The right to protect myself and my family, and the hunting and outdoors traditions we all enjoy in America, have shaped my life since my childhood and through today. That’s why I am thrilled to see a growing number of women exercise these rights and join our community of NRA women. Because bringing women together is so important, the NRA is launching a multimedia digital platform, nrawomen.com. It is the premier, one-stop knowledge center where you can learn more about all the exciting support that the NRA provides for women shooters (both new and experienced) and read about news regarding women who are participating in their Second Amendment rights. At the same time, women who have no knowledge about firearms will find it a wonderful place to learn more.
I am proud to be the third female president of the NRA since it was founded in 1871. The dedicated women who served in this post before me were Marion Hammer (1995-1998) and Sandra Froman (2005-2007). All three of us continue to support the NRA by giving our time and talents to defend and preserve our Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution at this critical moment in history when our beloved American freedoms are under constant, fierce attacks.
It’s no surprise that women patriots have always played an important role in this great nation. One important heroine—whom the NRA honors with a Women’s Freedom Award bearing her name—is Sybil Ludington. At 16 years old, she earned her place in American history for a ride on the night of April 26, 1777, to rally patriot soldiers. A wounded messenger barely reached the home of her father, New York militia officer Col. Henry Ludington, with desperate news of a British attack on nearby Danbury, Conn. Col. Ludington turned to Sybil for help. While he organized local militia, she mounted her horse and galloped through the night in the rain. She traveled from 20 to 40 miles to rally troops from the surrounding countryside. Upon her return, hundreds of citizen-soldiers had joined to fight the British. And so to pay homage to her accomplishment and the accomplishments of modern heroines, the NRA bestows the prestigious Sybil Ludington Women’s Freedom Award in her name. I was deeply honored to receive this award in 2015.
Now it’s OUR turn to shape history. We need every pro-Second Amendment, patriotic woman to take a stand during this critical election year. For those with little or no experience, but who want to learn more about gun ownership and receiving instruction in firearm safety and fundamentals, nrawomen.com is an important gateway. For women who already have experience with firearms and are seeking camaraderie and support from like-minded enthusiasts, nrawomen.com is a go-to digital destination. On this site, women can develop a sense of belonging in an industry that has been perceived to be for the men.
More women who support the Second Amendment are getting involved in politics to fight for our gun rights. There are more than 3.35 million female gun owners in America. The National Sporting Goods Association recorded a 43.5% increase in female hunters from 2003 to 2013. In a Gallup poll of self-reported gun owners in 2011, 23% of women said they owned a gun compared to 13% in 2005. In addition, a recent study published in Social Science Quarterly showed that guns empower women, and this empowerment leads to women gun owners becoming more politically active. Women gun owners increasingly are contacting politicians, signing petitions, registering to vote, expressing their views on social media, voting and supporting the NRA.
For years, the NRA has been dedicated to paving the way for female gun enthusiasts. Through our targeted programs, women have the opportunity to receive firearms training by certified instructors, to join local clubs and to compete in shooting tournaments. The NRA offers: Women On Target Instructional Shooting Clinics to provide opportunities to learn about firearms; the NRA Women’s Network of female gun enthusiasts; Refuse To Be A Victim, which teaches women how to avoid dangerous situations; and Women’s Wilderness Escape with getaway opportunities for shooting activities and adventures. Nrawomen.com is just the newest way to connect with and reach even more women and bring us together around the values we share.
As one who has a lifelong passion for shooting sports and as a strong political advocate for the Second Amendment, I am truly proud of women gun owners and the NRA for its many programs, awards, scholarships and certified instructors that benefit women. I strongly encourage all women to visit nrawomen.com and get more involved in helping defend our Second Amendment freedoms. As I’ve said before in this column, once you lose your freedoms, you don’t get them back.