The creation of many different websites, blogs, and Facebook pages dedicated to encouraging female shooters and support of the 2nd amendment is a great testimony to the increased involvement of women in a gun society that has always been dominated by men. This is a big step for women, and I am very pleased to see things changing in this way. That being said, this fact also raises some serious concerns in my mind. These concerns are not unique to women, but also apply to the gun owning community in general. But today my focus is on the female gun owners or those considering the purchase of a gun.
Since the inception of my Women and Guns blog, (and subsequent training school), I have always placed great emphasis on personal safety and planning. Without proper training and preparation, the gun can be a dangerous tool to employ in any emergency. Simply put, “The gun does not keep you safe.” This statement is repeated at the beginning of every class I teach. This is often met with a look of confusion on the faces of many of my students. After all, they paid their registration fee and showed up for class to “learn how to shoot”, with thoughts of possessing a gun being the much needed solution to all of their personal and home safety needs. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When dealing with any threat, whether it be created by mother nature, or of the man made type, proper preparation in advance of the event has been proven to be the most effective way to survive and minimize damage. Preparation is the most effective tool. As instructors, these skills should be the first and most important skills taught to current and future gun owners – not simply encouraging women to buy, shoot and carry guns. (Gun retailers will surely hate me for making this statement.) Oh well. I could write an entire article on the manner in which gun store employees conduct themselves. Maybe another time.
The First 4 Hours of every class I teach is spent on awareness, observation skills, avoiding violence, and developing and implementing home, automobile and personal safety plans with the goal of preventing violent criminal confrontations. I refer to this as their MAP. (I would prefer more hours be spent on this subject).
As instructors, these skills should be the first and most important skills taught to current and future gun owners – not simply encouraging women to buy, shoot and carry guns.
Most, if not every student that has made the decision to take a gun class has done so because they no longer feel safe. Some have already been victimized, other’s are hoping to avoid becoming a victim. Some simply state they feel it is time. They may have husbands with a safe full of guns at home, none of which they have ever touched. It is not unusual to meet students that are realtors, live alone, or have husbands that are currently deployed. More and more seniors, (often widows), are coming to class. Their safety and the safety of their loved ones’s is the number one reason they have decided to buy or learn to shoot a gun. I am grateful they have made the decision to take a Basic Handgun Class. I am also aware their first class should not be their last class. Sadly, this will be the case for many women. Not only in my classes, but in other classes across the country. The reasons are many: financial, not enough time, not a priority, and others. We can’t force people to seek out additional training.
With rights come responsibilities. Including instructor responsibilities – you are responsibly for the consequences of the advice you give. A gun is a great equalizer in the hands of a trained woman. It can also be a tool to do great harm to innocents, (including the gun owner), should it not be handled and stored correctly. Common sense is not a given. No one is born knowing how to safely handle, operate, store and employ a gun in every situation. (Guys, that includes you.) Anti-gun supporters will use every negligent incident to further their cause.
This is why it is so important to teach these women the skills of Mindset, Awareness and Preparation. I refer to this skill set as their MAP. With a good MAP, you will know where to go and how to get there. Should things ever get to the point of needing the gun, maybe, just maybe, a basic knowledge of gun operation learned in a basic gun class will be enough. I would much rather see a women be able to avoid a violent criminal encounter by employing their MAP skills, than having to use deadly force to stop her attacker. Wouldn’t you?
To learn more about personal safety, self defense and firearms training classes, go to our website at www.womenssafedefense.com