Women and GunsSteven Lieberman
Women and Guns
I had just finished up teaching a CCW class on Sunday evening. I had gone back to my office to put some stuff on my desk when I was informed that I had six people waiting in the classroom for a our free half hour basic firearms lecture.
I grabbed my sig 239, emptied out my 1911, cleared my Ruger Vaquero, and took a Smith and Wesson revolver we had in for cleaning ,out of the safe to use for demo guns. (Yeah… thanks Pat, your revolver was put to good use.)
Walking into the classroom with all these guns I was pleasantly surprised to see five women and one man waiting to hear my lecture.
Usually the demographics are reversed.
Women make up the single largest growing segment of new shooters. The industry is catering to that fact. Sandy has even gone so far as to request that Kavon build her an AR-15 consistent with her femininity. (That should be interesting to see.)
Trainers need to address this segment as well.
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Artemis was initially envisioned as a place where everyone would feel comfortable… especially women. Cinder blocks and ammo cans are awesome… but not for everyone. When we opened our doors we needed to “keep ourselves in check” and ensure that our space emanated the requisite amount of testosterone… but not so much that it would act as a barrier to new shooters.
I asked the women in the class what was motivating them to learn skill at arms.
“I want to know that I can handle a gun if need arises.”
This was the predominant answer.
“My husband owns firearms, and I feel it would be irresponsible for me to have have guns in our home and not be able to operate them.”
“This was another theme.”
One woman was diligently taking notes as I explained the cycle of operation and the historical development of the handgun.
Afterwords I commented on the fact that she was practically writing everything I said verbatim.
“It’s the only way I can retain the information.”
I thanked her for showing such dedication.
“You know… I’ve always wanted to learn how to shoot, but the process seemed so daunting… and frankly dangerous. I’m really glad you offered this class. Up until now I honestly had know idea how a gun worked.”
For most of us in the “gun culture” we’ve forgotten this salient point.
Look… I have no clue how a computer actually works. If you told me there were little animals inside our lap tops that moved information around, I would be skeptical… but in the end I would have to believe you. If popular media reinforced this concept with poor news reporting, I would start to believe there is an animal species out there that are raised for computer servitude.
If I mentioned my understanding to an IT guy he would look at me as though I was crazy. The problem is, if he began to correct my understanding with a collegiate level lecture on computer algorithms I would look at him as though he were speaking another language. Worse… if he talked about concepts that pre-supposed I had an understanding of computers I would be left completely dumbfounded… and feeling… well, dumb.
No one wants to be patronized, but at the same time people that have expressed an interest in firearms really do want to develop an understanding of them.
Those of us that are in the “gun culture”, have a duty to each other to be as open to new entrants into our community as possible. The best way to do this is with education.
If someone asks you about your new Mega Blaster 6000, show them how it works! Make sure you have a ready supply of snap caps available so they can actually watch the cycle of operations.
Our right to keep and bear arms pre-exists the Constitution. In is a right afforded to us by the Creator and recognized in our founding document. Still, it is a fragile right. There are those that are motivated to do what they can to strip us of that right, and there are those that have been so far removed by the right that it bears little value for them. When someone expresses an interest in familiarizing themselves with firearms, and by extension exercising this quintessentially fundamental right we must do all that we can to facilitate it.