Women to Watch: Sovereign Ammo CEO Laura DiBenedetto

NRA Women recently sat down with Sovereign Ammo co-founder and CEO Laura DiBenedetto. Here's what she told us about her journey to become a passionate supporter of the Second Amendment and American freedoms.

by posted on June 21, 2023
Laura Dibenedetto Lede

NRA Women recently sat down with Sovereign Ammo co-founder and CEO Laura DiBenedetto. Here's what she told us about her journey to become a passionate supporter of the Second Amendment and all American freedoms.

NRAW: You are an award-winning business leaderTEDx speaker, and bestselling author.  Tell us a little about your diverse background and what your inspiration was to start an ammo company.

LD: I'm a wild child at my core, stubbornly resistant to limitations and conformity. Fired from multiple jobs, I took the hint and started my first company in 1999. With Vision Advertising, I embraced my passion for marketing for 19 years. Retirement from that brought epiphanies, massive life change, and healing, leading to my bestselling book, “The Six Habits,” and impactful TEDx talk, transforming lives. Then Covid hit, upending everyone’s world, especially mine.

Aching for normal, and of course, freedom, my husband and I co-founded Sovereign Ammo. Our mission: empower Patriots to raise their voices, defend their rights, and destigmatize responsible gun ownership. In the face of unjust discrimination, we're making a difference, one person and one platform at a time. Together, we're a force for change.

NRAW: Why the name Sovereign Ammo?

LD: "Sovereign" isn’t just some fancy word we threw around randomly. It's the core of our God-given power, the soul of this amazing nation, and God Himself. It means the world to us, and it strikes a chord with those who truly understand what sovereignty's all about. We're here to ignite a fire in your soul, to make you realize that sovereignty is the beautiful dance of freedom and responsibility, not some selfish notion like some folks mistakenly believe.

NRAW: Did you grow up in a gun-owning household?

Yes, though I never really thought about it.  Growing up with guns was ordinary because they were always just “there” and part of normal life. Dad kept his guns safely locked up and brought out a rifle when something stealing our veggies needed to be shot. I haven’t thought about it much, and honestly this question makes me recall how good of a shot Dad was back in the day.  Probably still is—I’ll have to get him to the range!

NRAW: When we first spoke earlier this year, you said that you’d “found your people” in the firearm industry and 2A supporters. How and why did you become a passionate defender of the Second Amendment, and was there a person (or people) that made you realize you’d found your “tribe”—and your new destiny?

LD: May y’all forgive me, but I’m a recovering Democrat. The people in the 2A space are nothing like the media would have you believe, and I started being aware of this when Covid lockdown mania started destroying the country.  People who questioned the narrative had a lot in common … a lot more than just disdain for the far-left media and corrupt politicians.  I met countless good people who had this fiery passion for family, deep commitment to their communities, and unwavering faith in God, and it just so happened they saw through the hyperbole the way I did and had accordingly clung to their guns tighter than ever. I immediately understood why, and felt like I was safe, finally.  To find “tribe” is to find someone to fight alongside, for, and with. 

NRAW: How have you been received in the 2A community? What has surprised you most? What has disappointed you?

LD: I’ve been received well by the 2A community! I was wary at first, because I was expecting a lot more sexism and women being objectified, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find the opposite. Sure, I’ve experienced some sexism and I’ve seen some racy photos, but overwhelmingly, it’s a classy, respectful community that supports each other and has been supportive to me personally! 

Two things are disappointing to me. One—how insanely hard it is to break into the space and be “the new guy,” where tracking resources, partners and customers down is 40x harder than it should be. Two—how good people are so afraid to speak out against unjust policies and politicians or use their voices at all! I am working tirelessly to be the spark of inspiration to change the latter. We can and MUST speak up, out, and loudly.

NRAW: Although this site (NRA Women) focuses largely on people, products, advice and training for women, you prefer to not be pigeonholed into a women-only segment of the industry. Can you elaborate on this?

LD: I'm an outspoken advocate for fairness and equality for women across all aspects of modern life. The empowerment that shooting sports offer to women as the “great equalizer” truly inspires me.

While women's categories in shooting can make it more inviting and less daunting, I firmly believe that we should be cautious about using excessive gender-specific labels in activities that should be open to all. Terms like "girl boss" and "boss babe" may unintentionally undermine women's credibility, and I've witnessed this happen all too often. That's why I personally reject such qualifiers and prefer to identify myself simply as a shooter and a leader.

In my view, if we want to support women effectively, we should strive to create an environment that welcomes everyone, transcending divisions. Let's embrace shooting as the beloved national pastime it is, fostering an atmosphere where individuals from all walks of life can participate and thrive.

NRAW: That said, why do women make such a natural fit for 2A businesses?

LD: Women bring a special essence to the business world that goes beyond the Second Amendment. As an experienced leader for 24 years, I embrace the strengths of both men and women, seeing them as incredible assets rather than flaws to criticize. I remember being shamed for not conforming to masculine expectations, which took a toll on my well-being. However, embracing my true feminine self has allowed me to rise above the limitations of the feminist movement's current direction.

By embracing our womanhood and staying true to ourselves in business, we unlock new levels of success and ease. We possess a natural talent for nurturing and cultivating life—a divine gift! When we bring these qualities to our companies, we unleash their potential for growth. Infusing our businesses with passion and delight becomes a magnetic force, attracting customers to our unique essence.

NRAW: Back to your product, why only 9mm? Do you have plans to expand your caliber options, and what are your plans for expanding the Sovereign Ammo brand in general?

It’s easy to stare at every shiny round that comes down the barrel, but we need to build a reputation and systems for one thing at a time and do it so people are screaming our praises and coming back for more.  We’re doing that with our 9mm rounds, and our customers are not just happy—they’re delighted and coming back again and again, which tells me we’re on the right track. We are aiming to revolutionize the ammo experience and take it from a boring commodity that people buy based on pennies, and turn it into a whole experience that people eagerly seek out because it’s fun, they can trust that they’re getting the best quality that makes a vital difference, and they feel loved the entire time.

Sovereign Ammo is eager to expand into other calibers when the time is right, and our customers will let us know when that time is by the intensity and consistency of demand alongside existing volume. 

For now, we have an ever-expanding line of merch that helps people to be more vocal about their beliefs and values, like our bestselling shirt, which declares in big, bold type: “I Love God, I Love America, I Love Guns.” Eventually, we will be expanding into other products that offer continuity on the idea of sovereignty.  I won’t ruin the surprise, but suffice it to say, it’ll make a lot of people very happy!

NRAW: You recently shared a stage with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis when he signed Florida’s anti-ESG bill in to law. How did that come to be?

LD: When people think about ESG, they think it’s something good, not recognizing that it’s a social credit system. I’m actively involved in Florida politics, and when Governor DeSantis’ office needed someone to speak about the real-life implications and harms of the de-facto social credit system that’s underpinning our financial and technology sectors, my name was brought up and I was invited to speak on stage beside him. Being in the ammunition space, I’m an obvious focus of censorship and suppression. We face it daily and it’s unrelenting. This chance to partner with the NRA is a welcome breath of fresh air. Thank you!

NRAW: Tell us a little about the ESG challenges you faced when you were launching Sovereign Ammo, and any new challenges you are facing as a new company.

LD: I won’t mince words: ESG is a blight on America, cleverly disguised as something good.  When signing up for merchant software, we were informed that we could continue using the account until we were eventually caught by the compliance department. Credit card processing applications were denied due to our profession not meeting their criteria. Traditional lending options were unavailable due to ESG rules. After securing funding, our funds were frozen, hindering our business operations.

ESG policies have impeded our marketing efforts, resulting in blatant censorship and content removal on social media platforms. Accounts have been suspended and terminated, with restrictions on discussing our business and sharing product links or photos. Getting our name out there is a daily challenge.  Social media is limited to us largely—and yet it’s one of the most effective tools out there. The way I see it, ESG is being used as a backdoor attempt to sidestep constitutional protections and impose a biased morality code on businesses, and I’m living proof.  

NRAW: What advice can you offer for businesses facing similar challenges in other states?

LD: Get involved with local and state politics to the extent you can. Make your voice heard, even if only a whisper in the ear of the person who will yell for you. Make it known that you’re being injured, how, and that you need help. Bring attention to your situation and encourage others to come forward.  Serve, help, and support others, and you’ll discover quickly that you’re not alone. If you get scared, just hum some Pink Floyd in your head: “United we stand, divided we fall.”

NRAW: What are some of your personal philosophies you rely on to get you through tough times, both personally and professionally?

LD: Being kind to myself, practicing unconditional self-love, radical gratitude, fully opting into the present, guarding my energy, and being intentional about what I do are my core beliefs and have saved my life. Not coincidentally, these are all parts of my TEDx talk and the principles of my book. They’re all intertwined and have shaped who I am as a person.  These principles are great in the best of times, and nonnegotiable in the worst of times. 

NRAW: Do you have a favorite firearm, and what type of firearm training have you engaged in since being a gun owner?

Unsurprisingly, I’m really stoked about my 9mm guns. My favorite is my Glock 19. It’s too big for daily carry (for me), so I carry my CZ. I’ve had one-on-one training to help me become proficient and safe and am always hungry for more. I’m a big believer in learning how to do everything correctly—not just shooting!

NRAW: What other interesting or surprising facts should we know about Laura DiBenedetto? What do you do to unwind? Favorite book, TV show, vacation spot, food, breed of dog, guilty pleasure … (we won’t mention perfume)?

LD: Before Covid I used to travel internationally on my own. I moved to Maui "just because." I have my motorcycle license, I love to read, I make French Macarons, I am a painter, I have ADHD, my favorite show of all time is The Golden Girls, and I’m the crazy person who jumps out into traffic and saves turtles and geese from being run over—often. My husband and I have two cats and a dog, and we love going on adventures in nature or being home with our fur babies. Family time is the best time!

NRAW: We know we’ll be hearing a lot more about you and from you in coming months, but is there anything else you’d like to share with our NRA Women audience—for now?

LD: Absolutely! I want to emphasize the power we hold as consumers and the importance of voting with our dollars. It's not just about making a purchase; it's about supporting businesses that align with our values and principles. When we invest in companies that invest in us, we’re contributing to the success of what we care about.

In the realm of ammunition, quality matters. It's not just about something going “bang;” it's about ensuring safety, reliability, and optimal performance. By investing in high-quality ammunition, you’re prioritizing our own well-being and the success of your shooting endeavors.

So, to all the amazing ladies of NRA Women, I encourage you to be mindful of where you invest your hard-earned dollars. Support businesses that support you, that align with your values, and that prioritize quality. Together, we have the power to shape the industry, make a difference, and create a community that uplifts and empowers us all.

As for me, thanks for reading this interview, and please keep your eyes and ears open, because there's so much more to come, and I can't wait to share this incredible journey with each of you! Sign up for our (infrequent) emails and we’ll keep you updated on what’s going on, and oh yeah—grab yourself some pewpews! #STAYSOVEREIGN

 

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