As the great Annie Oakley once said, “Even in the best and most peacefully civilized countries, many occasions arise when a woman versed in the knowledge and use of firearms may find that information and skill of great importance.”
This month I’d like to thank all of the women of the NRA for everything they do for our association. The growth of women practicing firearm safety and participation in shooting sports constantly rises. During the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, women’s shooting events first appeared. Our sport was well-represented by female athletes when USA competitors Pat Spurgin (air rifle), Ruby Fox (pistol) and Wanda Jewell (rifle) each brought home a medal. Fast forward to 2016 when you’ll recall that the very first gold medal of the Rio Olympics was won by USA’s Ginny Thrasher (air rifle) who, by the way, also established a new Olympic record. Another historic accomplishment was made by NRA Board Member Kim Rhode (skeet shotgun) who became the first Summer Olympian to win six medals in six consecutive Olympic Games. Representation by women in those Olympics rose to 45%. Consistent with its leadership role, the NRA created programs that cater to women as shown below.
Refuse To Be A Victim® The award-winning Refuse To Be A Victim® course provides a wide-ranging syllabus designed to improve personal-safety strategies. It began as a women-only program in response to women of the NRA who wanted a personal-safety program. Though the program is now co-ed, the information presented is invaluable to women across the country. One of the first appeals of the program was, and remains, the idea that there are other things women can do to ensure their safety besides choosing a firearm. As the program evolved, a collegiate version was developed to ensure we reach women of all ages. See: rtbav.nra.org.
Women On Target® Our Women On Target® program creates opportunities for women in shooting and hunting sports by teaching proper gun handling and providing an enjoyable first experience with a firearm. Participating clubs provide students with a safe, friendly and fun introduction to recreational shooting. Word-of-mouth has been the biggest advertisment as women who attend return and bring their friends. Many participants continue with more formal training through NRA Basic Courses, learning personal protection and participating in competitive shooting and hunting with their families and friends. To learn more or to become an NRA Certified Instructor, go to: wot.nra.org.
Women’s Wilderness Escape Women who have attended the Women’s Wilderness Escape program tell me there’s nothing more empowering than joining other women who enjoy shooting sports and the outdoor lifestyle. The Women’s Wilderness Escape is an opportunity for women 18 years and older 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 you every step to learn the safe and proper handling of firearms and prepare you for your own adventures. No experience is necessary. All equipment, lodging and meals are included. Student slots sell out early, so don’t wait too long to register: wwe.nra.org.
Women’s Awards To recognize the contributions of women, the NRA identifies those who have demonstrated dedication to promoting the Second Amendment, made outstanding achievements in educational contributions while advancing the NRA’s purposes and goals, and significantly impacted the preservation of shooting sports through legislative and legal contributions. For these accomplishments, the NRA bestows the Sybil Ludington Women’s Freedom Award and the Marion P. Hammer Woman of Distinction Award. To nominate a deserving woman, go to: womens-awards.nra.org.
I encourage you to join the new face of America’s target shooters and Second Amendment advocates. A face that encompasses women from all walks of life. The NRA has programs for all: from awareness and avoidance to education and competitions. Join the fastest growing group who is exercising and defending your constitutional freedoms with the help of the NRA.