Fifty women with a passion for their Second Amendment-protected rights are gearing up to head to the nation’s capital to make their voices heard. Women have been called by The DC Project, sponsored by A Girl & A Gun (AG & AG), to act as citizen representatives to meet with legislators from their state on Capitol Hill June 20-23.
Champion shooter and captain of Team Benelli Dianna Muller drew on her resources to put the group together by reaching out to AG & AG founders Juliana Crowder and Robyn Sandoval, based out of Austin, Texas.
“My husband and I were on the East Coast between matches and being tourists. We were close to D.C. I have a friend there who said [to me], ‘Do you want to meet your congressman?’” recalled Muller.
Muller never had any prior interest in meeting with her representatives, but after the encounter she started to think about what shooters could do to reach out to legislators and teach them about firearms, the shooting sports and hunting.
“Women can speak and have a heavier impact because it’s not the traditional ‘old white guy syndrome’ that people stereotype gun owners to be. I can’t go talk to Dianne Feinstein, she won’t listen to me,” Muller explained, referring to the U.S. senator from California. “So I need someone from every state, and that’s where it started.”
The June trip will be the third year the event has taken place. “We make a strong point of it not to be partisan, but to truly be about why your Second Amendment rights are important to you. We have a very charismatic group of women nationwide who care passionately about their Second Amendment rights,” explained Robyn Sandoval.
Sandoval works with her partner, Crowder, at AG & AG, a nationwide organization that trains and empowers women to become educated in gun safety and proper handling. It also encourages them to be involved in the shooting sports, hunting, and the continuation of Second Amendment traditions. That empowerment translates into confidence to go out and engage in more interpersonal actions, as well as heading to Capitol Hill.
“The support has been very positive. We’ve been able to meet with legislators that are strongly opposed and stake their careers on being opposed [to the Second Amendment]. We know these conversations are not going to be easy to have, but all of them are going to have to address issues, topics, and legislation that comes across their desk. They need to be educated about it and make smart decisions about those topics,” Sandoval said.
Formerly anti-gun, Sandoval changed her tune after a major hurricane hit the Gulf of Mexico. “It opened my eyes to the fact that families really had to hunker down. You had to be able to provide for your children and be self-sufficient, and when first responders couldn’t respond, you had to be your own first responder. That was a very new concept for me.”
After storing supplies around the house, Sandoval’s husband asked her what they were going to do if someone came for them. “That was an answer I didn’t have. And that was the first time I agreed that maybe we could have a firearm in the home.”
The trip is still seeking representatives for Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, and it is seeking donations for travel costs for representatives.
Women want to speak with legislators and put a face to gun owners as more than a stereotype.
On a closing note, Sandoval stated, “As I always say, when men shoot it’s a hobby. But when women shoot, it becomes part of the family culture and the lifestyle.”
To learn more, check out the AG & AG website.