Friday, March 03, 2006

Women and Gun Buying

Kim du Toit reports that more women are getting into the shooting sports than ever before. I did a clothed version of his “happy dance” when I read his post.

The only minor nit I have to pick is when he says that women-in-hunting programs don’t resonate with women, because hunting isn’t hard-wired into us ladies. I’ve seen women take to hunting like ducks to water. Traditionally women are in charge of a family’s food and when hunting is shown to produce superior meat for the family, women really relate to the idea.

I certainly have no nit to pick on Kim’s assertion that women intuitively understand a gun’s role in family protection. After all, we all know what happens if something threatens a mother’s cub.

As a female gun blogger, I’ve discussed women buying guns and I've said that women are the future of gun ownership in America. I’m delighted that women are entering gun stores and taking home the best means of self and family defense yet invented. But, there are roadblocks.

For one thing, some men still don’t want the “little woman” to learn how to shoot a gun. A subset of these men includes those who wear wife-beater tee-shirts and try to live up to their shirt. They may fear the “little woman” will become equal in their relationship, at least in the Samuel L. Colt sense.

Most men aren’t wife beaters and most are beyond the “little woman” crap. For those who aren’t, realize that your “little woman” votes and you don’t know how she votes in that booth. You could lose your gun rights, and other rights, simply because you don’t trust your woman.

Many men do take women out shooting. But, just taking a woman out shooting is not enough for her to become a gunnie. Too many women use only her husband’s or father’s guns. They may have access to guns and may even become proficient, but they have no stake in the Second Amendment. Women must buy a gun because if a woman feels gun banners are trying to take away something that she researched and ultimately bought, look out for a fight.

Still, it’s hard for women to enter a gun store and buy a gun. There’s the phenomenon of walking into a place that's full of men. I’ve done so and felt I’d roamed into an exclusive club where I’m not welcome. I’ve tried to pry information from gun store clerks and sometimes they’ll answer my questions while looking at Bill. What, am I invisible? There’s still a “good ole boy” prejudice that guns aren’t a woman’s concern. We can’t afford that old prejudice any longer.

Gun store owners need more female clerks and need to attract more female customers. I’m not a marketing guru, but there are ways to do it. I’m not talking about pastel curtains and potpourri, but c’mon a store should be clean and well organized. I’m going out on a limb here, but most women see dirt better than most men do.

Gun makers though understand the market. They've marketed to women and made guns in colors other than black or blued steel (don’t get me wrong, I like blued guns). I’ve seen revolvers with metallic-red finishes, semi-autos made with colored polymers, and AR-15s with pink furniture. Now, husbands and fathers may shiver when they see a pink gun, but some women will like them. They’re just as effective against goblins as a traditionally finished gun and if women will buy them, well, that’s fantastic (for the record, I don’t own a pink gun, but I’d still shoot one).

So, the weekend is coming up and it’s time for women to get out and buy a gun. You’ll be glad you did.

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