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Women and Gun Ownership

Women have been actively flipping the script on submission since the 1800’s. The infamous bra-burning protest in response to a Miss America Pageant showcased a steadfast attitude to call attention to oppression. Women refused to be seen as merely housewives and mothers. However, women pushing the boundary that defines what being a woman means began long before the 1960’s. In July 1848, Elizabeth Cady Staton and Lucretia Mott attended the Seneca Falls Convention with 300 supporters to kickstart the Women’s Rights Movement. The movement addressed equality, pushing for fairness despite race, color, or gender by allowing all citizens to partake in America’s democratic system.

Women Who Made History as Marksman

When we think of bold women in today’s culture, we think of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, or Rihanna. These women have used their platform to bring awareness to issues around racism, sexism, homophobia, and global issues. While these are important conversations to be had, these ladies walk a road paved by women fueled by sass and defiance. Annie Oakley was a famous sharpshooter that traveled the country in an act made famous by William F. Cody, also known as “Buffalo Bill.” Annie could outshoot most men, notably whilst maintaining her femininity, but she wasn’t just stage presence and show. Annie confidently wrote to President William McKinley regarding the potential war with Spain in 1898. Having complimented his ability to avoid war, she included, “But in case of such an event I am ready to place a company of fifty lady sharpshooters at your disposal. Every one of them will be an American, and as they will furnish their own arms and ammunition, will be little if any expense to the government.” Annie was passionate about helping women and children. She believed that women should carry small pistols in their purses for protection. Her outspoken opinion on firearms education led to more than 15,000 women being trained in firearms under Annie’s supervision.

While Annie Oakley’s legacy involves charity and spreading awareness in equality, Lyudmila Pavlichenko’s reputation is quite different. Lyudmila was known as “Lady Death” during World War II by members of the Red Army. The Nazi party grew to fear Lyudmila and used an unattractive slur when referring to her. Lyudmila studied in Kiev in 1937 before volunteering for the Red Army, where she was eventually assigned to the Red Army’s 25th Rifle Division. From 1941, when Lyudmila volunteered for the Red Army, to June 1942, she had 309 confirmed kills under her belt. At 25-years-old she sustained an injury from a mortar shell. She was then promoted to Lieutenant, pulled from combat, and traveled the United States, Canada, and England to promote the war effort. While in the United States, she befriended Eleanor Roosevelt, visited the White House, and snapped back at reporters that criticized her for her unflattering dress and weight. After her tour, Lyudmila was promoted to Major, and spent the remainder of the war as a sniper instructor.

Female Shooters in the 21st Century

Women today continue to carve out their place in the firearms industry. Kim Rhode, a 6-time olympian shooter from 1996 to 2016, holds gold, silver, and bronze medals in skeet and trap shooting. Julie Golob is a multi-time world and national shooting champion, a U.S. Army Veteran, and an experienced shooting instructor. Eva Shockey co-hosted the show ‘Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures,’ helping her gain recognition as an outdoor enthusiast that shares ethical hunting practices while encouraging women to engage in the sport.

Crime Meets Opportunity

Despite the strides women have made towards equality, women are still subject to domestic violence and assault. According to a 2019 study by the National Violent Death Reporting System, “Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner.” The study showed that intimate partner abuse was mostly experienced by women with male partners, and that “Guns amplify the inherent power and control dynamics characteristic of abusive intimate relationships, whether as lethal weapons to injure and kill or as a tool to inflict emotional abuse without ever firing a bullet.” Understanding how to defend yourself and practicing consistently can prepare you for unpredictable incidents.

A website called The Well Armed Woman features several stories of survival by women who found themselves in dangerous situations. From broken down cars to parking lot confrontations, these stories are encounters involving women approached by men in the night who seemingly have the advantage. Break-ins, robberies, and assault are more likely to occur when the sun goes down, providing an advantage to the offender, but thigh holsters and concealed carry purses are simple solutions to give easy access to your handgun - allowing you to stand your ground and protect yourself.

Self Reliance Training, LLC is a great resource for women who want to obtain their concealed carry firearms permit. Enrolling with a friend is a great way to support one-another during the course. Kirk Heller presents the information in a structured classroom setting, followed by hands-on instruction at the range. You will end the day with the ability to comfortably handle your weapon, gain confidence in your ability to defend yourself, and enhance your awareness to sense danger.

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