I often visit the NRAWomen.com website, which is, frankly, a dangerously distracting habit, because I find myself clicking on article after article long after the time when I really should be moving on to something else.
Today was no different. Knowing I was going to be writing about this site and its editor, Ann Smith, I browsed over to get a flavor of what was being offered. “If my gun can run dirty, why must I clean it?” asked the site at the top. Perfect—click—I need to share that article with the girlfriend who asked me this very question yesterday. This article on dangerous places sounds interesting—click. How to keep your rifle or bow steady, whether women are naturally better shooters, home safety plans, best .380s, cooking wild game—click, click, click, click. …
Well, you get the idea: NRA Women is a fantastic (and addictive) resource for women shooters, whether they’re interested in hunting, personal safety, or competition, and whether they’re already very knowledgeable or are brand-new gun owners.
“This site helps women develop their own sense of belonging in what has traditionally been a man’s world,” said Ann Smith, editor in chief of NRA Women. “Gun ownership can be a very different experience for us than it is for men, so naturally many women shooters seek out a community of like-minded women.”
Smith always keeps in mind her own transition into the shooting world. Today, when she’s not pulling together content, you can find her target shooting, skeet shooting, hunting or teaching her nieces and nephews safe gun handling. But it wasn’t always like that—Smith’s journey into gun ownership didn’t get started until her now-husband taught her at age 19, using an old Colt Python (.357).
“It was intense,” Smith laughs, “but I didn’t back off.”
She’s been shooting—and writing about it—ever since. Smith joined NRA Publications 20 years ago, and noted there wasn’t much coverage for women in shooting publications across the country, and what was written was often “less than ideal.” She has thus advocated throughout her career to expand coverage of the growing women’s movement in the shooting world, which has finally culminated in NRAWomen.com.
“There has never been a better time to be a female gun owner,” Smith said, noting an “explosion” of women’s gun groups, of firearms being designed for women, and of female competitive shooters over the last few decades. “Strong women have forged their way through what was a largely male-dominated world to become role models.”
The timing of the NRAWomen.com launch last April has turned out to be fortuitous, as the events of 2020 inspired many women to learn how to safely use a firearm. (That’s many, as in around 40% of the nearly 7 million estimated first-time gun purchasers so far in 2020, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Hopefully, that trend will also translate to the ballot box, as more women realize the importance of preserving their Second Amendment rights.
“Women are currently, perhaps, the most-important segment of the Second Amendment fight,” Smith said. “As the country's largest growing demographic of shooters, women have the power to unite and defend this God-given right. American female gun owners are proud and vocal. They don't accept that the government wants to strip away rights that are inherent to them."
“However,” she added, “all women who believe in their Second Amendment need to become NRA members. It is not enough to ride on the membership coattails of a spouse or another family member. There is power in numbers. If every female gun owner, particularly those who became new gun owners in 2020, would join the NRA, we could double our membership overnight and make our presence stronger than ever.”
Smith hopes that women will use NRAWomen.com to connect to the community, to learn safety and shooting skills, and to learn about the fight for the fundamental right to self-defense. More than 500 articles and videos—about personal protection, competitive shooting, hunting, the outdoor lifestyle and the Second Amendment—attest to the success of that mission.
And that knowledge will spread, Smith noted: “Women are open to learning and sharing. And once comfortable in the firearm of their choice—once they acknowledge the power and confidence gained by being able to defend themselves—women will share their experiences with friends, family, and others.”
The content on NRAWomen.com makes that sharing easier than ever! Click…