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

@madds_g34