As part of the Bearing Arms Against Domestic Violence campaign, we’re running a 7-part series on how seven prominent women in the firearms industry, hunting world and Second Amendment advocacy groups handle gun safety in their own homes.
Hear what advice Jana Waller, Julie Golob, Stacy Washington, Natalie Foster, Shaneen Allen, Katie Pavlich and Nikki Goeser give parents considering purchasing or already own firearms.
What is your advice to moms or parents who are considering purchasing a gun for personal protection or home defense?
WALLER: I would definitely recommend taking instruction and safety classes. They are offered in almost every city and community and are actually a lot of fun! I would also encourage them to think of it not as a “hope I never have to use it” but more of a lifestyle. I would encourage them to go to the range often and even sign up for shooting clubs to surround themselves with other people who like to shoot. I have spoken with many women in the past few years who were new into the handgun world and have since joined groups like cowboy action shooting or trap shooting clubs and they’re having a blast…literally!
GOLOB: Owning a firearm is a significant responsibility and it’s an investment! I also think shooting and firearm knowledge is a life skill. Becoming proficient with a firearm greatly benefits both your personal and your family’s safety. A firearm is a tool, one that can save your life, provide food and recreation but it’s not something to neglect. Should you decide to own a gun be truly committed to safe gun handling, practice safe storage and educate your children about guns and true firearm safety.
WASHINGTON: There are so many resources out there for people who are interested in gun ownership. Go to the range. Shoot lots of different guns there. Ask your friends what they shoot. Watch a lot of videos and Cam and Company on NRA News. Take a Civilian Response Armed course. Get to know the guys at your local gun shop and shooting range. Attend ladies nights! They’re fun and you’ll love the feeling of knowing your way around firearms. It’s empowering.
FOSTER: 1) Before you make the purchase, take a safety or training course. It is the most important investment of time and money you could make. You wouldn’t drive a car without taking driver’s ed; don’t shoot a gun without proper training. 2) The safe your store your gun in is just as important as the firearm. Be sure to do you’re online and in-person research at your local gun or outdoor store.
ALLEN: Find a qualified instructor, educate yourself and learn how to safely and properly handle the firearm, learn how to accurately shoot and take the time to learn about the laws regarding the use of that firearm in personal defense. Once that is done, realize that shooting is a perishable skill and commit to continuing education because it’s a lifelong process and responsibility.
PAVLICH: Be sure to research the best options for your home. What will serve you and your family better? A shotgun? A handgun? Do you have a two-story house? One story house? Apartment? How far are the kids’ rooms from yours? I highly recommend taking a training course about how to get to one end of the house from the other while an intruder is inside.
GOESER: Make sure you go to a dealer who has NRA certified trainers available to properly train you on any firearm you are thinking of purchasing. Many dealers have a range and rent guns for you to try out first. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the firearm before you purchase it and you know how to safely handle it. Always keep your primary self-defense firearm loaded and safely accessible in case you need to get to it quickly for self-defense. Depending on how old your child/children are, it is important that they are taught gun safety. An NRA Certified Firearms instructor and/or the “Eddie Eagle Program” can assist you in proper training of your child.