Last Saturday my gun-club sponsored the first "Woman's Only" CHL class. It was a great success, we had 47 students attend. One of the local sport-shops donated some gift cards and the regional representative for Smith and Wesson kindly donated an brand new Hammerless Air-weight .38 Special for us to give away at a drawing.
The woman that won it was ecstatic, having looked at the same gun earlier at the gun-shop, and deciding that she just couldn't afford it at the time. She took it to the range and qualified with it...and did very well.
I asked one of the local editors to attend and do a writeup on it. To my surprise, she agreed, and ended up taking the class with the others. To be honest, I think at first she was a bit apprehensive, but she really seemed to warm up to the idea as the class progressed.
Yesterday, in the Sunday paper, we made the front page. I'll admit that I was surprised at that, as I figured she would stick in back in the "Human Interest" section.
This first Womans Only class was a trial and error thing, as we didn't really know what to expect. We didn't have any time constraints, and we were devoted to staying as long as we needed to. I was told that that really set some of the newer shooters at ease. So far, we have only got positive comments.
I figure that 47 woman ought to be good for at least another 5000 or so referrals.:image035: We already have plans for another class in the future.
Anyhow, here's the article.
The Courier, Russellville, Ark.
No shrinking violets
story date: June 1, 2008
47 women take self-defense into their own hands, earning the right to carry concealed weapons at a class tailor-made for them
By Mary Kincy Benefield
Damsels in distress?
Tell it to their snub-nosed .38 specials.
Last weekend, 47 area women spent more than eight hours earning certification that will allow them to legally carry concealed weapons in their vehicles and on their persons at a variety of venues, from their local Wal-Mart stores to their children’s playmates, and many places in between.
The class the women attended, offered by the Arkansas River Valley Gun Club, was different from many others in the River Valley offering concealed carry instruction, however, because for this event, there were no boys allowed. Instead, organizers admitted only women to the class, and tailored their presentation to the instructional needs of the ladies present.
Included in that number were everyone from college students to retirees. Some were seasoned markswomen — one even supplied an instructor with a term when he momentarily stumbled — while others admitted they had never before fired a handgun.
Janice Tackett, 68, fell somewhere in the middle, saying although she wasn’t exactly a first-timer, she wasn’t “real experienced” with a handgun.
She said she wanted the permit because her husband was frequently away.
Janice Wyatt, 59, of Conway, along with several other women present at the class, indicated sometimes the certification is contagious.
“Both my in-laws have theirs, so they thought I should have mine,” she explained.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, 25-year-old Britni Green of Little Rock, a college student, said she wanted to become certified because she plans to move to Memphis soon and wants to have the option to carry a weapon for security.
Her friend, Melissa Appleget-Miller, 24, of Dover, a newlywed, said it was her groom who convinced her to attend the class to receive concealed carry certification.
“My husband wanted me to get one. He’s gone to Iraq, so that’s his biggest thing,” she explained at the club’s firing range outside Dardanelle, where attendees gathered early in the afternoon to complete the practical aspects of the certification course, which required them to both fire the weapon with a reasonable degree of accuracy and to successfully load and unload their weapons, which ranged from a WWII-era pistol to state-of-the-art Glock Model 23s.
Included in the lecture portion of the course material was information about self-defense and the law, presented by Arkansas State Police Cpl. Ben Cross, who explained the circumstances under which one person is legally allowed to shoot another.
“You’re always justified under Arkansas state law using one level of force above what’s being employed against you,” he explained.
Cross also answered a multitude of questions from students in the class — including inquiries on topics ranging from whether someone should shoot an aggressor more than once to the circumstances under which someone might be legally justified in defending her property with lethal force (answer: there aren’t any).
The certification course also included instruction in handgun fundamentals — things such as how to load the weapon and how to safely handle it — and ammunition.
Throughout, organizers, who also walked students through the process of submitting their concealed carry licensee paperwork to the Arkansas State Police, emphasized one concept, to the point women in attendance in the class eventually began to anticipate it: safety.
And ultimately, it was that goal, organizers said, that prompted the class in the first place--the hope that the “safe” environment created by an all-women class, where students felt free to ask even the so-called dumb questions, would lead those who earned certification through the club’s classes to be better, safer handgun handlers, who understood both the rights and the responsibilities of the weapons entrusted to them as they walk amidst the rest of us.