I’m not sure many women can point to one incident that inspired them to become a full-time concealed-carrying gun owner. For many, it’s a series of events including formal education and personal experiences that add up over time to finally persuade a woman to take her personal protection into her own hands. The process can be complex, spanning weeks or months, even years, in which she works to provide herself with the particular answers she needs to become comfortable with her decision. But one of the main reasons I encourage every woman who carries to keep telling her story is that sometimes, all it takes is one chance encounter to transform someone into a full-time concealed-carrying gun owner.
Women’s interest in guns began increasing in the 1980s, coinciding with more women entering previously male-dominated professions like law enforcement and corporate America. As women became more independent, taking control of their careers, finances and living arrangements, home defense and personal protection became an increasing concern.
And trust me, if we lived in a perfect world, women wouldn’t have to have these difficult conversations and consider how we should best defend ourselves. There are, however, horrible people in this world who do horrible things. Given the reality of the situation, it’s important to allow us to be proactive in stopping potential assaults instead of looking back at decades of abuse and wondering how it could have been prevented.
Millions of women in the United States have experienced rape. As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape.
Young women are especially at risk. 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 90% of adult rape victims are female. Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Females of the same age who are not enrolled in college are 4 times more likely.
In my experience, it seems that in many discussions about gun owners, most people base their beliefs/fears/impressions/biases on a stereotype of a drunken, rowdy, redneck man acting recklessly and irresponsibly. Personally, I have yet to see these people, except in lame movies and sitcoms.The Second Amendment applies to us all, “the people”, not just men. So as a woman, I want to state my feelings about this amendment and what rights I believe it bestows on me:
- I have the right to defend myself, no matter what the “weapon.”
- I have the right to defend my children, my grandchildren and any other loved ones.
- I have the right to carry my defense wherever I go, not restricted (and in danger of being victimized) based on another person’s fear or lack of knowledge.
- I have the right to be free of intimidation, ridicule, bias, discrimination and judgment from those who disagree with my stand or are simply uneducated and ignorant of the facts about gun ownership, self-defense, and safety.
AS A WOMAN, I AM NOT:
- Too stupid or incompetent to handle a firearm. I drive a deadly weapon every day. Cars have killed more people than guns. According to the CDC website, there are nearly four times as many deaths from automobiles than there are from guns. Driving a car is not a “right” and yet no one ever talks about placing further restrictions on my ability to own a vehicle.
- Less important than politicians or others who think they deserve armed protection but I don’t, because they have an “important” job or are wealthy.
- Less likely to be a target than a politician or wealthy person. Simply by virtue of existing as a woman, I am more likely to be a target than they are. Most of us however, don’t have the resources to hire security teams. That cannot be held against us.
- Helpless and frail. I should not have to, nor will I, depend on the police or a man to protect me. Not only is it impossible to guarantee they will be there when needed, it is an insult in this day of feminism and equal rights to suddenly, in this one area of our lives, become the damsel in distress.
- A coward. I believe that if someone should be burdened with taking another life in order to protect mine that I should be the one to bear that burden. Expecting others to deal with it to spare me the trauma is nothing short of cowardly.
In addition, here are my beliefs about what others (in particular, politicians and others who would wield their influence and money) should NOT be able to do:
- No politician or other person, who surrounds themselves with armed security guards, should have the ability to make laws or vote on laws to restrict my ability to bear arms and provide for my own security.
- No politician or other person who has never had any training, education, or experience with guns should be able to make laws or vote on laws restricting the use of my rights and ability to protect myself (and my loved ones).
- No politician or other person should have the right to tell me that I must be a victim because they are afraid of guns due to their own lack of knowledge, education, or experience.
- And finally, no politician or other person (including other women!) who disagree with me should be able to force their beliefs and fears on me through wrongful laws. To borrow from another political minefield, MY BODY MY CHOICE – on how I defend it.
Since the invention of gunpowder, women have demonstrated an amazing proficiency with firearms. Against tradition, sometimes at the risk of imprisonment, women have disguised themselves as men in order to bear arms to defend their nations. On the frontier, they learned to shoot to survive.
Black women are buying up hand guns in record numbers. The number one reason for the boost in new Black female handgun owners is protection. The history of Black women arming themselves dates back to our earliest years in this country. Harriet Tubman even carried a gun for protection on the Underground Railroad. She also used her rifle to threaten runaway slaves who wanted to turn back, telling them, “You’ll be free or die.“ Black women activists (in the 1960′s and 1970′s) first ”used the gun as a bid for equal power within their often sexist movements, “ says Laura Browder, author of Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America.
Estimates put the number of American women who own guns between 12 million and 15 million. Of the more than 200 million firearms owned in the U.S., 10.8% were owned by women in 2008, according to a National Opinion Research Center survey.
Alongside male-dominated groups like the National Rifle Association and Gunowners of America, a gun lobbying group aimed at women is fighting for gun rights. Women Against Gun Control, founded in the 1990s, is a grass-roots lobbying organization that proclaims on its Facebook page, “Not all women support gun control. Not all women want to be victims.”
Self-defense expert Paxton Quigly, who has taught thousands of women how to shoot, released a book in 2010, Armed & Female: Taking Control, in which she advocates that all women own a handgun for self-defense.