(WBIR) The number of gun permits issued in Tennessee has nearly doubled between 2012 and 2013.

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the state issued 192,613 handgun carry permits in 2013. Of that 58,833 were given to women and 133,780 were given to men. Compare that to 2012. That year the state issued a total of 114,031 permits. 32,354 were given to women and 81,677 were given to men.

TN Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security: Handgun Data

Sunday, Frontier Firearms in Kingston held a handgun carry permit class. Of the seven people in the class, Ruth Hogate of Knoxville was the only woman. It's the first time she's taken a course to get her handgun carry permit.

Hogate said, "Mostly for personal protection for my home or if I'm out. I drive 50 minutes back and forth for work. I thought it would be safer to have something for personal protection."

Wes Lovell has been teaching the handgun permit class for four years. He said he's been noticing more women taking the course.

"There are more women taking classes for various reason. A lot of them more for self-defense and to get familiar with their guns. The ages of the women vary. I've had them in class from 21 years old, which is the minimum age, to I've had them all the way up to right about in their 70s or 80 years old."

Hogate feels many women want to avoid becoming a target for criminals and her permit is the first step to protecting herself. She just hopes she'll never have to use the weapon.

"I don't plan on it, but it's there in case I have to," Hogate said.