While getting sucked into the downward spiral that is YouTube browsing, I stumbled across a few videos related to women and firearms. So I figured I needed to do a little “research,” just to see what people from both sides of the issue (and even in the middle) are saying.

A quote from a piece by Vice stood out to me: “Whether American women’s fears are legitimate or a product of marketing, the question remains: How do we keep women safe in a nation that already has more than 300 million guns?”

Later on, a teenage, pro-gun-control activist admitted that she believed everyone should be able to protect themselves. But then she added that she didn’t believe people should be able to use guns or kill their attackers.

It’s Not Paranoia

Even though the piece didn’t outwardly attack or criticize gun owners, it did seem to present the idea that guns aren’t really needed and that fear isn’t truly warranted. It also hinted that pro-gun organizations (they specifically mention NRA) are causing the big scare, making women want to own and train with firearms.

Undoubtedly, the firearms industry is paying closer attention to women, perhaps now more than ever. But, then again, more and more women are showing interest in guns, gear and training. And more and more options are becoming available to share information (and advertising). For instance, according to Pathmatics, a marketing research agency, in the first six months of 2018, the NRA spent more than $4 million on online ads, with about 23 percent of its Facebook ads targeting women.

It’s Preparedness

So, is it just scare tactics? I realize that the majority of gun owners have likely not used a firearm in self-defense, but have they ever felt uncertain, uncomfortable or afraid? Or could it just be gun manufacturers and advocacy groups telling us women are being targeted?

I don’t know about you, but I believe the former. I don’t think the world is out to get me or anything. But I refuse to believe that everyone out there is kind and good-hearted and can simply be confronted or “talked down” from evil or insanity. And because of that, I choose to live my life with caution and reason, while using sound judgment and good situational awareness.

I know I am not alone on that. Check out some of the examples and reasons that others shared with me.

  • “In this day and age of evil everywhere? If you don’t feel a bit paranoid about what could happen, you must live in a bubble! Afraid for my life? No, I’ve lived 71 years, but I will defend myself, my family and my country with my life if it comes to that!” – Charlotte P.
  • “There are some areas that just give me an uneasy feeling. Thankful I can protect myself if I need to.” – Tim M.
  • “I have been in odd situations where I felt unsafe, but I was sure to keep my head up and eyes looking around. I got my cellphone as if I was making a phone call and of course, had my gun concealed on me. I was observant of my surroundings.” – Erica M.
  • “Eight years ago I was driving to a part-time job requiring a 3-hour commute, which took me through a remote section of interstate. I stopped at a rest area for a break; it was busy at the time. When I came out of the restroom, there was nobody left except a man standing looking at the map between the two doors. I took note of his presence and walked to my car. When I got to my car, I turned around, and he was standing about 5-10 yards away just standing and staring at me … I quickly got in my car and locked the doors and drove away. I could see him in my rear view, still watching me as I drove away; then he walked across the lot to his semi-truck. He did nothing physically to threaten me, but I have never been so creeped out in my life. I called my husband and told him to look for a concealed carry class for me. That was the last time I traveled unarmed, and now I always look for busy travel plazas when I need to stop.” – Kathy K.
  • “I almost got jumped by four guys several years ago carrying a case of beer home from the convenience store. Thankfully I had pepper spray with me and didn’t have to use it, but I told them ‘I am armed and I will defend myself if I have to.’” – Caleb H.
  • “I used to tell my husband I didn’t need or want a gun. One night while he was working late, I heard an unusual sound outside. At that time, I was home alone with two young children. When I realized I was hearing a prowler outside, something rose up inside me. I walked into my kitchen, grabbed a huge sharp knife and then took a stance in the doorway to my kids’ room. Prowler never gained entry, but he had cut my phone line (many years before cellphones). I have been a proud pro-weapon person ever since and usually carry more than one.” – Jeanette H.

It’s Responsibility Too

By the way, to address the young woman who supports the right to self-defense … thank you. That’s a decent start. But I want her (and others like her) to understand that I don’t carry a gun to hurt people. I carry a gun to protect my loved ones. And if a crazed, evil person decided to attack me with intent to injure or kill, my only thought would be to stop the threat.

To answer the question: How do we keep women safe in a nation that already has more than 300 million guns? We train them. We educate them. We take away the fear and the mystery surrounding the topic and we give them the knowledge and the training they need to make informed decisions. With that accomplished, we won’t have to worry about looking after the women in this nation because these women will keep themselves — and their loved ones — safe.