Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On why women should shoot and how I got here.

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.


Stephany said...

Count me in on the group!

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.

Distance in miles is the only thing keeping me from joining!

Great post, and good to hear of this perspective, and background, it's pretty much 'me'.(minus gun range experience!)

DirtCrashr said...

My paltry allowance prevents me from being too much of a threat to our bank account!

North said...

Thank you for writing this. I'm printing it for my wife.

Anytime ANYONE expresses interest in shooting I'll pay their way to the range. My treat.

Women are nicer to teach, though. They are usually eager to learn, and don't have egos that get in the way.

Brad_in_MA said...

Mrs BP,

Much like North, I too am taking a copy of your post for My Lovely Bride to read & digest. Yours is a fine service. Thank you.

- Brad_in_MA

Anonymous said...

I stole the last line Mrs. Borepatch and posted to my FB with proper credit. It is a great quote.


Tango Juliet said...

Great story! Great post!

yobluemama said...

Great post---I so relate. I wanted to hunt when I was a kid, my dad wouldn't give me permission to do so. I used to say I didn't need a gun, because I have my mouth---Having the life experiences I've had in the last 15 years, I have a different perspective--which includes a profound awareness of and increased respect for the US Constitution and it's protections.

I'm with you Mrs. Borepatch, the 2nd Amendment allows for a leveling of the playing field. Thanks for the great post!

Maura said...

Thanks, Mrs B - I appreciate this post more than you will know. I recently decided to overcome my lifelong apprehension with guns and ( with help from my friend North ) am learning about guns and shooting. I, too, am facing this as a personal responsibility issue and know it is in my best interests to be both prepared and confident.

So, no - you are not preaching to the converted. You are leading by example - and for that, I am grateful and appreciative.

The Czar of Muscovy said...

"Frankly, a lot of that just bores me."

See, I get that.

Inside baseball. Very clever.

gator said...

Excellent post, Mrs. Borepatch!

I'll be printing this one out for Mrs. Gator.

Cher said...

Amen, sister! Empowering is exactly the word I would use to express the way shooting and knowing HOW to shoot.

My husband and I are both firearm enthusiasts . . . not gun nuts . . . we both enjoy collecting and shooting.

In my house there is an established and well maintained balance of power . . . as far as guns go. I must always have more firepower than he. It's just the way it is and he accepts his lot.

I've been actively shooting for 15 years, a pistol permit carrier for most of those and an NRA certified pistol instructor.

I encourage all women to learn to shoot. Don't be afraid. Guns don't kill . . . stupid people do. I can't name one woman that I've taken to the range who hasn't enjoyed the experience and come back for more.

It's all good! Girl power!

BenC said...

I love your post but this line "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"got me to thinking. See to me "liberal gun owner" does not compute its like saying an "atheist christian" freedom and personal responsibility is the antithesis of liberal thought they want control and someone to blame.

Web Grandma said...

Love your comments and totally agree with the idea that gun ranges should cater to women! My #1 suggestion for a range is to take down the posters of scantily clad women. Don't know about you, but these offend me, and don't make me feel welcome.

I would love to see a range that feels like a nice coffee shop, with a place to sit and have a nice hot drink after I shoot. And, how about a cleaning service, where I might pay $10 and get my gun cleaned afterwards?

I saw an article a couple of weeks ago where a woman described shooting sports as yoga for republicans. I personally find it that relaxing too.

Andrew S said...

Dear BenC,
As a liberal, atheist gun owner and shooting enthusiast, I urge you to not paint with so broad a brush. There is a whole lot more to liberal philosophy than you describe. Your portrayal is true for certain segments of liberals, but please realize that the fundamentalist Christian right resembles your comment as well.

firearmsandtraining said...

"Frankly, a lot of that just bores me."

I guess that's why you are Mrs. Borepatch!

JendaPerl said...

If only the bad guys have guns you are only running the risk of bing shot by the bad guys. No heated moment shooting that'd otherwise be just a few bruises and a broken plate fight, no accidental shooting by a friend who's no good at firearms, no "went berserk and started shooting around" from people overburdened by problems, no school kids shooting in school ... well, not "no", but certainly "less".
It's not black and white. And even if you can shoot and do own a gun, you do not carry it 24/7.

Borepatch said...

JendaPerl, all of the examples you suggest are very rare. However, even for these you're better off if you are carrying a gun.

I'd think that suicide is a better case for you to make, although I haven't seen anything to suggest that access to guns increases the suicide rate (e.g. Washington D.C. vs. Arlington VA have different gun laws, but Arlington doesn't have a higher suicide rate).

Heather said...

Well said!

My dad is also a bit confused by the fact that I've gotten so into hunting and shooting, but my mother frequently says "I wish your grandfather could see you now! He'd love this!"

Mrs. Borepatch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Borepatch said...

JendaPearl, while I acknowledge that there are people who misuse guns out of malice or ignorance, the same can be said for many things. How many people turn a vehicle into a deadly weapon when they drive recklessly or under the influence? I am advocating responsible gun ownership, and that means learning how to safely use and keep whatever firearms you own, just as I would advocate safe driving and not driving while intoxicated. People do a lot of stupid things when they are angry or drunk, and not just with guns.

dr mac said...

It took my wife just about the same time to make the conversion from where you where you were to where you are. It was also a honor for us to meet you at the NE blogshoot.

Rutherford said...

This is a fantastic post. I sent this to all the females I know.