A few weeks ago, I got involved in a conversation (if you can even call it that) about gun control. One of the participants in this verbal exchange, a guy who is vehemently against guns in the hands of anyone, was trying to break me down and insult me. After exhausting all the pointless arguments he could come up with, he exasperatedly threw this rhetorical question at me: “What kind of woman buys a gun, anyway?”

I suppose, in his mind, he wanted me to be shocked and appalled by the statement. I suppose, in his imaginary world, the only women who purchase guns are vile, unruly she-devils or unrefined, power-hungry boneheads.

His question didn’t really faze me. And it certainly didn’t offend me. Because I know exactly the kind of woman who purchases a gun. I am one. And I am definitely not alone.

You want to know what kind of woman buys firearms? It’s the young graduate who just started her first real job in a new city, 1,200 miles from home. It’s the retired businesswoman who wants to take up a new hobby that also offers the added benefit of self-protection. It’s the single mom who’s been physically threatened before and who wants nothing but a better—and a safer—life for her and her two children. It’s the family matriarch who acknowledges that evil exists in this world and that people need to be aware of themselves and their surroundings.

I’ll tell you about the women who buy guns. They are writers, homemakers, doctors, engineers, law enforcement officers, and administrators. They are innovators, visionaries, heroes, and survivors. What’s more, the women who buy guns are strong, weak, old, and young. They are experienced, novice, outspoken, soft-spoken, able-bodied, and wheelchair-bound.

The women who buy guns are bold. They are determined. They are responsible. They are wise. They are wallflowers. And they are wildflowers. And they are willing to learn. Not only that, the kind of woman who buys a gun realizes that it’s not enough that she alone understands how to safely and effectively use this tool for protection. She knows that it’s important to train her family members. She also tells her friends. She helps her community. She spreads the word about our Second Amendment right, and she lives a responsibly armed lifestyle.

That woman is your friend. Your mother. Your sister. Your daughter. That woman is you. And she is me.

I’m proud to be the kind of woman who buys a gun. Not everyone will understand that, and that’s okay. Perhaps my actions will speak louder than my words. Perhaps people who know me, watch me, interact with me, or pass me by will see it for themselves.

Not everyone will like the idea, either. They may secretly hope that, somehow, women will be left in the dark, unsure, unaware, anxious, and overcome. And they may never truly understand that the kind of woman who purchases a gun is the kind of woman who can be a role model and a positive influence, a woman who can make a difference…and who can save lives.