NEWS

Pink guns now available for female hunters

Natalie Hayes

Whoever said hunters couldn’t be fashionable hasn’t heard about the hot new item female hunters are hoping to get their hands on this season.

Pink handguns and 22-caliber long guns are the latest must-haves for women hunters, and are flying off the shelves at Gander Mountain, a hunting and camping store with a location in Geneva. 

Gander Mountain began selling several types of firearms, including pink long-guns, a type of gun used for target practice, last year. Due to their popularity, the outdoor-goods chain added the pink handgun this year.

The addition of the guns, which were created exclusively for Gander Mountain by Remington and firearm manufacturer Taurus International Manufacturing Inc., was part of a plan designed to cater to a female-based clientele.

“More and more women are coming into the store,” said Tom Pattee, manager of Gander Mountain in Geneva. “Instead of sitting in the corner while men shop, they are the ones bringing the guys in here.”

Gander Mountain, which sells everything from moose-antler lamps to camping and fishing gear, recently began carrying more women-friendly gear at the request of its customers.

“We sell a lot more women’s stuff now,” Pattee said. “We’re becoming more of a family-oriented place to shop instead of just men.”

The company, which was established in 1962 and opened in Geneva in 2003, carries a selection of firearms, but the pink ones are reserved especially for the ladies.

“You’re not going to have too many guys running around with pink guns,” Pattee said.

Shooting sports have recently gained popularity among women, said J.R. Roe, owner of J.R. Shooting Sports in Aurora.

J.R. Shooting Sports offers handgun safety classes and a shooting range, in addition to a selection of retail items.

“A lot of our clients are women — I would say about half,” Roe said. “Some do it for enjoyment — others for self defense.”

At Gander Mountain, customers looking to purchase guns must undergo a background check to verify they have no felony convictions and no arrest warrants. Under state law, a Firearm Owners Identification Card must be presented and the customer is required to wait at least one day before purchasing the gun.

“We’re one of only two states that has that law — they can’t just come in and buy a gun the same day,” Pattee said.

Under state law, only the gun-owner can purchase a firearm.

“The regulations are stiff,” Pattee said. “We do a lot of business in gift cards around the holidays.”

Chicago Suburban

Gander Mountain offers five types of pink firearms:

• Remington 870 Junior 20-Ga. Pink Shotgun

• Remington Model 597 22LR with Pink Laminate Stock

• Taurus Millennium Pro 9mm Semi-Automatic Pistol

• Taurus Millennium Pro 380 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistol

• Taurus Millennium Pro 32 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistol