What accessory that transcends social standing, weight, and athletic ability to bond girls, women, grandmothers, middle class to socialite- is most likely to be owned in homes across the United States?
If you guessed, “gun” you would be correct!
With recent United States polls and gun owner stats reading a higher than ever 19 million+ firearm owners as women; TV shows, magazines, books, and Legislators are starting to prick up their ears and take notice of this substantial subculture. The TV show GCB had a recent episode where the mother, Annie Potts, was questioned why she has 2 guns by her daughter, and “What is she scared of?” She whips a shotgun from the closet, cocks it, and comically quips, “not a damned thing!”
A popular new book by photographer Lindsay McCrum, “Chicks with Guns,” has raked in reactions bordering on shock to nods of agreement from female sportsman enthusiasts as attempts it break the classic stereotypes from pop culture to show the true diversity in female gun owners. 80 portraits paint very differently colored lives that share this common bond, and captured just as many reasons why. Competition shooters, policewomen, ranch hands, Big game hunters, birders are there as well as heirloom owners with family ties to their shooting heritage.
Independent women who owned for self defense or protection were there, but the focus was on delighting in the reverence and artistry of a well crafted piece. Several funny quotes had the female owners chuckling about being a better shot then the men in their family or ranges. Other shared that holidays and birthdays were a great time to share gifts of new guns.
More pictures, including the above and the cover (L) with caption slideshow can be found here.
This made me smile, as for my birthday or Valentine’s Day my gift is usually a new gun I had my eye on. This is the next one I hope to get for my birthday Cobra Derringer (.38) or the Charter Arms "Lavender Lady" (.38 Special).
The stereotype of the female gun owner just being an offshoot of a family with men gun owners does indeed need a light shone on it, as many of us really enjoy a fine gun and shooting for recreation.
My cousin and I got our first BB guns when we were about 6. We shot cans, Bazooka wrappers, fruit, Dixie cups of Kool-Aid, and hand drawn targets. I wanted to be like my uncle Charles Ray and be a sharp shooter in the army. He baby-sat my sister and I quite a few times and would give us tips about stance, relaxing the shoulders, and using the gun as a natural outreach of your arm. We never shot animals as that was a no-no in our house unless it was killed to eat.
I did grow up with guns around and a parent who attended gun shows while I accompanied him. I remember many, many weekends sitting at the table arranging the other displays amongst his guns. Most were WWI and WWII medals, knives, bayonets, helmets, or officer hats and uniforms. I had a fondness for Lugers. This taught me respect for the gun and what it could do and its part in the shaping history of the United States. The message of it being a thing of destruction, weapon for the elite, or equalizer of the common man- the responsibility bestowed on the head of owner- was never lost on me.
I think this is the most important message to bestow upon our sons and daughters, abstinence or tolerance is not the same as understanding and respect for a firearm as a tool.
"I would like to see every woman know how to handle [firearms] naturally as well as they know how to handle babies."
Annie Oakley (1860-1926)
Mon, April 9, 2012
by Dyann Callahan filed under