Girls and GunsSteven Lieberman
Girls and Guns
“You have the RIGHT to bear arms… You have the RESPONSIBILTY to train.
Before we opened our doors we had adopted that phrase. We felt… and still feel… the philosophical underpinnings of the cliche raises it from “tag line”, to “statement of principle”.
It should also be read in the broadest context possible. This includes making sure the next generation is as dedicated to pursuit of skill at arms and personal responsibility for self protection as we strive to be.
….and when we gaze upon that “next generation” we must absolutely refrain from chauvinism or sexism.
Both of our daughters… Carolyn who is now 22 and Chaney who will be turning 14 this month began shooting at an early age. When they were old enough, they went afield and learned the fundamentals of hunting, and the bitter-sweet experience of participating in the food chain as an apex predator.
Both developed an inner confidence and sense of self… not because of the gun… (the gun is an inanimate object), but rather because of the progressive amount of control they were afforded with “the gun”.
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When Carolyn was first introduced to the .22 rifle it was under extremely controlled circumstances. After, multiple trips to the range, a firm understanding of the principles of shooting, as well as a religious adherence to the four safety rules, the parental controls began to be eased off. She could be trusted with a weapon.
Chaney started shooting earlier, and her exposure to firearms was decidedly more “tactical” than her older sisters’. With each trip to the range, each “gun cleaning night”, and each discussion on defensive tactics her “freedom” with the gun grows.
A father came into Artemis and was shocked to see that Chaney was practicing with the AR-15.
“You let her shoot that?”
“Of course! Why wouldn’t I?
“I don’t know,” he said shaking his head… “my daughter would never have any interest in training with firearms.”
“Have you told her you want her to learn?”
“It’s a moot point… she doesn’t have the fortitude for it.”
Hmmm… let’s deconstruct that dialogue.
Dad is first shocked that I “let” my daughter shoot in the first place.
Then Dad imposes his viewpoint on his daughter by proclaiming that this is something that she would have no interest in.
Finally he belittles her by saying that she would have no fortitude.
Perhaps she doesn’t…after a short lifetime of being “taken care of” by her father.
Each one of us is different.
There is a chance that his “protection” of his daughters sensibilities is based on information he knows about her that he chose not to share with me.
That is entirely possible.
His reaction to seeing Chaney shooting the AR-15 though makes me think otherwise.
I received the distinct impression that he felt that girls and guns simply don’t mix.
This is not only misguided, it is dangerous.
Dangerous for us.
Our passion for the shooting sports is only one generation away from obliteration. It is imperative that we develop not only an appreciation among our youth for the shooting sports, but one that transcends gender.
Women make up the fastest growing portion of new entrants to the shooting sports, and a whole bunch of women vote. We need to make sure that if a passion is going to develop among our female youth, it is done so responsibly, with a dedication towards their own empowerment, and without the paternalism that many of us are pre-programed to give.
Girls are not the delicate creatures that many of us would like to think they are. With a firearm at their disposal they can completely balance the combative equation.
We accept the responsibility to train ourselves… now let us ensure that future generations do the same.