Today is definitely one of the most quintessential of all of the U.S. holidays, in my humble opinion! Mothers are given a day to be honored and showered with gifts, cards, love, special meals and “time off” from some parental duties and maybe even short little vacations. I am honored to have so many friends that are great moms! But, I count it an enourmous privilege to be able to teach moms and daughters, of all walks and ages, gun safety, gun mechanics, how to shoot and how to shoot better with time and practice! You have heard (ok, or read) me say this dozens of times… I am giving a woman the ability, the strength, the courage and the committment to act in a positive way on their inate desire to protect family, friends and themselves from potential danger.
A week ago I had the opportunity to volunteer at the 142nd NRA Annual Meetings here in Houston. On the last day I was a Range Safety Officer for the 3-gun airgun shoot at the NRA Youth Day.
I had the privilege of working with kids from teens all the way down to 4 year olds! It was so much fun… I don’t know, maybe for me more than the kids! But so many mom’s thanked me for teaching their little ones how to shoot. To a few of the moms I whispered in their ears, “now it’s time for you to continue you on with their training”! Sure, these were “just” airguns, but, we treated it just like any other range and treated every gun as a loaded gun! You have to start somewhere. It was great seeing mothers (and fathers) bringing their kids out and giving them the opportunity to learn. This is great parenting!
I am going to give you a few quotes from some of the women I have recently worked with as well as someone who I hope will become a lasting friend in the industry, a daughter/mother firearms instructor team out of Michigan. I will start with Whitney and Cat. They own Applied Firearms Defensive Skills near Grand Rapids, Michigan (http://www.myafds.com/home).
Whitney and I have communicated back and forth a few of times in the last several weeks. She was kind enough to give me a statement from her mother Cat on why she made the decision some time ago to carry. Cat says, “I bear arms because it is my constitutional right to do so. I carry because I refuse to be a victim. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, there were 83,425 forcible rapes in the United States reported to law enforcement in 2011 alone. The Intel available on this and other violent crimes is nothing short of staggering.
I also consider this right a tremendous responsibility. Said right requires me to act in a safe and prudent manner for the well-being and protection of those around me. I would encourage all who choose to exercise this right to go above and beyond any minimum, stipulated requirements and really take their ongoing training seriously…their own life or someone else’s may depend on it.” Do Cat’s words sound familiar???
Then we have Rene, my neighbor and good friend, who asked me some time ago to help her learn to shoot. She has two small children and is a stay at home mom. She wants to get over her fear of guns so that she can feel comfortable being able to defend herself and her family. She told me that she may never fall in love with firearms the way I do and I told her that that is absolutely just fine… what counts is being comfortable and in control of the firearm so that she can have the confidence in herself that she can control any bad situation.
My long time friend Courtney is just getting into guns. She made the decision a couple years ago that with all the travelling she does and being at home alone, that she should have protection. She is very excited about getting more training, learning about different firearms and becoming better at the mechanics of shooting! Her confidence is inspiring!
Another one of my long time friends, Catherine, lives in Boston and is moving back to Houston. With all that happened in Boston recently she called me and said “when I get back to Houston you are going to teach me to shoot”… she said she does NOT want to be a statistic! She eventually wants to be able to get her CHL so she can be protected all the time.
A former high school classmate and very long time friend of mine who lives in Tennessee, Kim, recently made the decision to get her CHL. What struck me about Kim is this conversation we had. She said the following… “I live in a good neighborhood. We know a lot of our neighbors. It wasn’t like this when we first moved here, but now we have to lock our doors all the time. Crime is creeping out this way.” Kim… practice, practice, practice!!! And hopefully I will set up an NRA class out there for her and her friends soon.
Danielle and Emily… they are family to me… daughter and mom! They would do anything for me and I would do anything for them! Her mom has been shooting for years. She stopped for awhile but we are getting her back into the swing of things. Emily has a slight disability but let me tell you.. I pitty the fool that tries to take advantage of that disability!!! I have been teaching Danielle to shoot since she was 16.. she is now almost 22! She can definitely handle herself and now wants to be an FBI agent!
One last story… my realtor and friend, Amy… she had a very frightening experience not long ago which convinced her that it was time to learn to shoot a handgun and get her CHL. She is bringing a whole team with her and we will get them all trained and comfortable to the point of being confident in their own abilities to be able to defend themselves. Amy is my inspiration for the Focus Forums I am now holding around town once a month to help answer questions about guns, safety, guns with kids in the home, concealed handgun licenses and anything else they want to ask but didn’t know who to ask. Thank you Amy!
All of these women are moms and daughters. Shooting is NOT just a male-dominated sport any more! Espeically when you have the likes of a 13 year old female junior champion for Team Smith & Wesson who has only been competing for a year and a 17 year old female junior champion for Team Glock who has been shooting since she was three and shooting competively since she was 12! Also, the NRA has seen an over 50% increase this year alone in women NRA members. And, as I have said several times, 99% of all of my students are women!
Moms… I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day… Now carry on!!!!