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“Guns also appear to be the great equalizer among the sexes. Murder rates decline when either more women or more men carry concealed handguns, but the effect is especially pronounced for women. One additional woman carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for women by about 3-4 times more than one additional man carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for men. This occurs because allowing a woman to defend herself with a concealed handgun produces a much larger change in her ability to defend herself than a change created by providing a man with a handgun.”~ More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott

It’s not just about equal pay and equal rights. If you’re petite and have a taste for stilettos, you’re not going to have much luck fighting off a 6’2″ 200 lb attacker. How do we even the odds? John Lott makes a rock hard case as to why all women should have a gun. Living in a blue state, it’s been tough finding other women who have the same attitude of guns that I do. Generally, I found those of my sex have an irrational fear of guns. Having the potential to lethally harm someone seems incongruous to a woman’s “tender nature”.

Talking about guns is like talking politics: you debate for hours and no one’s minds are changed as a result. But I think there’s going to be change, if it hasn’t started already. With the swearing in of President Obama, one of the most liberal presidents in recent history, combined with Sarah Palin rising as a political superstar, and the popularity of reality TV shows like “Son’s of Guns” and “Top Shot,” guns seem less menacing and formidable as they once were.

Recently, there was even an article in the Village Voice entitled, “Guns For Girls Who Need Girlier Guns: A Review.” I was slightly encouraged but offended at the same time because unless you’re a cop or a celebrity, no one’s getting a license to carry a concealed weapon. I was also reminded of the jaw-dropping hypocrisy of gun-control advocate Rosie O’Donnell who applied for a concealed gun permit so her bodyguard could carry a gun while accompanying her children to public school.

Positive stories about guns are scarce in NYC, so I stick to websites like Girl’s Guide to Guns for information on guns particularly for women. One of their articles suggested a “Range Night Out with the Girls” as a get together, and I thought this might be a good way to bond with my sister. So I asked her out on a range date.

LivingSocial offered us an amazing deal with West Side Rifle & Pistol Range. We signed up for a shooting lesson with a classroom safety course, one-on-one supervision, a shooting session with ammo, protective gear, and targets! They had to conduct a background check on each of us before we could make our appointments.

When we arrived in front of the building, it was not what I had expected. It looked like an ordinary office building. And then we saw a sign that led us downstairs. For some reason I was expecting this ominous looking place reeking of gunpowder, but it was hardly that. The place was bustling with activity, and the atmosphere was surprisingly congenial and relaxed. We had a few minutes so we both grabbed some coffee. By the time everyone was in the training room, it was 11 people. They were all women except for the one white guy who was with an Asian girl. It appeared to be a date. They were thrill seekers and were discussing having taken flight lessons together. Most of the women had come because they were looking to try something new.

John, the instructor, got my attention right away. I hope my gulping wasn’t too loud when I saw all his tattoos. He looked like he had stepped out of an episode of Miami Ink. But he knew what he was doing and had the utmost patience when I asked him several times how to load and reload. He seemed a natural as an instructor with his easy going style.

In no time at all, we were putting rounds into our magazines. The women appeared to enjoy this part because it gave us a chance to chat. It turned out one of the women was from France who considered a gun range interesting enough to make a tourist stop. By the third magazine, I had gotten into a rhythm loading the bullets. I was getting more and more lead on my index finger and was observing with child-like curiosity. One of the women was freaking out about the lead on her fingers and shuffled several times to the bathroom to wash her hands. But in conversation, she seemed quite normal otherwise.

They started passing out the protective eye gear and shooting ear muffs. And soon we were off shooting at our targets. Our weapons were Ruger .22 caliber rifles. Eventually, I learned how to reload and unload without assistance. But did have to ask the instructor for help a few times when the bullet got jammed. After a while, it wasn’t about knowing how to shoot, but shooting for accuracy. I have a bad habit of not being able to do things halfway. I knew I had to come back.

I had such a good experience at West Side Rifle & Pistol Range, I would certainly go back. The place demystifies guns and makes ordinary people feel that they can handle firearms. There’s nothing fancy about the place, but the people who run it are friendly and helpful. I found out later that a lot of celebrities use this range to practice before movie shoots. Robert DeNiro filmed one of the scenes here for “Taxi Driver” and has been back several times. A photo of him at the range is prominently displayed in the hallway. The television series “Law & Order” shoots some of their scenes there as well. But even if I don’t run into anyone famous, it’s a comfortable place to come and hang out for a few hours and shoot. After posting photos on online, I had a half a dozen girlfriends who were also interested in going to the range.

I was glad to elicit some interest in guns from my girlfriends with my gun outing. Let’s not forget, the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote wasn’t ratified till 1920, but the 2nd Amendment which was adopted in 1791 was meant for BOTH men and women. We should in no way let there be any infraction of the 2nd Amendment. The citizenry should be invested in the same way that the founders meant it to be: No restrictions.

This blog post has been reposted as a guest blog at girlsguidetoguns.com. Check it out as well as other great articles!

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