Local women are invited to lace up their petticoats and fasten their gun holsters for a day of friends, food and gun safety.

The Aiken County Republican Party, along with wives of Aiken County Republican elected officials, will host “Petticoats, Pastries and Pistols” beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday at The Carolina Star Gun and Hunt Club in Windsor.

“It was an event that just came to mind,” said Diane Barnes, chairman of the Aiken County Republican Party. “Being the new chairman for the Aiken County Republican Party, I wanted to be able to come out and do a women’s event. What a great opportunity for women to come out and bring your friends, get a chance to learn about guns and safety and promote awareness.”

The event will begin with a brunch and will then move to the gun range. Barnes said there will be two instructors certified by the National Rifle Association, one of whom is a woman. Participants will be going “back to the basics.”

“We’re going to be shooting on the range, but it’s going to be more so just to feel comfortable shooting your gun, not necessarily aiming for the bullseye,” Barnes said, adding that she’s had a gun for a while but doesn’t “feel comfortable” with it.

“I’ve got some women who have just purchased a gun and have never been out to a gun range before,” she said.

Participants are asked to bring a gun and ammo, but Barnes said it is not a requirement and that arrangements can be made if a participant doesn’t have a gun.

“People are just afraid of crime,” Barnes said of women’s increased interest in guns. “They’re afraid of being broken into. It’s more for self defense; that’s just an added security to have.”

Saturday’s event is limited to 30 participants. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 11 spots remaining, and Thursday is the last day to purchase tickets, according to Barnes. Tickets are $50.

The Carolina Star Gun and Hunt Club is located at 371 Cedar Branch Road in Windsor. For more information, email Barnes at dianecbarnes@gmail.com or call 803-439-5397.

Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.