Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. added Beth Walker to Team Ruger in March 2019 as its first junior competitor. Although chosen for her shooting prowess, this teen brings a lot more to the table.
An Indiana native, Beth is an outspoken advocate of the Second Amendment, and is active with the DC Project and emPOWERed 2A, two outreach programs where women work with legislators and others in positions of power to bring awareness to the Second Amendment movement. Beth also is an ambassador for Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point USA, and has worked with the NRA in various ways.
When we spoke to her, she had recently competed in the Gadsden Shotgun Championship in Missouri, placing second in the women’s division, behind well-known shooter Katelyn Francis. This was a major accomplishment for Beth, who has suffered two serious concussions. It was also particularly fitting, since Beth was partly inspired to pursue 3-Gun by Katelyn’s social-media presence.
A1F: You are probably one of the only professional shooters who has come back from not one, but two severe concussions.
Walker: Yes! The first one, in fourth grade, kept me out for eight weeks. In sixth grade, I got my second severe head injury, playing dodgeball with a volleyball. The ball hit me in the head on the same spot, in the center of my forehead. This was more severe than the other one, and it kept me out of school for six months. I couldn’t read or watch TV. I stayed in my bed, in my darkened room. My mom would read all my homework to me—she’d have to read it three or four times because my retention was way off.
During that time, as I was improving, I went to the NRA Annual Meetings (NRA AM). My dad and I had been trying to find different ways to exercise my brain and start helping me get better. We ran across a video of Katelyn Francis shooting 3-Gun when she was 12. Over the course of the next two years, we researched a lot. Competitive shooting is definitely a time and money commitment, so it was something we wanted to make sure was the right decision for me. I decided to attend the show to meet competitive shooters and ask them how to get started. A huge influence to me was Sarah Beard, an air rifle shooter from my hometown in Indiana. She went to Texas A&M, and was on the Junior Olympic team; now she shoots for the Army Marksmanship Unit. I also met Susan Dundas, who was then working for Zero Tolerance Knives. She introduced me to many competitive shooters, and has turned out to be one of the most influential figures in the outdoor community for me. This event solidified that I wanted to be a part of the competitive shooting community and the firearms community as a whole.
A1F: Two years later, at another NRA AM, you received an invitation from an influential member of the shooting world.
Walker: At NRA AM 2016, Susan Dundas introduced me to TacTissy (Krystie Messenger). I was later invited to attend the Topton 3 Man 3-Gun match in Pennsylvania and watched her team compete. During this competition, Krystie took a lot of time to walk me through the basics of stage planning, the mental associations that must be made when completing a course of fire and the safety rules. After the competition, Krystie and a few of her close friends allowed me to try several different shotguns. After shooting for a while with Krystie and her friends, I fell in love with the Benelli M2. Krystie took me to a clay course in Topton so I could be more comfortable with the gun before purchasing. I shot over 200 shells of 12-gauge that day. Before all this, I was unsure of how to go about choosing, purchasing and working on the specific modifications needed for 3-Gun. It was a great introduction to the kindness and helpfulness of members of the shooting community.
A1F: And now, you’re the youngest professional competition shooter on Ruger’s team. What does that mean to you?
Walker: The opportunity to work with Ruger was definitely a wake-up call to how serious I wanted to be in the firearms community. It made me realize how important it was not only to be a shooter, but also a representation of the best the firearms and outdoor industry has to offer. I am humbled to be partnered with such an iconic American brand.
A1F: Let’s talk about your sport, 3-Gun. Why 3-Gun?
Walker: When I started 3-Gun, I knew it was going to be extremely challenging for me. I had severe information retention problems, and my ability to comprehend complex reading passages and math was diminished. But I dove in headfirst, wanting to push myself physically and mentally. It was a struggle getting back to where I wanted to be, but shooting helped because of the complex stage plans I was trying to figure out. It was therapy for my brain, and it helped me to regain all those abilities.
A1F: Let’s talk about the Second Amendment. At what point in your life did it start to matter to you?
Walker: I’ve always been an outspoken lover of firearms. I grew up in a home that valued the ability to defend yourself and your family. My dad is one of my greatest supporters, and was the reason I became interested in Second Amendment advocacy and politics as whole. I started to become even more interested, and follow Second Amendment happenings more, after the presidential election in 2008.
A1F: Are you involved with the NRA?
Walker: I am an NRA member and worked with them leading up to NRA AM 2019 to write a call-out piece for my state (Indiana), which was used as an op-ed to counter Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action. It has been a blessing to get to know quite a few of the NRA employees and build fantastic friendships.
A1F: You are also involved with Turning Point USA. How so?
Walker: I am a Turning Point USA ambassador. I believe in the principles the organization is founded on, and am a huge proponent of limited government and free-market principles. Being involved in organizations like this extends my platform to talk about the importance of an uncompromising stance on individual liberty, and by extension, the Second Amendment.
A1F: Let’s talk about the DC Project. How did you get started and what does it mean to you?
Walker: My start in the DC Project was through a mutual friend who could not attend the DC trip in 2017. I took the spot, and it turned into one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. I am now involved with a wide network of women who come from all backgrounds, spanning almost every demographic, and who are all unified in their support and passion for the Second Amendment, which is inspiring and shows the strength of patriots. Having the ability to work with them ensures I will always have a support system of people who care about my beliefs. One thing I am excited about getting started is the DC Project state groups, a web of state groups so that more women can be part of the movement. We meet with our local and state legislators, as well as school boards, to discuss the importance of education, not legislation.
A1F: Are you involved in local politics?
Walker: My start in politics was backwards of most people, starting with the national level and backtracking to state, then local. I attended a school-safety summit held by my former U.S. congressman and had the opportunity to meet my state senator. Since then, he has been a great person to talk to regarding different issues, and he holds a leadership training for middle- and high-school students to learn how to be leaders in their communities. I also have started turning the wheels with my new U.S. congressman to restart the school-safety summit, which would address issues like the opioid crisis, firearms education and active-shooter scenarios.
A1F: What motivates you daily to stand up and not take the easy way out when it comes to freedom?
Walker: There is a lot happening in the United States that is festering hate and creating misinformation about the Constitution, our nation’s history and the importance of freedom. For generations, people have been too silent. That we are in such a sinkhole, considering things like socialism and increased firearms legislation, is evidence that it is time for our nation to stand up. John Adams said, “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it.” In my opinion, we have not made good use of it. It is important I do all I can to ensure freedom is valued and loved in honor of the men and women who have shed their blood to protect our individual liberty.
A1F: What advice do you have for young women who want to get involved in the Second Amendment movement?
Walker: I urge them to join their local groups and be outspoken in schools, at work, and in every circumstance when their beliefs are questioned. Things will never get better unless they are forthcoming with their convictions. We tend to stay quiet in hopes of not coming across as disrespectful and confrontational—but the time for silence is over. Women have a unique voice in our nation, because it is not an expected image for a woman to be an outspoken Second Amendment advocate. Due to movements like Moms Demand Action and the Women’s March, it is now more important than ever for women to be at the forefront of the fight for our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
A1F: Do you have recommendations for girls or young women who feel like you do, especially in the world of social media?
Walker: The biggest thing is to be true to what you believe. I’ve had people attack what I believe, but if you stay true, most people will come to respect you.
A1F: What’s in the future for you?
Walker: My plan is to continue growing my platform and encourage others to involve themselves in the fight for our rights. I will be attending Liberty University Online to pursue a Strategic Communication/Social Media Management degree to further my political and shooting career paths. Ultimately, I would like to be able to write editorials and speak on campuses and in the media about the Second Amendment and our constitutional freedoms. I want to provide an avenue for people to learn about faith, family and freedom, and how the Second Amendment protects all these things against the threat of an increasingly powerful central government. I want to inspire people to learn more about history and about the beauty of what America was intended to be and could be. (For more from Beth Walker, go to 3GunBeth.com.)