Women Gun Rights Activists to Gather at Shooting Range for International Women’s Day

Billed as ‘National Women’s Range Day,’ the March 9 event will promote women’s exercise of their Second Amendment rights and self-defense.
Women Gun Rights Activists to Gather at Shooting Range for International Women’s Day
Members of the public shoot a variety of rifles and other weapons at a shooting range during the Rod of Iron Freedom Festival in Greeley, Pa., on Oct. 9, 2022. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Michael Clements

In June 1917, Mrs. Ida Powell Priest of New York City was commander-in-chief of the American Women’s League for Self-Defense, a group of 500 women trained to take up arms to defend themselves and their country if the need arose.

According to an archival article in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Magazine, Mrs. Powell’s focus was on defense.

“We design to improve health of mind and body through military training, to learn to think, act, obey and command intelligently and quickly, to be military, not militant,” Mrs. Priest was quoted as saying.

Antonia Cover, director of women’s outreach for Gun Owners of America, would like to see some of that attitude revived. Ms. Cover leads Empowered 2A, a movement dedicated to providing “education, training, and advocacy content that encourages and equips women of all ages in their gun ownership journey.”

She’s not trying to establish a female militia or prepare women for combat. Ms. Cover says she wants women to be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights in defense of themselves, their families, and their communities.

“We really want to stress what Empowered 2A stresses, that gun rights are women’s rights,” Ms. Cover told The Epoch Times.

To do that, Empowered 2A is set to host its inaugural “National Women’s Range Day“ on March 9 in Grapevine, Texas, the day after International Women’s Day on March 8.

Self-Defense for Women

In the past several years, as more and more women have become gun owners, data from the Pew Research Center shows that those women are more likely to cite personal protection as the sole reason for purchasing a gun.

Statistically, more women than men give self-defense as the only reason they become gun owners.

Nikki Goeser is the executive director of the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) and author of “Stalked and Defenseless: How Gun Control Helped My Stalker Murder My Husband in Front of Me.”

Her book is an account of how her stalker—who continues to send her letters from prison—murdered her husband in front of her. She was unable to use her legally-owned pistol because, under the law, the restaurant they were in was designated a “gun-free zone.”

The stalker was not fazed by the designation and carried a pistol into the building anyway.

According to John Lott, president and founder of the CPRC, many people are deprived of the tools they need to defend themselves by laws that are sold as promoting public safety. As an example, he pointed out that in some jurisdictions, it can take two to three months or longer to get a concealed carry license.

“A woman in a domestic violence situation may need to be protected right now. She may not have 60 to 90 days or longer,” Mr. Lott told The Epoch Times.

Ms. Cover and Ms. Goeser pointed out that women are, in general, more petite, have less muscle mass, and have different bone structures than men. In the minds of many criminals, this makes them easy targets.

Ms. Goeser said she was reminded of this after a recent speaking engagement in another gun-free zone as she was once again forced to leave her pistol locked in her car. This meant a late-night walk through an inner city area from the venue to her car.

Fortunately, she had a friend who could arrange a police escort. But she said she is keenly aware that most women don’t have such friends.

She said firearms are “the great equalizer” when it comes to whether a woman can adequately defend herself from a male attacker. If she had been forced to walk to her car from the gun-free zone where the event took place, that would have left her as helpless as she was the night her husband was murdered.

“I really hate gun-free zones,” she told The Epoch Times.

There is also a lingering cultural bias, an idea that guns are a male pursuit, which the women said is gradually fading. Ms. Cover hopes the Range Day event can help end that bias.

“It just has not been marketed as something that’s for men and women. So a lot of women either don’t go to the gun range, have never experienced an actual firearm,” Ms. Cover said.

Took Up Firearms Later

Ms. Cover said she was actually anti-gun for much of her life because of the coverage of crimes involving guns. Likewise, Ms. Goeser said she grew up with guns in her home, but her father discouraged her from learning anything about them.

Both women were in their mid-20s before they learned the positive aspects of firearms ownership. Friends taught both the basics of firearms.

“I was 25 when I went to a gun range. I had this firearms instructor who found out that I was getting cyberbullied and stalked as well. He wanted to take me under his wing and help me learn how to use a firearm. So I had a great first experience,” Ms. Cover said.

She said the National Women’s Range Day is designed to be a great experience as well. It is her hope that by mixing with like-minded individuals, more women will come to see the Second Amendment as the great equalizer that she believes it to be. There will be displays of different carry options for women, and holsters, purses, and clothing designed for women to carry concealed weapons will be available for the women to try out.

There will also be presentations on the politics of the Second Amendment and how to introduce friends to firearms.

The event will be held at Texas Gun Experience, a 35,000-square-foot facility featuring retail space as well as firing ranges. The admission fee covers time on the shooting range and access to the day’s events, Ms. Cover said.

Michael Clements focuses mainly on the Second Amendment and individual rights for The Epoch Times. He has more than 30 years of experience in print journalism, having worked at newspapers in Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. He is based in Durant, Oklahoma.
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