Kentucky article re. women and firearms


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Preacherman
March 15, 2004, 10:30 AM
From the Bowling Green, KY Daily News (http://www.bgdailynews.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi?/200403/14+guns20040314_top-feature.html+20040314+top-feature):

Women wielding barrel of protection

Training, ownership of guns finding appeal among defense-minded females

By Hayli Fellwock, hfellwock@bgdailynews.com -- 270-783-3240
Joe Imel/Daily News

Ponytails and manicured nails are becoming a more common sight at shooting ranges, indicating a turning tide for the gun industry. The historically male-dominated shooting sport is becoming less foreign to females as more women flock to gun classes and target practice.
“We have had somewhere around 6,000 students since October 1996, and I would say around one-third to nearly half of our students are female,” said Deborah Williams of Bowling Green, who has helped teach concealed-weapons classes for the past eight years. “I get a mixture of single women who live alone, women who have felt it is necessary because they’ve become victims of a crime, or I have occasionally had women who are being stalked.

“Some women come with husbands or boyfriends and they take the class together. A lot of females get into this and learn that it is a really fun sport.”

The expanding market has not gone unnoticed by corporations. In 1990, the Smith and Wesson gun company introduced the LadySmith – a slim, easily concealed revolver with a shortened trigger reach. Now, the LadySmith can be further feminized with rosewood grips, gold detailing and an engraved image of a rose.

Purse manufacturers have also identified a marketing niche – bags equipped with a special compartment for guns. Some women, frustrated and pained by waistline gun holsters often worn comfortably by men, have taken a liking to the more skirt-friendly thigh holsters.

Mike Clay, owner of The Firing Line indoor range and gun shop on Shive Lane, said he has seen gun-shopping females from all walks of life. He has also seen many women improve their aim on the range after only a little practice.

“Women are good shots,” he said. “Women usually outshoot men. I can’t explain why.”

Williams ventured a guess: Women are usually easier to teach, she said, because men may have picked up bad techniques, such as shooting the wrong way.

“Women tend to be more focused, and tend to learn what we teach them and do it right,” she said. “I would much prefer to have a student, whether male or female, who hasn’t been shooting a lot, because they haven’t picked up those bad habits and they don’t have preconceived notions.”

Williams said another thing most women have in their favor is a fierce maternal instinct. Protection, whether of self or family, plays a large role in why women take up the shooting sport.

“There is nothing meaner on this Earth than a woman when her family is threatened,” Williams said.

Beverly Steele, a 57-year-old Bowling Green woman who recently participated in Williams’ eight-hour concealed-carry class at The Firing Line, said she would like her 36-year-old daughter take the class next. Her daughter, single mother to an 8-year-old boy, lives in a rural area.

“She lives out in the country alone and her little Pomeranian isn’t much protection,” Steele said. “I have known a lot of ladies who are interested in taking this class, and my daughter is going to be next. I think a lot of women are realizing that this type of training is important for self-preservation.”

Steele said her job – teaching graduated driver’s licensing to high school students – frequently requires driving alone at night. She and her mother, who is now 79, have also driven cross-country seven times, spending about 40 percent of their time on secondary roads. Steele said having a gun and concealed-carry permit would bring confidence and reassurance in her many travels.

•••

May 12, 1997, was a routine Monday evening for Ann Barry – until an incident at about 11 p.m. that garnered national media attention.

The Western Kentucky University history professor awoke to a loud chopping sound as two men pick-axed their way through the side door of her ranch-style home. Acting on skills gathered from years of training that began as a young girl hunting with her grandfather, Barry grabbed her Ruger SP101 revolver from the nightstand beside her bed. She crouched in the darkness at the end of the long hallway, and saw a man at the opposite end of the hall turn toward a guest bedroom and flick on the light.

“He had a gun,” she said. “It was then or never. For me, it was live or go six feet under.

“He started to turn toward me and I just shot him. I shot him in the side as he was turning. Otherwise, we would have been facing each other and would have probably killed each other.”

The man still managed to shoot five bullets into the darkness, but Barry was unharmed. Only then did she have the opportunity to call law enforcement. She said a woman’s first resort in such scenarios should be to call 911 and flee out a window or back door, but she had no such options.

“What happened that night took about two minutes altogether, but it seemed like an eternity,” she said.

The man Barry shot, 28-year-old James Shugart, was arrested in a nearby field, where he had collapsed. He was sentenced to 25 years in a federal penitentiary on charges of attempted murder and first-degree burglary.

His partner that night, 18-year-old Gordon Wayne Childress, was arrested upon further investigation and sentenced to 20 years in a federal penitentiary on charges of attempted murder by complicity and first-degree burglary by complicity.

The two men were part of a ring of thieves who had burglarized several homes at random throughout the Barren River district.

“People were getting scared and wondering who they were going to hit next, but they picked the wrong house that night,” Barry said, reiterating the importance of proper firearm training and practice to ensure a cool head in dangerous situations.

“I have been exposed to guns and that type of thing all my life, but when this sort of thing happens unexpectedly, you are really thrown into sheer panic,” she said. “I just acted on impulse, but fortunately I had training. Proper training is very important. You can’t just have a gun. You have to practice with it, care for it, and learn how to use it.”

•••

Williams had a similar experience in 1977, when a man tried to break into her apartment one afternoon while her husband, Rick, was at work. In her case, law enforcement arrived in time to arrest the man, but Williams was standing in her living room, armed and ready with a shotgun.

“This guy had been questioned on 11 rapes and I would have been his 12th,” Williams said. “The police got there in time, but I had only a few minutes to decide, ‘Will I shoot this guy if he comes through my door?’ Most women don’t think of those things, but these are things you need to be prepared for.”

That is the reason for the concealed-carry classes, Williams said. It teaches men and women to think through life-threatening scenarios, as opposed to being trigger-happy.

“So many people misunderstood this when we first started,” Williams said. “People thought we were going to be a bunch of vigilantes out here.”

On the contrary, she said, the class teaches proper shooting techniques, when not to shoot, safe ways to carry, clean and store a gun, and the legalities of self-defense with a deadly weapon. Upon passing written firing-range tests at the end of the course, participants are eligible to apply for a concealed-carry permit at their local sheriff’s office.

Donna Rehders of Bowling Green took the class recently after deciding it was time to join her husband, Tom, a concealed-carry licensee of nearly two years.

“I go lots of places alone and I’m worried,” Rehders said. “You see all this stuff on television about women getting abducted and they don’t have protection.”

Williams said the frequently presupposed notion of female vulnerability can actually work in their favor.

“I think that women are very vulnerable, or more so than men, on one hand,” she said. “On the other hand, I think we have the element of surprise on our side. They don’t expect us to be armed. They don’t expect us to be able to defend ourselves and do it the right way.

“We are not going out hunting for crime. But if it comes to you, you are doing what you have to do to protect yourself and your family.”

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Gus Dddysgrl
March 15, 2004, 10:57 AM
Barry grabbed her Ruger SP101 revolver from the nightstand beside her bed.

That's my gun. :) I hope I never have to use it as she did. Glad to to be assured it's a good one.

It teaches men and women to think through life-threatening scenarios, as opposed to being trigger-happy.

It has definitly taught me to think through what would happen if something would happen. I'm glad I'm getting training now. I am glad to see more women across the nation are learning this too. Bad guys beware. I hope this trend keeps going.

peashooter
March 15, 2004, 10:57 AM
Nashville's Fox-17 News did the story last Wednesday (Mar 10), and was fed nationally. Was it just a coincidence that Bowling Green, Ky. gets Nashville stations?
Good story though. In TN over 25k women have received their ccw's since 2000.
My girlfriend ( and her 38 snubbie) was the subject of the Fox-17 story. :evil:

Walosi
March 15, 2004, 11:50 AM
I've been acquainted with Debbie Williams since the beginning of CCDW classes in '96. She is the epitome of pistol instructors, regardless of gender. I believe her classes for women would rank at the top of any top ten taken from around the country. And, she can shoot :D I once watched her shoot my 4" S&W 25-5 on an indoor range, against the backdrop of soundproof tiles on the wall behind her. The loads were 255 gr. SWCs over 8 gr. of W231. From where I sat, her front sight was on a seam line on the wall behind. Five shots, DA, and the front sight never moved off the seam line. Gun Control.:eek:

Nighthawk
March 15, 2004, 01:19 PM
This trend is a good thing. The gun-grab liberals seem to prey upon female sensibilities in their appeal to push through gun control. If more women woke up to the fact that a gun in the right hands is a tool for self preservation and not a tool for destruction, the gun control movement would suffer greatly.

Now if only there was a way to get all the feminized men in the world to wake up to the same realization.

Standing Wolf
March 15, 2004, 03:54 PM
You can't beat women who keep and bear arms.

Samurai Penguin
March 15, 2004, 05:07 PM
You can't beat women who keep and bear arms.

OK...I had to do a double-take on that one. Tell me there's a T-shirt out there...? :D :cool:

Gus Dddysgrl
March 16, 2004, 03:24 PM
Tell me there's a T-shirt out there...?

Me too. I would wear it. That'd be great.

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