Nationwide, gun sales are up about 17 percent from last year. At action guns and sporting goods in Chico, gun sales are up about 20 percent. Of course many people buy guns for hunting and for target shooting, but according to government reports the majority of firearms sold are being used for self protection.
Twenty-nine-year old, Julie Raymond, knows how to handle a gun.
The single mother of three from Oroville grew up with them, and the strict rules that surround them.
"It was a big deal with my dad to teach us kids about safety. You don't touch them, you don't play with them, they're not toys they're powerful. They can kill people," recalls Raymond.
Julie has never owned her own gun. She thought she was safe just having an alarm, but a frightening situation with a man on Facebook this summer changed all that.
"It was inappropriate. It escalated to where he was calling my house and then i saw him at the store down the street." (Raymond)
That's when she decided to pull the trigger and buy a gun.
"From the time my alarm would go off and the cops getting here a lot can happen in just a few minutes and I would want to be able to protect my kids during that time." (Raymond)
Julie is one of the many North State residents taking aim at personal security issues by purchasing a firearm.
According to government figures, about 80 million people in the U.S. own guns. Every year about 100,000 gun owners use their weapon in self defense against crime, with the vast majority of these uses being only the display of weapons to deter or dissuade. In 14.2 percent of those cases, the defender believed someone probably would have died if a gun had not been used.
But are guns the best way to keep safe? Experts say that's a loaded question.
"If you have absolute good gun control and you're schooled in the operation of firing a weapon and you've practiced and you're basically competent with a firearm, then that might be an option for you. Is it always the best option? I can't say that," says Butte County Sheriff Jerry Smith.
Smith says that gun ownership can backfire if you're not careful.
"Having a gun can make you a victim as well." (Smith)
Some of his top concerns: your gun can be turned against you, your weapon can be stolen and someone else could be victimized, a child could get a hold of it, and you could be criminally liable should an injury occur with your gun.
Dan Azevedo is a former C.H.P. Officer and owner of Azevedo firearm training in Biggs.
For the last thirty years he's taught gun owners the positive aspects of gun ownership.
"You'll be able to protect yourself much easier. It's tactically an advantage than let's say... using a baseball bat or a broom handle. You don't have to be as close to this person." (Azevedo)
And the negative...
"In Sacramento, a gentleman heard what he thought was an intruder. He woke up in the middle of the night, grabbed his firearm, and shot his girlfriend." (Azevedo)
That October incident killed 34-year old Desire Miller. It's tragic stories like these that make Dan stress the importance of safety to his students.
But training at a range and taking classes isn't enough to keep you safe. Experts say before you exercise your second amendment right, you need to do some serious soul searching.
"One thing that would scare me is if someone decided to have a firearm and they knew in their heart they couldn't take another life to protect themselves or their family. That's possibly going to give that firearm to the bad person." (Azevedo)
"I would never pull my gun out unless I fully intended on using it." (Raymond)
While Julie says she would always take a bullet for her family...
"There could be consequences. I know that's going to have to be my last resort." (Raymond)
She also says she'll always remain extra cautious when it comes to shooting one.
If a gun is not for you, Sheriff Smith says there are many other ways to protect yourself.
He suggests pepper spray, taser guns, alarm systems, and his personal favorite, a loud barking dog.
But he says the absolute best way to protect yourself against crime is by simply paying attention and being aware of your surroundings.