DC Project Brings Attention To Women Gun Owners At SHOT Show

The DC Project held a rally yesterday at the Fiocchi booth. It featured many of the women of the DC Project who were attending the SHOT Show. My guesstimate on the number of women wearing teal DC Project shirts was over 50.

From DC Project Facebook Page

This rally attracted the attention of the local Las Vegas media. The focus of the report was on women becoming involved in both armed self-protection and the shooting sports.

Dianna Muller, championship shooter and the founder of the DC Project, and California attorney Lara Smith were featured interviewees in the story.

While at the SHOT Show, I learned that there are plans to expand the DC Project. The goal is to recruit at least one woman in every Congressional district. The hope that these women will establish relationships with the local representative and become viewed as a resource on firearms issues.

Speaking of women at the SHOT Show, there were quite a number of women participating as buyers, exhibitors, and media. Yes there were a few “booth babes” but the number continues to decrease each and every year. This is good news for the industry as it realizes that women are a growing market that needs to be shown the respect they deserve.

A Sea Change From A “C” Change Will Help Us See Change!

In musical notation a change in pitch up or down a full octave is known as a C change.  Anyone paying attention to the fight to protect our second amendment rights has likely noticed the sound of the most prominent voices has indeed risen a full octave.  I am referring of course to the growing cacophony of women’s voices that refuse to be ignored or marginalized.  

When considering the protection of our 2nd amendment rights it is easy to get overly focused on legislation and litigation and ignore the cultural messaging that is the true driver of both.  It is in this messaging that the women in the gun rights movement seem to be having great success.  It is much harder to use the same old arguments and decades old character assassinations against a mom who says she just wants to be able to protect her family.  

When Dianna Muller of the DC Project testifies before a house judiciary committee and says ”I will not comply” she can’t be dismissed as just some eccentric rancher that needs to be taken down.  When A Girl and A Gun women’s shooting league hosts their Fall Festival it gets press as a fun event for strong women offering training, competition and fellowship not a para military terrorist training camp.  

The other factor to remember is that winning hearts and minds on the issue of guns is an emotional endeavor that can’t be won by just regurgitating facts and figures and on this point women speak with much greater perceived authority and sincerity.  

One woman speaking sincerely of her journey from victimhood to empowerment from fear to strength can open a lot more minds than a thousand men shouting Molon Labe.  

I’ve come to recognize in my own life that for all my bravado it is often my wife that really get’s things done, especially the hard things!  So I say thank you to all the women in the shooting sports and the 2nd amendment battle, keep doing what you’re doing it’s working and always know we got your back! 

Not The Blog Post I Intended Before SHOT Show

It was a comment by Grant Cunningham on The Gun Nation podcast that originally inspired me to think about this post. At a previous SHOT Show, he had asked trainer Gila Hayes if she wanted to check out the “Silicone and Aluminum” section. He was referring, of course, to the abundance of booth babes aka gun bunnies in the tactical section.

I had planned to do a post that juxtaposed booth babes with what I considered to be the young, accomplished women of shooting. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t object to pretty women in skimpy and revealing clothing. Far from it. However, everything has a time and a place.

I am not a prude but a realist. With the influx of all the new women shooters of all ages I thought companies that resorted to booth babes or gun bunnies to hawk their products were out of touch with the new reality. Women don’t mind seeing an attractive woman representing a company. From my conversations with many women at the SHOT Show and elsewhere, they do however object to the skimpily clad booth babe who doesn’t know the product and whose attire might have been more appropriate to that other event in Las Vegas the week of SHOT. It turns them off.

With this as the backdrop, I made it a point of trying to get pictures of what I considered accomplished women shooters at the SHOT Show. For example, there is Maggie Reese of Team Colt. She has won multiple 3-Gun events as well as USPSA events. I don’t think anyone would deny she is young and attractive.

Maggie Reese of Team Colt

I ran into Annette Wachter, the .30 Cal Gal, at the Devil Dog Arms booth. She is a member of the US Rifle Team, holds multiple national records, has won at Camp Perry, and was a fierce advocate against I-594 in Washington State.

Annette Wachter – 30CalGal
Then there is Julie Golob. Captain of Team Smith & Wesson, US Army Marksmanship Unit, multiple IDPA and USPSA National Championships, first person and only woman to win National Championships in all six USPSA divisions, and the list goes on. Plus being a mom, hunter, and great cook. And that is just the beginning when talking about Julie.
Julie Golob – Captain of Team Smith and Wesson

Finally, I ran into Kim Rhode at the Beretta booth. I was there for a presentation for bloggers when I turned to my left and there was Kim. As for Kim, she is the only American, male or female, to have won a medal in an individual event in five consecutive Olympic games. She has three Gold, one Silver, and one Bronze medal plus she is tied for the Olympic record in skeet with 99 out of 100. This doesn’t count her many wins in other international competitions.

Kim Rhode – Olympic Medalist in 5 Olympic Games

My only experience with attending a SHOT Show before this year had been at the 1996 SHOT Show in Dallas. I had been working part-time for a knife company and was given an opportunity to work the booth. The owner of the company used his then-girlfriend as the booth babe. Let’s just say she was blonde and enhanced and wearing clothing to show off her assets. Her job was to sit on a stool and look pretty. She didn’t know a thing about knives. However, she must have been legendary because when I mentioned to Michael Janich this year what company I worked for, he said, “Ah, Miss Paragon”.

As I said in the beginning, I wanted to contrast women like Maggie, Annette, Julie, and Kim with the booth babes or gun bunnies. My only problem is that I honestly didn’t see any. I’m sure that there may have been a few. They may have been at booths that I missed. Alternatively, I just wasn’t at their booth at the right time. If I had seen them, I would have taken their pictures just like I took the pictures of the women above. Julie Golob told me in an email that she didn’t run into any which was a big contrast from her first few SHOT Shows.

If my experience (and that of Julie) mirrors the reality of this year’s SHOT Show, then it shows a growing maturity by the industry’s marketers. That and a realization that women are an important and growing component of the gun buying public.

Some Good Advice For Women Who Carry

Let’s face it – men have it easier when it comes to concealed carry. Our clothing is usually made of heavier fabrics which print less, we can wear sturdier belts even when “dressed up”, and our shoes rarely (never) have 3 inch or higher heels. Women, by contrast, have it harder especially when it comes to on-body carry which is the preferred way to do it.

That’s why I found this tips and tricks video from the NRA so good. It addresses the difficulties that women have with on-body carry and suggests some good solutions. Tatiana Whitlock makes a lot of sensible suggestions with regard to practice. I don’t have to think about shooting in heels in a confrontation but some women might.

More On Women Owning Guns In America From NBC

NBC is actually presenting some relatively balanced reports on firearm ownership by women. This report aired on the NBC Nightly News on Sunday evening. The mandatory reports on shootings in Chicago – a city with extremely strict gun control – preface this report by Stephanie Gosk. According to a Gallup poll, firearm ownership among women has risen by a full 10 percentage points over the last eight years.

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MSNBC Recognizes Women Own Guns

In what is a surprisingly unslanted report from MSNBC, Kristen Dahlgren reports on women shooting and owning guns. Featured in the report was Natalie Foster of A Girl’s Guide to Guns who I think did an excellent job in framing the issues surrounding gun control.

This report needs to be seen and re-seen as it helps break the media stereotype of the average gun owner being a fat, middle-aged white guy with little education. 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Women And Shooting…In Chicago

We don’t often associate positive media stories about women shooters with Chicago but CBS Chicago ran a story yesterday about the growth of women taking up shooting in the Chicagoland area.

Dianne McGrath used to spend her free time painting or doing needlework. But now her favorite pastime is shooting — something she thought she’d never do.

In fact, until last year, McGrath had never even touched a gun. It was her husband who encouraged her to learn to shoot for her own protection.

“You know, painting, needlework, guns. I don’t see what the problem is. It’s a really good progression,” she says of her new hobby. “It’s just another fun thing to do.”

McGrath says she’ll always remember the first time she fired a gun.

“It was a .22. I picked it up and I think I shook so bad I think the bullet went anywhere but where it was supposed to go,” she says, laughing.

But McGrath got better, and she was hooked. Now she says going to the range is actually more relaxing than needlework.

The only downside to this story is that CBS Chicago reporter Mai Martinez had to go to suburban DuPage County for it. I look forward to the not too distant future when we will see stories like this coming from within Chicago. When we do, it will be due to the legal work of attorneys Alan Gura and David Sigale and to courageous women like Rhonda Ezell and Colleen Lawson who paved the way.

Like I Said – An Attractive And Effective Spokesperson For Gun Rights

Emily Miller of the Washington Times was on Fox and Friends Weekend this morning to speak about the rise in gun ownership and gun use by women. I think she is correct when she attributes it to the desire for increased self-protection.

I think she did an excellent job in her interview. As I wrote earlier in the week, the unintended consequence of D.C.’s draconian gun laws was the creation of a new spokesperson for gun rights.

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