It’s no secret that more and more women are using firearms to protect themselves, hunt and participate in shooting sports thanks to our Second Amendment freedoms. Today, there are more than 20 million female gun owners in America.
This is a topic dear to my heart since I was raised on a Georgia farm where shooting and hunting were a part of life while growing up. My father was a farmer and, at one time in his life, a school teacher. I was the only girl with four much older brothers. My father taught me the love of shooting and gun safety at an early age. I was only 11 when he died, but the love of hunting and competitive shooting has remained an important part of my life. It did not matter that I was a girl; I had a competitive spirit with politics in the classroom, athletics on the basketball court and competitive shooting. My three oldest brothers served in World War II. The second from the oldest was in the Army Air Corps, and he was killed when his plane was shot down over Germany; I never knew him. My oldest brother, Doc Dodgen, and my husband were competitive benchrest shooters. Doc set a world record at age 79. We still have two benches on our property for the next generation of family shooters. Another fun shooting sport while growing up was shooting at wooden matches and striking them. I could always out shoot the brother nearest my age. Guns, politics, the Second Amendment and the NRA have always been an important part of our lives.
These traditions continue to be passed from one generation to the next in our family. My husband and I gave our recently married grandson and his bride each a firearm of their choice for their wedding gift. She had almost no previous experience, but soon discovered the joy of learning to shoot. It was fun to witness a woman firearm owner take advantage of her Second Amendment rights with the enthusiasm, freedom and liberty which is being repeated by women in greater numbers all over this country.
Today, we see statistics documenting the fact that record numbers of women are learning firearm safety and handling. Many are arming themselves for self-defense, seeking proactive empowerment rather than running the risk of becoming a victim of crime. Rising numbers of women (in double-digit percentages) are taking part in concealed-carry classes and becoming an increasingly important voice in the gun-rights movement. An important new study recently found women gun owners more likely to follow politics, contact their elected officials, donate funds and voice their views on gun issues in voting, signing petitions and on social media. New target shooters are also more likely to be women (47%) and young (with 34 years old as the average age), according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
As a longtime female shooter, Second Amendment advocate and now NRA president, I can truly say how gratifying it is to witness this historic demographic expansion of women’s freedoms. I’m also proud our NRA is helping American women every day to protect their gun rights, network with other women and increase their abilities.
Because many women who are inexperienced with firearms may be intimidated by their lack of knowledge, the NRA offers several programs to empower them with training. The NRA’s Women On Target® provides a safe, friendly women-only venue to learn firearm safety and the fundamentals of marksmanship. More information is available at: wot.nra.org.
With the NRA Women’s Wilderness Escape program, women of all skill levels aged 18 years and older come together to explore and learn about shooting, hunting and the outdoors with some of our most-skilled NRA Certified Instructors and best outdoor specialists. They guide women through each step: teaching safe and proper use and handling firearms and preparing for outdoor adventures. No experience is necessary and all equipment, lodging and meals are included. Learn at: wwe.nra.org.
Women can also take advantage of NRA Online Training Sources which offer a wide variety of classes, including Basic Pistol Shooting. Opportunities are listed at: nrainstructors.org. Other pertinent information is available on the NRA’s Women’s Interest website at:explore.nra.org/interests/womens-interests.
The NRA Women’s Leadership Forum provides yet another avenue for those interested in supporting the Second Amendment with philanthropic work. Learn more at: nrawlf.com.
There is no organization more committed and able to help women enjoy greater freedoms and opportunities, while safeguarding their gun rights than our NRA. Let’s continue to spread the word!