VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Firearm Industry Trade Association revealed that at least 5.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time last year.

In the first six months of 2021, nearly 87% of gun stores nationwide saw an increase in African American women buying firearms.

That’s the group local firearms instructor Joel Jones is targeting to teach gun safety.

“If you want something done, you’ve got to get the women. If the men are not doing what they are supposed to be doing as far as teaching and leading, we’ve got the women who’ve been doing it forever,” said Jones.

10 On Your Side sat in on one of his classes at the Superior Pawn and Gun shooting range for a Mother’s Day training event.

One of his students, Andrea Triplett, who’s now a gun owner, said she believes Black women started buying guns at a time when racial injustice issues were at the forefront.

“George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, a lot of women being single like myself, therefore I need to be able to protect myself. I don’t depend on anyone else to do that, so I put it in my own hands,” said Triplett.

Now, she comes to the shooting range every couple of weeks to get used to her gun and learn as much safety from Jones as possible.

“It really is worth it to learn the defense. It’s not just about the guns; you learn about the laws and how to live with them,” said Triplett.

From conversations to hands-on practice, Jones coaches them every step of the way.

“As they become more comfortable with the firearm, God forbid if they ever have to deploy that firearm to defend themselves, they won’t hesitate,” explained Jones.

He said you can also rent firearms to learn before you get comfortable enough to buy one.

“If I can take one person, train them in the ways of gun safety and they keep doing it, they can do the same to someone else,” said Jones.

If you’re interested in learning more about gun safety, click here to connect with Jones’ classes.