It began as a response to a series of murdered women eight years ago in the City of Detroit, and a desire to see women protect themselves and no longer be the victims of criminals.
Rick Ector has been conducting free classes through his training organization Legally Armed In Detroit (LAID) for women to learn to protect themselves and get familiar with a firearm. Ector recently held a training May 19 in Taylor, Mich., at Top Gun Shooting Sports.
Ector invites women to meet him at a local gun range on an appointed day to receive a range safety briefing, relay safety information and safety tips, and then a free shooting lesson.
“It’s a labor of love for me. It’s something I enjoy doing. I want to empower women because I don’t want to see any more distressing stories of women being killed and having their bodies dumped in fields or dumpsters like we’ve had here in Detroit,” he said.
Ector recounts how nearly a decade ago, he heard of a series of attacks on women reported on the news, who had been murdered and their bodies abandoned. It shook him deeply.
“It really distressed me. It bothered me these women were attacked. When you consider women are very vulnerable, they need to take a more active role in their personal protection,” he explained.
This prompted Ector, an NRA Credentialed Firearms Trainer, to consider what he could do to take an active role in preventing further crimes. He decided to partner with the local gun range and obtained permission to bring in as many women as possible to the event. The range agreed to not charge the participants a fee and Ector would supply the ammo and the firearms to let them learn to shoot.
“That first year I was able to get 50 women to take me up on the offer, 50 women trusted me. And emboldened by that, the next year I got a 100 women to come out,” he recalled.
From there the event grew, from 200 to 400, then 500. Last year Ector’s record was 700, and for the free training on May 19, 814 women appeared to learn to shoot and overcame their hesitation around firearms.
The response has been a positive one by the women who come to these events. Some are those have come multiple years in a row, but as he has seen his numbers grow, Ector recalls the emotional impact that personally touches his students. His students take it on faith their experience is going to be a good one, and it changes them for the better.
“In many cases they’ve never seen a gun in real life before, other than television. You give them basic safety tips, and they go through the process and there’s a wide range of emotions. You have people that are really glad they did it, and a lot of women who see themselves as making a mental breakthrough, and they’re shedding tears of joy and happiness that they’re conquering a fear,” he explained. “They’re becoming emboldened and they can operate a gun. It’s nothing to fear, and they can take a more active role for themselves personally and for their children.”
Ector plans to continue holding the free classes for women for the foreseeable future to continue helping women to empower themselves and protect their loved ones.
For more information, visit legallyarmedindetroit.com or on Facebook at Rick’s Firearm Academy of Detroit.