“Fear always springs from ignorance”
I am a big supporter of knowledge.
Knowledge of ideas, philosophies, literature, politics. I have tried sewing (and rocked it), knitting (not so much), painting, writing, singing, trumpets, running, roller skating..I don’t know, what else ya got?
So, when I found out there was a NRA women’s handgun course happening, I was all over that.
Because I wasn’t raised with guns. I don’t know the first thing about guns. I am not entirely afraid of guns, but I see them as a very powerful tool that can be used for good, or for bad.
But the worst part about gun ownership is ignorance of guns.
What I do want is to be able to see a gun, identify a gun, know how to load and unload a gun, and make the gun safe.
What I don’t want is to be afraid of a gun, be panicky around a gun, not know how to handle a gun and thus make the gun unsafe.
Knowledge is the key to gun safety. And there is nothing better than being in a room full of women for 5 hours learning about guns together.
I was there to learn more about guns and feel more confident with them, because I am a total noob with guns. Last night my husband was in the garage with me going through gun basics, so I entered the class with some foreknowledge, at least. At first glance, I didn’t really want to touch it. It was like touching a cold, dead fish. Kind of gross, kind of creepy, and I don’t even know where to start with it. Do you pick it up by the tail? By the belly? Do you hold it pointing down? Is it okay to make gross faces when you’re doing it?
So, that was why I was there.
One woman was there because she has recently been widowed and is living alone with her young kids, and she wants to know how to safely protect her home.
Another woman is graduating with a degree in international relations, and will be going to 3rd world countries and wants to know how to defend herself.
Other women were there to brush up on their skills, or to enjoy the sport with their friends.
One young lady in particular had reconnected with her father after her parents divorced, and they found that they both loved shooting; so she was taking the course so she could spend more time with her dad in the shooting range.
It was interesting to see what different things brought these ladies to class. We weren’t looking to become expert shooters, or action movie stars, or badasses…we just wanted to know more about guns, so we were more educated than we previously had been.
At the beginning of class, the instructor asked us who had firearms. Most of us did. Which was interesting…to suddenly be sitting in a room where 90% of the people in the room had a firearm. Then he asked who had active firearms, and 3 people did. So they used that opportunity to show how to safely unload a firearm and make it safe.
Normally, if I suddenly discovered I was next to a person with a loaded firearm, I would feel extremely nervous. What were they doing with a loaded firearm? What was their intention? Should I be nervous…should I leave? The instructor was a retired lieutenant, and he said a large percentage of our area actually had concealed carry permits, which was even more surprising. This is an extremely liberal area; and most of them have concealed carry permits? I suddenly thought of all of the people I live around and see every day…very interesting.
What was most interesting in that moment was not how scared I was with the prospect of suddenly being in a room with a total of 7 loaded firearms…but how happy I felt that I was in a safe place with qualified instructors who were going to teach me what they know. This was not a wild place. This wasn’t boot camp. This was just a room with a gigantic moosehead on the wall, with a retired guy sitting on a stool answering every single question we had, and stepping us through the basics. This was the safest place I could be, and I was suddenly very excited to learn about guns. That reaction was very surprising, and it made the rest of the class much easier to enjoy.
On my way to the class, everything packed up to go!
This is the pistol range. We were shooting at paper plates on cardboard. Easy enough.
I will happily report back that I did astonishingly well for a noob! The picture is a little blurry because the range was in the shade by then, but see the hole in the middle? That’s mine. Nice, consistent grouping in the middle.
I did okay with the 1911s, the Glock 19 and even the 9mm Beretta…but the revolvers’ triggers were so hard to pull, it left little welts on my poor finger.
What I was left with?
Well, a pretty sore finger…but a very confident feeling at the end of the class, and looking forward to some more classes they have coming up!