Tag Archives: domestic violence

One Year Proud and Strong

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The new club poster is hanging up in the Woodland Park Range where we have a monthly port meet up.

The Second Amendment Women Shooting Club is getting ready to celebrate our first wildly successful year with our Anniversary Port Meet up on March 29th. A year ago when we broke out with our first event, the Concealed Carry Holster Show, we could not have anticipated that only twelve months later we would have the fantastic group of active and engaged women we have today!

When I started shooting over five years ago, I still remember being in awe of the lack of women’s events and activity in the shooting community in this area.  Even as the media continues to report that there is a rise in female firearms owners in the last few years, clearly women have been actively participating in hunting and other shooting sports throughout history.

When we started the club, the goal was to not only create a place to train and introduce new female shooters to the sport, but to gather together a group of confident, self-aware and responsible women who would stand up for our families, our freedom and our right to self-protect.  I believe we have been successful thus far in our goals.  We have introduced over 100 women to shooting in a safe, responsible and fun atmosphere.  Some have joined to further their shooting skills and knowledge, some have joined for the social aspect of having a like-minded group of women to both go to the range with and spend time with outside the shooting environment.   Our club has become a warm and welcoming place for women of all ages and demographics, and with the introduction of our children’s firearms and safety events, we have become a family place as well.

This past week I attended a local event, a discussion on Guns, Safety and Solutions.  I sat there and listened to one of the panelists, Mandi Perlmutter from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, parade alleged statistics that would have one believe that women neither want to or should be “burdened” with the responsibility to protect themselves from becoming victims of crime. As I listened, I reflected on all the women who have come to our events and joined our club.  Intelligent, independent, brave, responsible;  these women are not victims.  These women are proud and strong!

When I leave my house every morning, I have many goals for the day, but only one is really important.  When I walk out the door of my house each morning, my one goal is to make darn sure I return through it to my children each evening.  When a group of “Moms” say that the “onus” of my protection should not lie with me – I question who does it lie with?  When the response time for police officers is upwards to thirty minutes in our area, what words will be used to comfort my children if God Forbid something happens to me?  Your mother was not responsible for her own protection?  That she did all should could to make sure she was here for you by calling for help?  That is pure nonsense and inexcusable!  I teach my children to be responsible and productive members of our society, of course, at their age appropriate ability, but we have no excuses and no participation awards in our house.   My children expect me to stand up for my own life, not to rely on anyone else and that is why my ten year old looks up to me and in his own words and description,  told me he doesn’t need any further protection as I am his “bodyguard”.

Whether its self-defense classes on situational awareness and ways to protect yourself inside and outside the home, or classes on how to become proficient and confident with your firearm (for use within the laws of your state), the SAW Shooting Club will continue to provide the means for women to become educated in how to protect themselves.  We are fortunate to have many police officers and first responders who work tirelessly to protect our communities.  But there are only so many of them, and at the end of the day, if I am not ready to defend myself and my children how can I ask anyone else to do so for me?

As we expand our events throughout NJ and PA in the coming year, we hope we will double, if not triple, our club membership.  We are listening to our members and will continue to provide everything from basic firearms and self-defense training to advanced tactical classes.  We also will continue to add opportunities to learn new skills, such as hunting and becoming involved in competitions like IDPA which are both educational and entertaining.

For the coming year we have added some new sponsors and supporters.  We appreciate everyone who becomes involved with supporting our goals, however I cannot close without expressing our gratitude for the incredible support we get from the Woodland Park Range staff and most importantly, Anthony Colandro. We could not have done it without you and we hope to continue to work together in the coming years!

-SS

Upcoming Events:

March 29th Anniversary Port Meet Up

April 6th Monthly Meet Up

April 14th Shotgun Refresher

April 28th – SAW Self Defense in Garfield Location

Shot Show Report – Women Gun Owners

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For the past several years, the NSSF Shot Show has held a press conference to present the latest on women’s involvement in the shooting sports and industry in general. The first year the topic was presented, it was revealed there were more presenters at the podium than attendees; but certainly not any more. This year, it was standing room only! The room was packed with interest in the incredible increase in participation and buying power of gun owning women in the past year.

A comprehensive report was revealed by the NSSF with topics researched including everything from what women are buying, how much they are spending, whether or not training is important right down to how comfortable we feel at the gun counter.   For those of us in the field, women who are involved in hunting and competitive shooting, as well as teaching, and outreach to increase accessibility to gun ownership to an ever increasing number of women, the new report brings no surprises.

The study is chock full of wonderful statistics based on a majority respondent profile of an educated, middle aged, married, Caucasian mother.   Leading women in the shooting industry were consulted on the types of questions and topics that would reveal the true interest and involvement of today’s gun owning women.

The average women in the study owned a gun for at least five years, however a large proportion owned a gun for over ten years.   A significant portion, about 30% of participants in the study became a gun owner in the past three years, showing a demographic change in female gun owners, since the newest gun owners are between 18-34 years of age.   It does not come as a surprise that most women are still purchasing with the main purpose of self-defense and home protection, but more and more are seeing the social aspect of shooting with family and friends as important as well as an interest in learning to hunt.

Overall, women felt more confident and safe as gun owners and the fit and feel of a gun in their hand was extremely important.  Guns are not typically an impulse purchase for women. According the study, 67.3% of women are spending at least a few months and up to a year choosing the right gun.   And of special note to manufacturers, their research includes visiting the websites of manufacturers as one of the main sources of information in order to make that purchase.

The buying power of women is also significant as the study reveals that female gun owners spent an average of $870 on their first gun purchase in the last year and the majority are buying semi-automatic pistols.   Women also spent an average of $405 on accessories in the past year, including items such as gun cleaning kits, targets and ear protection.  The availability of feminine accessories was not a factor in gun purchases.  When it comes to non-traditional colors and patterns on guns women either liked them or did not.  There isn’t much gray area here.  However if women specific accessories were available, such as holsters, grips and apparel, the study indicates that there would be a market for them among a select segment of women.   And as women become more involved in hunting and shooting sports and begin to seek out guns and apparel that fit them better, about a quarter of the women polled said that they had trouble finding items that fit them.

One of the more interesting outcomes of the study reveals that women are seeking out training in high numbers.   Almost three quarters of women have taken at least one training class whether it be a concealed carry class, hunters education or range safety instruction.   And on average women continue to take around three gun training classes. In general, women are not buying a gun and a box of ammunition and throwing it in a drawer.  The amount of training a woman participates in also has a correlation with how much women spend on guns and accessories. Not surprisingly, as women increase their confidence and knowledge of guns, they are willing and enthusiastic to become more involved in shooting activities.   Women have a tremendous amount of buying power and this should be of significant interest to ranges with training programs and retail sales.

Certainly many women’s shooting clubs are already seeing this trend.   At the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club (SAW), the NSSF research confirms what we already know, that women will seek out other women, will value training more, and spend more on a gun and accessories than those that don’t train.   Our monthly port meet ups for women only are packed and our members are showing increased interest in advanced training, classes in gun cleaning, and assistance with well thought out and researched gun purchases.  The research indicates that women respond positively to other women shooters.  And that “women only events” will encourage some women to participate more frequently.   We have certainly seen that trend.

We have all heard that women are the fastest growing segment in the firearms industry.  Whether the introduction to firearms came through a family member, friend or some outside influence, we want to learn more, increase our confidence and get out there and have fun.. and we will do it safely.

(All statistics are from the NSSF Report – Women Gun Owners 2014 Edition)

December Port Meet Up – Ruger LCR

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This past Monday was December port meet up time for the SAW club at the range in Woodland Park. Everyone took a much needed night off from their holiday preparations to get together for a ladies night at the range.  We welcomed a few new shooters this month – and as a whole our groups’ targets are looking pretty good!  Last month we started our “gun of the month” series with the Keltec Sub 2000; and this month we turn to carry guns with the Ruger LCR.

Buying a carry gun is no different than making any other firearm purchase, it’s a good idea to try out what you are buying.  Everyone has a different opinion on what is “best” and the only real judge is the person who will be using it.  However, as a woman and a pistol instructor, I have found that while many women like revolvers, a snub nosed .38 is not a favorite.  A short barrel and a light weight frame results in a snappy recoil that can actually hurt the hand.  Some will say in a defensive situation you can deal with the pain.  Well, yes and no.  Whatever firearm you choose it is never a good idea to throw it in a drawer to have it “if you need it”.  Practice and muscle memory will make your shot placement more accurate and if you are dreading firing your gun, all the features in the world that make it a great “carry gun” aren’t going to help you.

The barrel on the Ruger LCR is just under 2 inches and the gun itself weighs around 13 ounces. It has a shrouded hammer and a fairly smooth double action trigger pull.  The nice Hogue grip makes the LCR a bit more comfortable to shoot;  I have small hands and it is fairly comfortable fit.  About ten women took a try shooting .38spl out of the LCR.  The responses ranged from “ouch”, to “one round is enough, thank you very much”, to “it is too small for my hand”, and then, finally, “I really like that gun!”  So, out of ten women who tried the gun, we had only one resounding yes.

When I tried the LCR I was able to get a nice group, but I did not find it enjoyable to shoot.  It does have a limited capacity, but then so does a Body Guard .380.  After about 20 rounds though, I was ready to call it a day.

lcrtarger

Based on the overall club review of the LCR I have to give it a thumbs down.  However, there are many other carry gun options.  We hope to go through them all as we make our way through the extensive rental menu at the Woodland Park Range.

Ruger LCR

IDPA for Everyone

Our Intro IDPA group in Hellertown, PA
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So you have taken a first step or intro to pistol class, you have been shooting at paper at the range for some time and you may be thinking what’s next?  There aren’t many opportunities in this area to practice shooting from a holster or doing much more than standing in a port, but one outlet that is available to shooters of all skill levels, beginner through advanced, are matches run by the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).
IDPA is a shooting sport that was founded in 1996 and simulates self-defense and real life encounters.  Anyone can get involved in shooting matches as beginners are welcome and the cost of necessary equipment is minimal and limited to practical gear shooters most likely already own.
Recently, the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club/SAW sponsored an all-female introduction to IDPA shooting for our members.  Not everyone can afford to take advanced tactical classes and certainly not on a monthly basis.  IDPA offers an inexpensive opportunity to practice moving and shooting and experience how you will react when shooting under stress.  And our members were ready for the challenge!  Granted, the stress is not induced by your door being forced open at 2am and you having to confront a bad guy in your pajamas, however, there is some stress that comes from competition shooting even if you are only “competing” with yourself.
Monthly “local” matches usually cost between $10 and $ 20 . One even includes a pizza lunch on top of a full day of shooting various scenarios. All you need to bring is your firearm, three magazines, a holster/belt, and enough ammunition for the day.  After your first match a concealment vest or garment will be needed as well , and you will need to join IDPA for a nominal fee.  No special competition gear is allowed in IDPA, this would be the firearm you would use for home defense or plinking at the range.
A typical scenario starts with your gun holstered and Safety Officer pressing the buzzer on the timer.  Targets have an order to be engaged in, some will be moving,  some will be aimed at from behind cover,  sometimes there may even be an “injured” bystander who needs to be retrieved while the shooter continues to engage the targets.  All of the matches are performed in a safe and fun atmosphere which provides a perfect environment to learn about your firearm,  how you handle it under stress and how you respond to pressure while shooting, even if that “pressure” is your time elapsed flashing on the timer when the buzzer goes off and you show all clear with your firearm.
SAW had the pleasure of an introductory class taught by two highly ranked competitors, Ken Ortbach and  Joanna Lenczewska, this past month at the Hellertown Sportsman Center in PA.  Our students ranged from beginner to intermediate/advanced, but none had participated in an IDPA match.  IDPA ranks their participants and offers different stages so that all interested individuals can compete and be challenged.  Several of our members are continuing to participate in local matches.
Another intro class will be scheduled soon in Easton PA.  It is worth checking out, even if you just go to observe or pay your $10 to $20 to hang out with a group of like-minded individuals.

Teach Your Daughters to Shoot…

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Because a restraining order is just a piece of paper.

In response to his recent statement on gun control laws,  “You’ve got to wear them down until they finally say, ‘Enough’.“  I have this to say –  Mr. Bloomberg, I will never say ‘Enough’!

You are one hundred percent correct however, when it comes to issues of public health and safety, I too, will not back down.  I will continue to fight to be able to protect my children, in the manner I choose, one afforded to me by the Constitution of the country I pledge allegiance to.

As a woman, a mother, a social worker and a gun owner I understand the importance of safeguarding the right to own firearms for self-defense.  As a firearms instructor, I know that those who legally own guns, comprise some of the safest guardians of public health and safety in the country.  Gun owners do not seek gun battles, in fact it is unlikely someone would ever have cause to randomly draw their gun.  Gun owners are more aware of their surroundings and the responsibility that goes along with carrying a gun, but they are also ready to protect the lives of others, including those they do not know.  I would rather see guns protecting my children in school than a posted sign declaring it’s a “gun free” zone, because I am keenly aware of how well criminals follow laws, even ones posted on a nicely worded sign.

If the goal is to create a safer environment for our children to grow up in, a safer place for women to stand on equal footing with a domestic aggressor, than look no further than the population of law abiding gun owners in the US.

We all know that evil cannot be “banned”, you cannot remove all risk, but you will remove all means for me to successfully counter that risk – leaving my children vulnerable.  The women you will enlist to be the face of your gun control initiatives do not represent the large and growing population of women and mothers, like me, who will stand up and fight for the Second Amendment. That is, if you allow us to be heard.

I abhor the suggestion that taking guns out of the hands of legal gun owners will somehow make domestic violence deaths disappear.  The psychology of a domestic aggressor does not change based on the tools available to him. Taking the gun out of the hands of the potential victim, does not mean the aggressor will no longer have a means to abuse or kill the victim.  You have only guaranteed that the victim will never be able to equalize the disparity of strength and power between herself and her tormentor, and it will be abundantly clear, in fact, it will wipe away all doubt in the mind of the abuser, who enjoys seeing his victim as powerless and completely under his control.

This woman can easily die the same death being thrown down a flight of stairs as she would have if she had been shot.  But what if she had the means at her disposal to defend herself effectively? A 100 pound woman cannot likely throw a 200 pound male down a flight of stairs, or into a wall, but she can pull the trigger of a gun – her gun.  We should empower those who wish to help themselves instead of removing their ability to feel confident.

Instead of stripping the people of any means of self-defense, choose to maintain and strengthen the balance of power.  Abolish the absurdity of “gun free” zones, and allow citizens across the country to walk confidently.

Mr. Bloomberg, do not hide behind the protection of the women and mothers you will send door to door peddling the misnomer that “safety” only comes when all guns are be taken out of the hands of law abiding Americans.  They are smarter than that, you, Mr. Bloomberg are smarter than that too.  And gun owners, we are certainly smarter than that and we will never say ‘Enough’.

As a social worker and certified firearms instructor, I pledge to continue to educate men, women and children with the proper knowledge, skills and attitude to be responsible gun owners.   As part of my commitment to do my part for gun safe “everytowns” across the United States, and to empower and foster confident and safe women and mothers, I will pledge to always teach victims of domestic violence to shoot free of charge. – SS