Mrs. Borepatch here again. Mr. Borepatch asked me a question on the way to the range yesterday that got me thinking. He asked what my father would have thought about me buying a gun and going to the range all the time. I think my dad would have just been confused. Not happy, or disappointed, but stumped. Guns and his daughter, would not have been things he would have ever thought of at the same time, it simply would not have made sense.
This is why I find it odd that I seem to take every opportunity I can these days to say, women should learn to shoot, it is empowering, and 2nd Amendment rights are women's rights. I know that on this blog, I am preaching to the converted, but I did not always think this way. My friends and family seem to think I've grown a new head or something. Guns and Mrs. Borepatch should not compute, but they do.
Anyone who has known me for any length of time, knows how radical a change this is for me. Now, I don't think of myself as a "gun nut." I still can't discuss the minutiae of calibers and makes and models, and I'm not sure I want to. Frankly, a lot of that just bores me. However, in the space of about 3 years, I have gone from thinking that banning guns sounded like a good idea, to thinking that 2nd Amendment rights are women's rights. Strange, even Mr. Borepatch is a bit stunned at my transformation. Now I really, really don't see why this should be a liberal vs conservative issue, I see it as a freedom issue, a personal responsibility issue. I mean, all of the smart, independent, liberal women I know, should be supporters of the 2nd amendment, and learn to shoot. Now if I could get them all to the range with me I'll be set. Although, I prefer to live in the real world now, instead of the fantasy world I came out of, but that's just me, few of my friends seem to want to join me. I'm not giving up though.
When we lived in Georgia the first time, I probably would not have allowed my children to play at the house of a family who owned firearms. I was frightened of them. "Oh no, guns bad, big black guns evil. Eek! Run away!" Then Mr. Borepatch wanted to go shooting, and #2 son wanted to join him. I went because I was trying to be a good sport. I thought maybe it would be good to know how they work, and demystify them. I mean, if my husband and sons were going to be shooting, I should at least not be afraid to touch one, right?
I didn't really enjoy my first time at the range. It looked like a bunker, it smelled bad, it was loud, and I wasn't very good. I went a few times and finally had a good time with an AR with a laser sight. I finally hit something I aimed at. One Christmas we went out to Phoenix to visit my mother and brother's family. My nephew was just home from Iraq, and we went to the Scottsdale Gun Club. It was then I began to come around. I think ranges should cater to women, and many of them are, and this was the first one I had seen that didn't look like a bunker. It was upscale and my sister-in-law came along wearing a dress and high heels. They had posters in the ladies room about taking ownership of your personal safety. I was impressed. It was the first time I shot the Sig P232 and a 1911, I picked up good tips from the nice range officers, and I shot well. I decided maybe pistols were OK.
Then, back at the range in NH, we met a woman who had been violently assaulted and who had vowed never to let it happen again. She was scary and sexy all at the same time. She showed off her arsenal and handed me a card for the Second Amendment Sisters, and something clicked, the light bulb went on and I saw the light. I wanted to be her, minus the rape. It seems so obvious now, but at the time it was a real revelation to me. Criminals are willing to break all kinds of laws, and if we keep law abiding citizens from owning guns then only the bad guys have them. If only the bad guys have guns, then they win, and you are more likely to be a victim. Now, who is at greater risk of being attacked?
I personally have no interest in being a victim. I will never be as fast or strong as an assailant, but my pistol levels the playing field, as long as I know how to use it, and am ready and willing to use it. I know it is only one part of the equation and I have to be aware of my surroundings, but I am getting there. I hope I never find myself in a position to need my "pretty Sig" in an emergency. I hope I only end up using it at the range for fun, but I do enjoy shooting and take a fair amount of pride in my new found ability. I love showing off my good groupings and hearing what a good shot I am.
I am heartened to see ranges that are not bunkers, that are catering to women. I smile a little whenever I see a woman walk through the door. I am pleased there are several female staff members. I was tickled pink to meet a 17 yr old competitive shooter, who is the perfect poster girl for young women shooters. I may not want a pink grip on my gun, but I'm glad they are making them, and the little pink .22 rifle is adorable. Now all I have to do is get a group of girlfriends who have never shot, and think the way I used to think, to the range with me, and then we can go have lunch or go to an art gallery.
I wanted to end with a big thank you to all the people I met and whose weapons I was fortunate enough to fire at the NE blogshoots. I got exposure to a huge variety of rifles and pistols that I never would have had access to anywhere else. You were all so generous. The blogshoots really helped me realize that normal, law abiding citizens own and use firearms safely and responsibly all the time for a multitude of reasons. Most importantly, I realized that owning a small (or large) arsenal doesn't make you a dangerous threat to anything other than your own bank account.