Tactical Fairies - Shooters, Bloggers, Entrepreneurs

By The Carry Girl
on September 04, 2019

Tactical Fairies - Shooters, Bloggers, Entrepreneurs

 Hi, we are Gwendolyn and Pamela - two friends who share a passion for shooting, firearms and military events. We are from Austria, where gun's rights are much more restricted than in the US and our blog aims at dispersing some of the rather widespread prejudice against firearms. On our channels, we share our personal experience of tactical shooting courses, home defense, self-defense and first aid classes. 

Please follow our Instagram account @tactical_fairies if you want to see more about about our projects and ventures. 


I have always been drawn to weapons - my great-grandfather was a rifle inventor, so guns kind of run in my bloodline. After high school, I ventured on quite a different path though, spending many years in Asia, where I became a certified yoga instructor and taught workshops and private classes. When I finally returned to Austria I fell in love with an army officer and reconnected with the military lifestyle. I loved attending military events with him and developed a growing passion for firearms. Unfortunately, he decided to leave both the army and me, to pursue a consulting career in another country. Very disappointing to say the least. Another gun guy ambushed my heart - again I was ecstatic about the tactical breeze that he brought into my life and again he left the country - and me! (I sure know how to pick them...). After that break-up, however, I decided that enough was enough and that I wasn't going to depend on boyfriends anymore for a connection to the world of guns but was going to take matters into my very own hands. I decided that even though I was a tiny girl of all but 100 pounds I could still go for the things that I admired and make them part of my own life! 

I took shooting classes and signed up for the "Austrian Armed Forces Girls Camp" - where women spend 3 days in military barracks, following the curriculum and timetable of conscripts. I learned a bunch of amazing things and absolutely loved that camp. And- I was shocked to see that many of my friends have lots of prejudice against both the army and against firearms and were disapproving and unsupportive of my new undertakings. They had no actual contact with firearms, yet were biased and filled with anti-gun arguments.  

Resistance and opposing winds don't stop me, they fuel me, so I decided I was going to pursue my interests even more vigorously and I wasn't only going to talk to my friends about my experiences, but I was going to talk to the online world about my undertakings. I created an Instagram account and a Facebook page and started sharing my gun and military-related adventures. Support showed up shortly afterward - Pamela, who runs her own marketing agency and has been shooting guns herself for a while, joined me and built a website and youtube channel for our platform. We both feel it is important to portray safe and responsible gun handling publicly to counteract the anti-gun bias. Together we have become Team "Tactical Fairies" - petite, vegetarian women, who do yoga and - own guns. We are both vulnerable and fierce, playful and serious, airy-fairy and grounded, and we don’t shy away from wild adventures that our dainty body and tender heart might not seem to be cut out for at first glance.  

We go to the range regularly, we feature shooting courses, self-defense classes, firearms, etc on our blog and aim to empower other women to try out things beyond their comfort zone and learn about self-defense. Being able to protect yourself as a woman has become increasingly important and while going to the shooting range and Krav Maga classes is a lot of fun, it also has a very serious side to it. 

We firmly believe that gun's rights are women's rights and we want to do what we can to protect these rights. 

Throughout the courses, competitions and range days we have met absolutely fantastic people who are so supportive of us and of women in general picking up shooting & self-defense. We are really grateful for our teachers, for everything that we have learned and of course for our own stubborn determination :) 

We would be delighted if you want to check out and subscribe to our social media channels


Gwen and Pamela 







ASHLEY- 2A Warrior, Mamma Bear & Competitive Shootin' BADASS

By The Carry Girl
on August 20, 2019
Hi, my name is Ashley Leatherman, and I'm 28 years old and have been shooting for the past 11 years now. I am a stay at home Mom of two awesome, crazy,  little boys and the wife of an amazing Sheriff’s Deputy. I am a proud supporter of our Law enforcement community and our 2ND Amendment rights! If you would like to continue to follow my story, send me a friend request on Facebook , or follow me on Instagram @Hawtbrass.
I am from the small town of  Milwaukie, located on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. I came from a background with no firearms experience growing up. While dating my boyfriend (now husband) he took me shooting for the very first time at a sporting clays event at the Big Horn Gun Club. I can remember picking up that 12 gauge shotgun and feeling awkward, yelling “PULL!”, then lining up the bead sight with the clay pigeon and as I was getting ready to pull the trigger,  closing my eyes in anticipation of the recoil. Then much to everyone’s surprise, BAM! I hit it!!! That was the best feeling in the world and I have been hooked on shooting ever since!
I ended up moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2009 to be closer to my boyfriend (now husband). After he graduated the Law Enforcement Academy we got engaged and later were married in 2010. Throughout those years he took me shooting several more times. When he decided to take me pistol shooting, he had me start out with a little .22 cal, and I shot it a few times and said, “Well that was fun, but easy, give me the next one!” So, with a surprised sound in his voice, he said, “ok, try this one!”, as he brings me a .9mm.  So again, I shoot it a few times, and say, “ok, that was fun but I want to try the next one". So, he hands me a .40 caliber Glock, I shot it a few times and said, “ I hate that one, but let me try the next big one!”. So, he hands me a 1911, .45 cal. and I absolutely loved it! He had the biggest grin on his face when I told him that, so he called his Step-Dad on the way home and said, “You will never guess which one was her favorite!”. So, for my wedding present, my Father-in-law endlessly searched for the perfect 1911 for me, which was a nickel plated, government issued, pre-series ’70, and he even found me hot pink grips to go with it!
In 2012 we had our first born child, which changed my entire world! I quickly became a protective Mama Bear and the instincts kicked in. I had decided I would do anything to protect my family and the ones I loved. So, feeling the need to protect my family while my husband was away at work, I decided to get my concealed carry license in 2013, and have been carrying a firearm ever since.
After watching my husband and father-in-law shoot in multiple competitions I knew I had to get in on the action and wanted to give it a shot myself.  That’s when I got in contact with my Range Mom & Dad, Jim and Nanci Lambert, who took me under their wing and taught me what I needed to know, to be able to shoot competitively.  In 2015 is when I started shooting competitively in USPSA pistol matches.
Then in the Christmas of 2016, I was surprised by my In-laws with a membership for A Girl & A Gun Women's Shooting League and a shooters slot to attend the AG&AG 3-Gun University held at the NRA Whittington Center. It was an amazing experience, being able to get hands on 3 gun training from other women shooters and instructors.
Over these wonderful years of shooting I began to be approached by other women who also wanted to learn more about shooting sports. In 2018 is when I obtained my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Certification, so that I would be able to train women in a safe and non-judgmental environment, how to shoot a firearm proficiently.
I am currently a sponsored shooter for Firebird Precision, Ergo Grips, A1CustomTac, and NotchGear and am so grateful for all the opportunities they have given me, in being able to do what I love in the shooting community. I’m also the former Facilitator for the Albuquerque Chapter of A Girl & Gun, and I am so grateful for that opportunity, it meant so much to me! Being able to help empower other women was the best feeling in the world! It was exciting to see the ladies who joined  our group, take their own path in the 2nd Amendment  community. We had an amazing group of ladies, and I'm  eternally grateful to our A-team Instructors and coaches as well, who stuck by me through it all.
Thank You,
Ashley Leatherman



By The Carry Girl
on June 14, 2019

I woke up on November 7, 2019 like many people with a post midterm election hangover, and with incredible disappointment and concern regarding the passage of WA I-1639; this initiative is a compilation of failed gun control laws from previous elections all thrown together to capitalize on the Parkland shooting. One of the most concerning pieces of this legislation being the full, unrestricted access to an individual’s health record...including their mental health record, as part of the application for a firearm purchase. 

Like many individuals, I took to social media to share my concerns with friends and followers. However, on this day my words resonated with people in deep and powerful ways that I could not have anticipated. Never could I have imagined the impact my words would have. My story was everywhere. I had a flood of emails, text messages, and social media Direct Messages from domestic violence survivors and rape victims wanting to share their stories and express their gratitude for me as someone who gave voice to a very serious issue that has long been, and continues to be, pushed into the recesses of the gun control debate. Domestic violence victims are constantly used as pawns in the political chess match over the Second Amendment. Advocates of gun control laws have insured that the voices of domestic violence survivors are virtually silenced or ignored when these survivors make an attempt to speak out in support of their constitutionally-protected and natural rights to defend themselves with a firearm. 

So here, I am, 8 months later; my life forever changed as I have chosen to retire early and devote my time to changing the paradigm surrounding domestic violence and gun rights. 

I believe that my words helped so many survivors feel heard and spoken for because I know the struggle firsthand. I am a domestic violence victim. Washington State's broken legal system failed me. This very legal system that was supposed to protect me and prosecute my abuser dropped his felony assault charge to a misdemeanor, allowing him to negotiate a diversion agreement that he took advantage of. He took a job delivering pizzas so that he could be mobile and began stalking me. 

Gun control advocates and legislators use women, and more importantly, domestic violence and assault victims in their efforts to consistently take our constitutional rights from us. These laws present a much more problematic situation in that they not only take away our rights protected within the Constitution; it takes away our ability to defend ourselves. 

While we have been fed lies that so-called "common sense" gun laws are not designed to take away individual's guns, each additional law that is put into place limits more and more of our rights, and some of these laws completely remove an individual's ability to obtain the tools needed protect ourselves. This is something that goes largely unchallenged, and is consistently used as emotional manipulation for justifying more oppressive laws. 

If it were truly about the safety of victims, why are guns the sole focus of the supposed well-meaning "do-gooders"? Why are other weapons not focused on? Because it is not about safety, it is about control. 

So to answer the question “Why do I carry?”

I carry because I choose to never be a victim again. I carry to protect my daughter, and to teach her how to never be a victim. I carry to not only protect other women that may cross my path needing to be defended, I carry as a symbol of expressing my right to choose how I defend myself, and to inspire other women to stand up and never be victims as well.

We, as women, owe it to one another to educate, engage, and inspire each other to take back our power. What better way to do so than embracing our fundamental human right to defend ourselves; oh...and having a nice little Sig 9mm under our skirt. ;)

-Kerry Slone

Founder, We The Female



@stilettosandshotguns    @wethefemale_official

Facebook and YouTube:

 Stilettos and Shotguns 

 We The Female  



Maddie's Story...Student, BADASS Competitor Shooter & 2A Protector

By The Carry Girl
on June 04, 2019


           I grew up in a house with firearms, and I was taught to shoot at a young age.  Shooting in my family was about being able to defend yourself and being prepared.  We always had guns in our house for as long as I can remember, and I loved shooting with my family.  When I started shooting, I never thought I would be where I am today.

          My dad got me into shooting, and I started shooting air guns when I was five years old.  As I got older, I started shooting more and more.  I fell in love with shooting at a young age and felt safe knowing how to defend myself. Since I can’t carry a gun yet, I took TaeKwonDo for several years and earned a blackbelt.

          After seeing many women in competitive shooting, I really wanted to try it.  So when I was twelve, I started practicing to shoot competitively.  In the fall of 2017, I shot my first ever match.  I had so much fun, and couldn’t wait to shoot more.  Last year, I shot seven matches and plan on more this year.  For practice, I shoot several times a week and do exercises like dry-fire at home when I can’t go to the range.    

          Guns have changed my life in more ways than one.  I now know how to defend myself, and use a firearm safely.  Shooting has also boosted my confidence.  Knowing how to defend myself and being a competitive shooter has given me a confidence that I didn’t have before.  Having guns makes me feel safe in knowing that it’s there if I needed it.  I hope I never have to use my gun in self-defense, but I’m prepared if I have to.  Most women think shooting is just for men, but times are different now.  I think more women would like shooting and should learn more about firearms and concealed carry.

          Both of my parents have concealed carried since I was young.  They believe it is important to be able to protect our family.  The police do a fantastic job, putting their lives on the line every day, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time.           

           I think standing up for the second amendment is also very important.  Taking guns away from innocent people isn’t going to stop crime.  Sometimes it is easy to be scared of what can or will happen, but shooting is how I’m prepared.  Shooting and carrying guns is a responsibility we must take to ensure our safety.  Women are often targets, and anything can happen at any time; especially when you least expect it.  We always need to be prepared and aware of our surroundings.

          As women and as Americans we need to stand up for our rights.  Guns are tools that help us exercise the right to defend ourselves, our homes, and our families.  We can’t let that be taken away from us. 

-Maddie, Georgia




Meet Cheryl Todd- 2A Warrior, Mother and Badass Boss Lady!

By The Carry Girl
on May 20, 2019

We are excited to introduce you to Cheryl Todd. Cheryl is a wife, a mom, and a grandma. She is the co-host of Gun Freedom Radio, co-owner of AZFirearms.com, a small mom & pops gun shop in AZ. Cheryl is also the AZ Delegate for The DC Project. She sits on several Boards including the Arizona State Rifle & Pistol Association and the Arizona Citizens Defense League Foundation. While Cheryl Todd is indeed a Carry Girl, and has her Concealed Carry License, she considers herself foremost an Advocate for our Constitutional Rights and an Ambassador for the Firearms Community, and she speaks to the value of her 2nd Amendment Rights through the lens of self-protection and instilling those values in the generations to come. 

Carry Girl: Why you shoot or carry?

Cheryl: I carry because I am a fierce Mama-Bear who was born without fangs and claws, but rather, with the intellect to use tools and tactics of self-defense. I carry because danger walks among us, and uses the element of surprise to gain the upper hand. Therefore, I must be prepared to be my own First Responder, because I am the one who will be immediately responding to what is happening to me. And, I carry to instill in my daughter and granddaughter that we are strong and capable women who value our Constitutional and Civil Rights and exercise these Rights unencumbered, and as free American Citizens, who need no permission from anyone to do so.

 Carry Girl: What has led you to this point in your life? 

Cheryl: For most of my adult life I was out of touch with my Constitutional Rights and the importance of protecting and defending them. Not only with the way I interacted (or didn’t interact at all) with our elected officials, but also with the ways I voted. Once my husband, Danny, and I opened a gun store nearly 15 years ago, I became acutely aware of how politicians use talking points to vilify not only the guns themselves but also the people who own guns and most certainly those of us who sell firearms. 

We would hear utter nonsense being repeated like a metronome every night on the evening news, and in a very short amount of time we began to see our neighbors and friends begin to believe these politicians’ half-truths and outright lies. I found myself in a defensive posture more often than not when someone would happen to ask what my husband and I did for a living. I was constantly trying to un-ring the bell of misinformation over and over again. The good news is that I found that most people were genuinely hungry for the truth and would listen with open minds to what guns actually are (and are not), and why someone as “normal” as my husband and I are would be in the business of selling these “weapons.” That was when I realized that I needed to broaden my sphere of influence, and the idea for Gun Freedom Radio was born. Through the radio-show / podcast format I am able to reach people from all over the globe to help educate, engage and inform them about the rare and beautiful freedoms we have because of the Second Amendment.  

Carry Girl: How do you train?

Cheryl: While I am sure your question has to do with getting out on the shooting range and practicing with my firearms, I want to answer this question a little bit differently. As I mentioned earlier, I do own and carry firearms, and training with them is highly important, however I am foremost an advocate and an ambassador for those of us who value our rights. So, the way that I stay informed, educated, and proficient in those areas is by connecting with experts in their field. With our radio show I am able to interview people from all areas of expertise in the Firearm Industry, in the Constitutional Advocacy Communities, in Competitive Shooting, in Law Enforcement and Personal Protection Training, and in, yes, Politics. Also, as the AZ Delegate for The DC Project I connect with women from all across the United States to keep in touch with the individual concerns of the various cities, counties, and states across the nation. 

The DC Project was founded by Dianna Muller, a retired police officer, who served 22 years with the Tulsa Police Department, and is now the Captain of Team Benelli 3-Gun. The DC Project is 50 women, one from each state, who join together in Washington, DC each summer to spend four days meeting with members of Congress. The DC Project is a nonpartisan initiative to bring women and girls from each state to our Nation’s Capital to dispel common myths and garner support for gun rights. 

Carry Girl: What impact have guns had on your life?   

Cheryl: Guns have had an incredible and positive impact on my life. Because of the tremendously emotional and illogical push from some in this country to dis-arm law-abiding American Citizens I have been made aware in ways I otherwise would not have of the importance of the sacrifice of our Founding Fathers. Also the purpose and need of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the enumerated Amendments therein. By becoming connected to the unique and sometimes difficult past of our nation, I realized the part I play in passing along the baton of liberty and freedom to my daughter and granddaughter. Whatever I do or don’t do in my lifetime will have ripple effects into the future. And I choose to be on the side of those who fought, bled, starved and died to secure the Legacy of the Second Amendment which is the legal protection of our God-given rights to self-protection. 

This is a responsibility I take very seriously, but I might have missed it entirely had I not been in the business of selling the tools of self-defense that American citizens use to save lives 2.5 million times each year. And that women use 200,000 times each year to defend themselves from sexual assault. 

Isn’t it interesting that the Rights-Restrictors who seek to confuse American voters and disarm law-abiding American citizens are the very reason I had to wake up and speak up. I might have stayed disconnected and silent about my Rights, and therefore not have instilled these values in the next generations, had these Rights not been threatened. I believe there is truth in the statement, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone (or endangered). 

The encouraging news is that I am not alone or unique in these things. I have met thousands of other fellow Patriots that I like to call “Ordinary Warriors.” Men and women alike, who see themselves as part of the almost secret society of 2A Warriors. I even began using a hashtag and created a lapel pin to help connect these Patriots. The hashtag is #PolkaDotsAreMyCamo and is a nod to the millions of ordinary everyday warrior patriots, skilled and prepared to be their own First Responder and protect those around them.

To follow Cheryl Todd:

FB: Cheryl_Todd GFR: https://www.facebook.com/CherylToddAZF/

IGram: https://www.instagram.com/cheryltoddgfr/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GunFreedomRadio

I carry because...

By The Carry Girl
on May 10, 2019

Today, this is a sensitive subject in America. Many people have their opinions and they are strong.  However, for me, growing up the way I did it was as useful as any other tool. It was just an object... 
I grew up on an Apache reservation in New Mexico (yes, it is a state). I played in the woods but I also spent my older years in a city where I worked in a historical bookstore about the Southwest. I have seen my culture in a textbook and for myself. One of the most prominent figures for Apaches is Geronimo and guess what; in nearly every picture, he's holding a gun. I recognize I come from a line of strong stoic people and that modern two-dimensional labels of natives just do not fit. I don't understand why people attack this issue. I think, if Geronimo, Lozen, or other Apache figures didn't have guns would I even exist today? It's not barbaric to want the best utilities to hunt or defend yourself. Think about it, that sounds rational but the lines become blurred when people get emotional and I'm not saying there's not a legitimate debate to be had. I'm just giving a perspective most people don't consider. I come home every day and my walls are littered with paintings of Apache warriors scouting with their horses and rifles. I hear about my aunt on the rez who is a professional game hunter shooting a 12-pointer and wishing I could hunt with her. My mom would tell me stories about how the Mescalero Apaches came from a long line of strong matriarchal women and how I would grow up to be the same. Looking back now, I didn't understand how unique my experience is and I'm grateful for it. I realize why Apaches were feared. They were incredibly aware of human nature and did anything to protect children. I want to be the same way. I want the best protection afforded to me because you just don't know and the stats of violence against native women is high enough, why shouldn't I use everything afforded to me? I choose to be prepared as much as possible and if that means having a rifle in my hand or a phone, I want both. 
I also think guns have been a major part of my life now because of my lifestyle as a military spouse. My husband is constantly away for training. Sometimes this means 10 miles up the road in a secluded area with no signal or 3,000 miles away across the ocean. It is one thing to be home alone near your family and everything you know but it is a completely new issue when you just moved and don't know anything about the area. I've been attacked walking my two dogs in an upper-middle-class neighborhood and it was a horrifying experience because I didn't have anything to protect myself with. I thought nothing would ever happen if I was walking a Pit and Doberman mixes but it did! I filed a report with the police letting them know the make, model, year, and that it was a convertible(easily identifiable) and the police more or less told me 'kids will be kids' after telling them two boys around the age 18 threw fireworks at me and kept driving around. I just don't understand it. I would have felt better knowing I could've been armed at the time. These boys looked at me, stopped the car to make sure it hit me and drove slowly to debate hitting me again. Why should I just let the police handle it 40 minutes later to just to say 'wow, crazy teenagers? Have a good day.' Since the latest reminder of my safety, whenever possible I try to keep at least a Taser near me. I am not the type to be anxious or upset by these situations but I cherish my life and the people in it. I love guns because I don't have to worry if I'm as safe as I can possibly be and because of the culture that it's helped my family to uphold. 
I carry because I am an independent person. I carry because it is what my family has done for generations. I carry because my principles are to be as strong as possible.  
I am grateful for a country that respects these principles and accepts diversity. And I see that our world isn't perfect. 

-Rose, Hawaii

Developer & Writer



Mother, Firearm Instructor and Survivor

By The Carry Girl
on April 26, 2019

I am a NRA firearms instructor and an instructor for the “Well Armed Women} in Southern California.

So the number one question I get asked all the time...Why? Why guns?


At a young age, I was attacked…

After my attack I felt ashamed, scared. I didn’t want to feel that way ever again,  So I decided I wanted to learn how to not only protect myself but as a mom protect my four children.  I shot my first gun at the age of 16. It was an AR-15. I was completely hooked!!!!! I got into hunting and I would shoot anything I could get my hands on.  Over the years, I shot more at local ranges, and learned a lot about hunting.

I love being outdoors but teaching others to shoot is my passion. I took some classes with a male instructor but did not feel comfortable. I felt almost intimidated. I knew a lot of women who wanted to shoot but were intimidated by men or just to even walk into a gun store because it’s a “man’s world” I decided I wanted to change that in my community. Times are changing!!! So I wanted to be the voice for those women who wanted to learn how to protect themselves and their families.

A few years ago, I headed to Arizona and took classes with Carrie Lightfoot, the founder of The Well Armed Women, at the amazing Gunsite Academy. I spent the weekend there with 13 other amazing women from all around the country. We had long hours in the classroom and on the range. We all supported each other and a beautiful bond grew within all of us. Since I have been back at home, the support from my community has been truly overwhelming. I am beyond thankful. Doing classes here in my community gives me the pride of knowing I am teaching other women like myself not to ever be a victim. The smiles, the confidence they build while on the range is absolutely amazing to see. I love teaching beginners because I know once they take any of my courses, they will be hooked!

The friendships and bonds I have created through this journey have been what makes what I do so enjoyable. Empowering other women, lifting each other instead of breaking or bashing each other is what’s it’s all about!! Teaching other moms who are terrified of firearms how to safely handle them is one of the best feelings. Knowing I’m giving them the knowledge to protect their loved ones is priceless ...overall the best feeling a mother can have is knowing she herself can protect her children and herself.

-Jackie, Southern California 


"Shooting saved my life."

By The Carry Girl
on April 19, 2019

It isn’t about what we have gone through, it’s about what we learn from those experiences. I grew up in a household full of firearms, and I was taught firearms safety at a young age by my dad. I also grew up in a household with a clinically depressed, alcoholic, possibly schizophrenic mother. As a child, fear and I were close friends. I was around 7 or so when the nightly rituals started. I would fall asleep only to wake up to a drunk mother standing over my bed smiling at me. She would say things like “I know where daddy keeps the guns, and I’ll kill him before he can hurt me.” “The devil sleeps next to you at night because you’re a bad child and have to be taught a lesson.” One thing that I will never forget hearing was “One day you will come home from school to see me laying on your bedroom floor with my wrists slit open to show you what real pain is like.” Eventually, she would leave, and I would muster up enough courage to sneak into my father’s room (they did not share a bedroom) to see if he was still alive. I was so scared to tell him about any of this because I didn’t want to make her angry. 

It got a lot worse from there. She would have bad nights, grab me, throw me into the back of her car, and drive 60mph through our neighborhood drunk and screaming. I used to jump out of the car at stop signs and hide in the trees because I didn’t want to die. I remember barely breathing behind the brush. I would watch her drive back and forth looking for me, taunting me from the window of the car. There were a lot of nights that I spent at our local park.. it is honestly a miracle that something worse didn’t happen to the kid alone outside in the dark.  

I broke a coffee pot once by accident and she chased me through the house with a cast iron pan. I hid in the bathroom and the only thing I could think to do was grab the top cover from the toilet to use as a weapon if she broke the door down. 

I moved out when I was 17 and ended up dating a guy for two years who would rape and emotionally abuse me. I had to testify in court alone to get a PFA order against him when I finally left.  

The point of all of this is to say that I have experienced evil. Not once in my life have I thought that taking guns away from people would stop evil. Shooting saved my life. It gave me a purpose, and it gave me control over my life for the first time. I will carry everywhere, and every day, because a long time ago I made a promise to myself that I will never allow myself to be in a terrible situation ever again. Gun rights are everyone’s rights. The right to self defense is everyone’s right. I would love to see a world where everyone had a way to protect themselves, I would love to see a world where innocent people aren’t taken advantage of.  

Today I speak openly in the firearms community about mental health, rape, and domestic violence. Every single thing that I have ever gone through will be worth it if I can help even one person. Fear is a choice, and Although we will never be able to eliminate evil, we sure as hell can be prepared to face it. 

-Genevieve, PA


"Now that I am a mother I feel..."

By The Carry Girl
on April 12, 2019

 I’ve recently had a baby and I have postpartum anxiety. I used to carry everywhere and now I can’t. I was at the mall one day with my baby and a friend and her baby when the mall went into a lockdown. Normally I wouldn’t be scared because I usually have my Glock on me. But that day was different; my anxiety won’t let me carry. There was an armed robbery across from the mall and the guy fled towards the mall, so the mall went into lockdown. I couldn’t believe I put myself my baby, and friend and her baby in this situation and I had nothing to protect us. I felt like I failed us all. From then on I decided I never wanted to do that to my child, I am his mother and it is my responsibility to protect him. Not mall security, not the police, not another armed citizen, but myself. I need to be that armed citizen for my baby, family and friends. Though I still have trouble with postpartum anxiety, I am trying my best to get over that fear and carry as often as my mind will allow me.

            I have taken Krav Maga, which is an Israeli self-defense class, for those times where I simply can’t carry. There are always going to be times when we legally can’t be armed, like a government building, the airport, a school etc… So I feel it is important to know other ways to defend yourself and family. Whether you carry pepper spray, a tactical pen, or take self-defense, I feel it is important to have those skills.

I carry for my family, friends, and myself.  I believe a woman should learn to protect herself and not have to rely on others to do so for her. If my husband isn’t around, it is my responsibility to protect myself and those around me. Though I live in a small town in Idaho with a low crime rate doesn’t mean we are completely safe, bad things can still happen in small towns. Now that I am a mother I feel a greater responsibility to protect my baby’s life I never want to be in a situation where I would think “if only I had my gun on me” because then it could be too late.

-Alyssa, Idaho

IG @armedalys

From North Philadelphia to Capitol Hill

By The Carry Girl
on April 05, 2019

My journey to becoming a Second Amendment advocate is a journey I never thought I’d take. In the fall of 2016, I was living the life I’d always dreamed of. I was just months away from graduating from college. My parents never went to college, and I was beyond excited to walk across the stage and accept the college degree I’d worked so hard for. 

Temple University was my dream school. I loved nearly everything about the University, from its working-class roots to its North Philadelphia campus. I loved my church, my friends, and my job. I was active on campus, and during my junior year I won Temple University’s Diamond Award, the highest recognition from Student Affairs for leadership, service, and academic achievement. 

One night, however, it all came crashing down. 

What started out as any normal day ended up becoming the worst day of my life. A man I’d been casually dating came to my apartment for what was supposed to be a movie and a beer. 

Instead, he raped me. 

I felt like I was holding my entire life in my hands and was watching it crumble. Trying to hold it all together only made things fall apart more. All my hard work felt like it’d been thrown away. 

Due to the trauma, I dropped out of college during my senior year and moved back home to Virginia. I kept my assault a secret for as long as I could, but the secret soon began to eat away at me. One day, I couldn’t keep it the secret any longer, and disclosed the rape to my Women’s Group at church. There I found the support I so desperately needed. I found the strength to tell my immediate family and closest friends. 

I found myself enraged about the fact that I’d been shooting since elementary school, but various laws prevented me from having my firearm with me at school. While I could have technically had it in my off-campus apartment, I couldn’t bring it with me to campus or any of the places I normally went. Break-ins were common in North Philadelphia, and I wasn’t comfortable leaving a gun in my first-floor apartment all day. 

I desperately wanted to scream “I told you so!” on the top of my lungs but wasn’t sure how to go about telling my story in a way that would invite conversation. 

One thing I did know, however, was that I was tired of keeping the secret. 

I was tired of people asking me why I dropped out of Temple. 

I was tired of being vilified in the media because my opinion was unpopular amongst fellow college students.   

More than anything, I was tired of the anti-gunners leading the public debate on firearms. 

My dear friend, Matthew, encouraged me to put pen to paper in the fall of 2017. I sat down at my kitchen table, and word-vomited my pent-up frustrations into a Google Doc. That op/ed was published in The Washington Examiner the next day. I had never felt so free. I finally got my voice back. 

I knew I wanted my #MeToo story to encourage women to consider their means of self-defense. As much as I wish teaching people about consent was enough to prevent rape, my assault shows that for some people, that’s not enough. I had a rape whistle on my keys, but when I blew the whistle, no one came. 

After my first op/ed, I continued to write. Soon, I was invited to tell my story on various news outlets including CNN and NRA TV

One day in February 2019, I was doing homework and I received a call from a Washington D.C. area code. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered it. On the other end of the phone was the Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, inviting me to testify at the following week’s hearing on H.R. 8 - The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. I was nervous, but I agreed. 

A few days later, I stood in front of the committee and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. I told them about my assault, growing up with guns, and how my gun could have saved me. 

The experience was both nerve wracking and surreal, but I was thankful for the opportunity to share my story. I’d once been so full of shame, but I was learning to use my experience to bring more attention to both sexual violence and the importance of responsible gun ownership. 

Last Sunday I featured on the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer, where they explained my support of concealed carry and why my sexual assault lead me to become a passionate advocate for the right to bear arms. 

I pray none of you have ever gone through what I did, but I want every single one of you to know that you have opportunity to change public opinion on firearms -- one person at a time. If you have friends that fear guns, invite them to the range with you. Offer to teach them gun safety with an unloaded firearm or teach them how to field-strip a handgun. It’s easy to be scared of the things you don’t understand, and when it comes to firearms and firearm safety, a firm grasp on how to safely operate the gun is imperative. 

When debating gun policy, it’s easy to get angry. Safety and self-defense are important topics that many people take personally. Remember that the person on the other side of the aisle is a human being. Kindness goes a long way toward getting people to at least listen. 

I advocate for female gun ownership because I never want another woman to go through what I did. Sexual violence is an epidemic, especially on college campuses where 23.1 percent of female undergraduates are victims of sexual assault during their academic tenure. 

For years, my beliefs about gun ownership were rooted in the hypothetical, but my assault showed me that there are real stories with real people where firearms could have saved them.

-Savannah, Virginia

Twitter/IG @savannahmaesays

Note: If you’ve experienced sexual trauma, you’re not alone. You’re always welcome to message me through social media (DMs are confidential) or you can reach out to the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline by phone at 800.656.4673 or online at https://hotline.rainn.org/online.

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