Live: Track the Storms

Women taking gun safety classes to prepare to protect themselves

"I was always anti-gun. ... I wasn't really scared of them, I just decided I wanted to be anti-gun, and what a difference 24 hours makes."

Meet Lori Shelton: She's learning how to properly use a gun after a nightmare shook her family last month.

"I was getting ready for work doing my normal routine, and I heard a noise as I was getting out of the shower."

Lori, who lives in the Greenbrook subdivision, couldn't believe what she saw next.

"I saw a man coming through the back of the house," she recalled. "The first thing I thought was I gotta do something."

And fast, because her husband wasn't home and her teenage daughter was asleep upstairs.

"I peeked through the blinds, the blinds stayed closed and peeked through and saw him looking at me. I mean we made complete eye contact," she said. "He proceeded to come through the back of the house, and I ran back and dialed 911."

Lori said police came within minutes.

"He did get away at that time, but they had him arrested within an hour because of a good description."

She says the crook stole several antiques — and her sense of security.

"It's really hard, you don't think about standing at the sink washing dishes, but with every dish that I wash, I'm constantly turning and looking over my shoulder to see if somebody is looking in."

It's a very eerie feeling, but today she's taking the Mississippi gun safety course, learning how to load, shoot, store and clean a gun.

She also practices on a target at the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency in Bartlett and said she plans to get her license to carry, a permit and get a gun.

"I wanted to get her in the class and build her confidence back up again to where she does feel safe in her own home," instructor Donna Holloway said.

Lori brings her daughter so she can learn as well.

"I've enjoyed it, I'm glad to know that I have a 15-year-old daughter and she knows the safety and the rules, and I feel pretty confident in her if she ever had to use a weapon for her defense."

But Lori isn't the only woman taking these steps.

In fact, Holloway said over 200 women have taken the course since it started last year. She says 50 percent of classes are made of women, and most go on to get their licenses to carry.

"We have a large group of women that want to learn more about their weapon, want to be comfortable with it, want to be able to protect themselves and their family," she said. "Policemen and their husbands are not always going to be there to protect them, so they need to learn how to protect themselves when they're out doing their daily lives."

Judith Starks says her house in Whitehaven was broken into and ransacked back in 1993.

"And it was broken into when I was away from home, and I thank God I was not there at the time."

Neighbors called police and luckily nothing was stolen, but years later Judith is taking the same gun safety course and says she wants to be able to defend herself.

"The thing that held me back was the fear, but now that the way the world has changed, I'm not going to be fearful anymore," she said. "Let the fear go, get these lessons."

So that's exactly what I did: let my fears go and learned how to properly load, hold and fire a gun.

It's a lot harder than it looks, but with great coaching, I nailed it.

"Every woman is capable of doing this," Holloway said.