On 'The Good Wife,' Christine Baranski Packs a Gun

CBS's The Good Wife is great entertainment, but it's also a pretty accurate reflection of the current social climate, especially where women's issues are concerned. We all know that some career women decide to take time off to raise children, and the series focuses on a character, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), who has already done that. The hurdles Anita encounters as she re-enters the fray -- new technology to master, younger counterparts to compete with -- no doubt resonate with many viewers.

But in a subplot of tonight's episode (10 p.m. ET), the show tackles another timely subject: women packing heat. When Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) learns about the release of a felon she helped to convict, she worries for her safety. Then, she begins carrying a handgun.

Diane's choice reflects a nationwide trend. A 2009 poll of firearms retailers, conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, reported a large increase in female customers. The motive for the vast majority, according to an NSSF survey? Personal protection.

Then there are overall gun sales, which soared in 2009 (partly for political reasons: gun advocates allegedly feared that the new administration would hinder their right to buy firearms). The recession is another factor. "People [are] worried that the economic crisis will lead to more crime," writes Sean Gregory in a Time Magazine article last April.

According to Laura Browder, author of Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America, gun manufacturers now incorporate personal safety fears into ad campaigns. Where they used to market guns to adventurous, sure-shooting female customers, they now direct their ads at suburban housewives concerned about anonymous violence. In Diane's case on The Good Wife, of course, the threat is more direct. But it'll be interesting to watch a liberal lefty character who'd normally advocate gun control justify her decision to lock and load.

Plus: Message to Good Wife Fans: Keep an Eye on Kalinda

Do you know a woman who carries a gun for personal protection? Chime in below!

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