Women in the last several years have been identified as the largest growing demographic of gun owners. Let’s understand a few types of female gun owners so we can help them develop their skills.
1. Women who own a firearm because their family is concerned for their safety.
Young women are often encouraged to obtain a concealed-carry firearm because their family has concerns about their safety. Whether she is going off to college or moving into an apartment, there are aspects of firearm owner’s situation that highlight areas in which she can become more educated.
First, understanding and following the state and local firearm laws is imperative. Just because one’s parent owns a firearm does not always mean an adult child can use or transport it. Some research into gifting firearms and the legal ramifications specific to your city and state are a must. State laws regulating concealed carry is another area to get informed.
After that, ensuring proper training in the environment the firearm will be carried is the best way for this type of female firearm owner to grow. Learning basic tasks, like how to manipulate the firearm, load / unload, change magazines, load mags, the basics of shooting the firearm, as well as how to safely draw it and re-holster, are a start.
After the basics, a great goal is to develop skills with the firearm to the extent that using it becomes second nature, where there is no hesitation drawing it and getting the sights on target in different environments. It takes some effort, but helping ensure people in this category are capable of the adult responsibility of caring for their safety and those around them is worth it.
Continuing to learn by taking classes or attending local shooting competitions, like IDPA events where draw from concealment and use of cover and concealment are part of the game, can be ways to further help people grow their skills.
2. Women who own a firearm because they are concerned for their or their family’s safety.
Often women obtain a firearm because they live alone and want to take care of themselves and their families. Single parent homes are a reality and many women accept that a firearm is a tool to have on hand for protection. Often this recognition that women are responsible for the safety of those in their care hits when they are along with their children. Becoming a mother can be the first time they think about owning a firearm or recognize why women are open to the idea. Motherhood imparts a very honest understanding that there are people dependent on you for protection, and keeping them safe your job, first and foremost.
Ways to help these women is by having conversations and sharing that this need to protect our families is as old as time, and a natural recognition of the responsibilities of parents. Some women feel self-conscious about owning a firearm and might not want to talk about it for fear of being judged. Helping them see how normal it is, that just like preventative dental care for our children, having a home protection plan and tools is a responsible, normal practice.
Places where these firearm owners can grow are classes geared toward home defense and family safety. Training at home with firearms, and learning to use them under pressure in a competition setting is a great way to learn to manage the adrenaline associated with tense situations.
After training with the firearm, other training that focuses on family safety or home preparedness are useful. It would be the best outcome to not have to use a firearm for personal safety—to have carried out proactive steps to harden defenses and make your home less of a target. So in addition to being armed, a cohesive outlook on family readiness and safety can be implemented.
3. Women who own firearms because they grew up with this practice.
While there are many women who have not grown up around firearms, there are many who have. One of the pitfalls of growing up around firearms is making the assumption that your wife, daughter, mother, sister, aunt, niece, etc. have learned by osmosis how to use a firearm.
For women who own a gun because it’s normal and their family way of life, don’t imply that they have all the knowledge needed to use one properly. If you are one of those women, push yourself to have legitimate skills with your firearms that are suited to the way you could possibly be required to use it.
We can help this type of female firearm owner to grow by encouraging them to take ownership of their skills and really embrace their adult responsibility to provide for their own personal safety. Invite them to attend a class, compete, or just go plinking with the rest of the family to maintain some level of practice with the firearm they own.
The background and reasons that women own firearms are varied, but one common thread is the desire to take charge of their personal responsibility. On that common ground, we can all help each other grow in the skills required to do this well. And even those who don’t own firearms can understand why people chose to own a firearm as a viable option to keep safe themselves and their families.