For Carrie Lightfoot, guns were never important – until she was involved in an abusive relationship. Fearing for her life and tired of being a victim, she left her boyfriend and purchased a gun for protection.
That was in 2010, and Lightfoot has not looked back. Since then, she founded the Well-Armed Woman, a group dedicated to helping women learn about firearms and empower them to defend themselves.
Groups like the Well-Armed Woman are appearing with surprising frequency across the nation, according to Ad Age, and are changing the way we buy firearms. Since more women than ever before are interested in firearms and taking steps to secure them, manufacturers and retailers have taken notice and begun producing ad campaigns, products and firearms lines aimed at female buyers.
Given that gun buyers have traditionally been men, marketing to women via more female friendly firearms and empowering education materials and role models is opening up entirely new markets for gun brands.
Deb Ferns, co-founder of a female-focused traveling firearms school says, “More women are working, more women are single, more women are in their own homes and they have a very unique interest in self-protection that they never had before,” making gun ownership more appealing than ever.
For the NRA, Dana Loesch is at the forefront of the women’s movement and the demystification of firearms for half of the nations. Conservative talk show host, fierce 2nd amendment advocate and vocal critic of restrictive gun laws, Loesch is a visible proponent of women’s rights to bear arms.
“Your life expectancy just got shorter, because there’s a very good chance your next target will be armed, trained and ready to exercise her right to choose her life over yours,” she says. “This is what real empowerment looks like.”
In addition to the personalities, grass roots groups and business initiatives above, the NRA has begun actively advertising for and educating women on firearms, offering hunts, competitions and other events just for female participants. .
As women begin to become more active gun owners and purchasers, they face the same obstruction by those who seek to limit their rights. The field is murky, though, because many of the same groups who wish to prevent women from buying guns also advocate self-empowerment and women’s rights. The idea that women should not be able to protect themselves legally with a firearm, but should be somehow magically protected from harm is puzzling and self-contradictory, leading many groups to focus on safety and male ownership instead.
As the number of female gun owners grows, though, gun “safety” groups that seek to restrict ownership will have to take notice and choose a side – do they agree with women’s right to choose (to own guns) or with restrictive policies that take away rights?
As more and more guns are sold to women, expect this debate to continue to heat up and draw attention from the media.
~ Firearm Daily