee said while guns offer a high level of protection, anyone who buys one should learn how to use it. "I hate to say this, but most of the time women out-shoot the men," said Brownlee.
Seeing mass shootings play out all over America and abroad, Burt said she takes the responsibility of her safety and the safety of her family seriously. "Don't let fear overcome you because you might be put in a situation where you have to step and be a hero one day," said Burt.
For woman who might be frightened by the thought of firing a gun, these women said practice helps eliminate your fears.
"I'm not even five-foot tall. So I kinda feel like if I can pack a gun and I'm a decent shot, anybody can. It's so empowering to know you are the last line of defense sometimes in a strange situation and you're not the one who comes out in a body bag. Somebody else will and you'll be protecting your family, your home or whatever situation it is that you're in," said Cumberland.
If they are ever forced into a life or death situation, they won't have to hope they have a gun, they will.
It's a form of comfort that helps them sleep a little better a night. Cumberland and Burt said they don't carry a gun in an establishment that doesn't allow weapons inside.