Olympian and “Top Shot” competitor Gabby Franco is an NRA-certified instructor; she also serves NRA News as a commentator and as the host of “Tips & Tactics.” Her TV spot from the “Freedom’s Safest Place” campaign, in which she details emigrating from Venezuela and treasuring the freedom found in the United States, has enjoyed a widespread response on social media and has sparked an ongoing conversation about the Second Amendment’s internationally unique role. We were intrigued, so we asked Gabby to provide us with a bit more background about herself.
A1F Daily: How did you get into competitive shooting in Venezuela? Was it a popular pursuit, or easy to participate in, at the time?
Gabby Franco: My dad went to the gun range to attend a shooting class required for his concealed-carry license. At the range, he happened to learn that there was a Junior Olympic shooting team. A few weeks later, my two sisters and I started to go to the range to practice this wonderful sport with an air pistol and a sport pistol (.22 LR).
Shooting was definitely not a popular sport, but I wouldn’t say that there was a negative public perception of it. To my sisters and me, and to everyone who knew us, it was just a sport.
A1F: You talk in this video about not taking freedom for granted, about how easily it can be taken away. What would you like for people to know about that?
GF: Unfortunately, losing our freedoms is easier than most people think. And the scary part is that those eager to take them away are patient. They know that the process is slow, and they want it to be like that. They gradually take away our abilities to speak freely, to be independent and to effectively protect ourselves, until people get used to the lack of freedom—and this is something that happens time and again all over the world. I refuse to let that happen to me again in the only country that I think upholds true freedom, and for that reason I speak up and fight.
A1F: As an NRA-certified instructor and the host of “Tips & Tactics,” what is the most important lesson you want to teach young Americans—particularly women? Do you feel that your position coming from a country where the right to bear arms is not constitutionally guaranteed gives you a unique perspective as a teacher?
GF: The most important lesson I want to teach Americans through “Tips & Tactics” is that we all have choices to make in life, both as responsible gun owners and as responsible citizens. When I started shooting at the age of 11, I was always striving for the highest levels of responsibility, discipline, concentration and mental toughness, especially because this was a sport that involved firearms.
Coming from a country in which freedoms existed and were later taken away gives me a good perspective on how dangerous those in positions of leadership can become. As a teacher I share this with my students and reiterate the importance of our rights; the importance of not allowing a government to take them away.
Watch the “Venezuela” spot, or read the complete transcript, here.