By Jody Maki, CEO Girl On Fire DC/NY
Her ex-husband walked through two restraining orders and she was fearful that the ‘next time’ he would kidnap their 6 year-old daughter.
Her stalker made himself known and she felt her safety threatened, not only when she was out, but in her own home because he told her he knows where she lives.
A year ago she testified in court against an attacker and was just informed that he was being released.
She was walking to her car from work and was badly beaten and her handbag stolen.
When people reference women joining the firearms community, I regularly see and hear a lot of patronization and marketing that represents and attempts to sell the ‘fun’ aspects of shooting. These companies, instructors, and the community are missing the reality of why a lot of women decide to take on the responsibility of gun ownership and conceal carry, and it’s not the availability of pink and purple pistols. Every week another woman tells me her shocking story of how she became a victim or feels like her sense of safety has been compromised.
It’s unfortunate that it has to take an actual incident to finally turn women onto the idea of personal protection, but on a positive note, most women understand that firearms training is paramount and they will not purchase a gun and arm themselves without knowledge first. Sadly, many obtain their recommendations from incompetent sources, which can create a negative introduction to firearms. This frequent misguided advice, can ultimately create additional apprehension and anxiety.
One of the other issues that arises through these situations, is that there’s typically a sense of urgency to purchase and train immediately. The threat is now real and staring them in the face. These women are frustrated by the fact that they cannot speed up the process because they have no idea what to do in the meantime to defend themselves. They feel powerless and vulnerable against their threat. These women not only need firearms training, but less than lethal options should be introduced so they have realistic tools they can use prior to being proficient with their firearm. Through this training they also should understand that less than lethal options should always be considered because the firearm is always the last resort.
Yes, some women would like to learn about guns because their spouse has an arsenal and she feels like she needs to familiarize herself with firearm safety. Yes, some women want to experience the sport, and yes, some may organize a girl’s night at the range to learn how to shoot together, however this is not the majority. I am waiting for the firearms community to accept the idea that most women who enter into the world of gun ownership want to protect themselves and/or their family because they feel threatened and through that experience, their power has been taken. With domestic violence statistics continuing to rise, we need to address some of these social issues and take action to educate, prevent and partner with organizations working to make a difference. The majority of women should be purchasing firearms for sport, not because they need to defend themselves from their spouse or significant other. The color of the gun is of little concern.
Jody Maki is a NRA Training Counselor and Certified Pistol Instructor, Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification Instructor, Maryland Qualified Handgun Instructor and Personal Safety Trainer