“She is armed and she is ready to fight.”
Those words are not a description of the many women profiled on NRAWomen.com, or an Armed Citizen entry (although it could be), but rather the words spoken on a major American cable-news channel by a female member of the Ukrainian Parliament in the first days of the Russian invasion.
“When you say, ‘she is armed and she is ready to fight,’ we are not only saying this, we are proving this by our actions,” she told the news anchor.
Weeks have passed since those profound words were etched indelibly into our minds. The Ukrainian resistance member was not alone in her sentiment. The patriotic spirit we have witnessed rise amongst the many thousands of Ukrainian women who remain in country—wives, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers—rings familiar to us as Americans, kindred sisters, as they take up arms alongside the men, choosing to fight for freedom. Their willingness to accept the challenge and their sacrifices in the uncertain days ahead as they attempt to maintain the sovereignty of their land is nothing short of heroic.
Despite the fact that Ukraine is situated several time zones to the east, it’s fitting in the “women’s issue” of this NRA Official Journal to draw a nexus from the actions of the Ukrainians to NRA Women. No other country in the world has the clear constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms, provided by the Second Amendment. Although Ukraine has some of the least-restrictive gun-ownership laws in Europe, little did we know when we launched NRAWomen.com we would soon bear witness to the anguish inflicted on a country so vehemently determined to let their citizens live freely, and the need for those citizens to take up arms to defend their homeland. We hold a deep respect for these brave citizens of Ukraine.
At the time of the launch of NRAWomen.com in April 2020, we were embarking on a world crisis of a different kind. The COVID-19 pandemic was in its infancy, and most countries, including the United States, had been on a lockdown for about a month, unaware of and unprepared for the ways our daily lives were about to change.
But at NRAWomen.com, we proceeded with our long-term mission: to give voice to female Second Amendment advocates across the country, and to be the definitive resource for women’s shooting news, education, events and more. Because, as I reminded readers as I introduced our new web property, freedom is not something we just talk about. It’s something we do.
It soon became apparent that our content would become essential reading for a new population of women who became gun owners for the first time—millions of them. When civil unrest broke out in the early days of the pandemic, we turned our attention to those seeking a community to which they could belong during their journey to gun ownership. Many of them reported they were impelled to gun ownership in order to take responsibility for their own safety—single mothers, wives whose spouses were deployed and those who simply didn’t trust that law enforcement could respond to an emergency in a timely fashion.
As has been reported in this magazine, more than 20 million new gun owners joined our ranks in 2020—and 40% of them were women. The numbers were almost as impressive in 2021, with one third of all new gun owners reported to be women. At NRAWomen.com, we continue to reassure and invite these new members into our fold. We want them to know they are not navigating their path alone, and that they have our support. We strive to alleviate the doubt of women who purchased whatever gun was available at the gun store, only to soon feel lost as to what to do next. Did I buy the wrong gun? Is there a right gun for women? Where can I get training? What do I do now?
Two years since our launch, we now reflect on our content—nearly 1,500 articles and videos—with the hope we have motivated more women to join the NRA and encouraged them to participate in the activities that allow us to responsibly maintain our individual Second Amendment rights and to contribute to sustaining a free America—plinking, target shooting, hunting, advocacy ... your Second Amendment rights are muscles that need to be exercised regularly. This takes resolve and hard work, lest those rights atrophy. Through studies like the Ladies Pistol Project and other activities, we help you build these muscles—and to interject some enjoyment in the process.
Our corps of NRAWomen.com contributors is comprised of renowned firearm experts, trainers and outdoorswomen. As we reflect on their contributions, we like to remind readers that we are here not only for new shooters, but also experienced gun owners who are looking to take their love of shooting, hunting or advocacy to the next level. The NRA is open to all women who support the Second Amendment.
And while current events and global crises will always be in our periphery, our enduring goal is to rally all NRA women to defend against threats to our freedom, internal or external, by whatever means accommodates your lifestyle. Whether it’s feeding your family through hunting, taking your kids or friends to the range or contacting your state representatives to preserve or change gun laws, NRAWomen.com is the backbone that helps you stand tall in your efforts. Going forward, we will continue to serve as a clearinghouse for the innumerable female-centric organizations that have strengthened our efforts by creating communities of impressive, freedom-loving women who align with our values. We have plans to profile some of them and many more inspirational women who are now positioned on the front lines of what was once primarily a man’s world, creating products, instructing shooters and influencing the firearm and outdoors industries.
Now more than ever, all of us at NRAWomen.com will commit to doing our best to keep you informed, in touch and inspired, and to honor the hard work of those who came before us.