PORTLAND -- As lawmakers debate gun control in Washington D.C., women in the Portland area are buying and learning to use guns in increasing numbers.

They ve been going fast. We ve been trying to get what we can, said Trudy Lacasse, who sells guns at a shop on Southeast Foster Road in Portland.

I ve sold to housewives, and the other day I had a teacher who said she wants to feel safe, she said.

At the Clackamas County Sheriff s Department training site, which is open to the public, Ashley Grunwald was learning to shoot.

It makes you feel strong though it is a little scary at first, she admits.

Her desire to get a concealed weapons permit was fueled by what she experienced during the Clackamas Town Center shootings. In December a gunman opened fire killing two people before shooting himself.

Background: Gunman, two victims die in Clackamas mall shooting

I was on the escalator with both my boys. I heard gun shots and people running, she remembered. I said to myself, 'It s time to get a gun that I can keep on me at all times.'

Manufacturers are marketing to women, with pink and lavender guns which sell for about $600. Women are also signing up for gun training classes in greater numbers.

For the first time, the Oregon Firearms Academy in Lebanon has added a spring class for women only.

In the class I took there were more women than men, Grunwald said. I think there are a lot of women who feel the same way I do.

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