2021 Second Amendment Foundation's Gun Rights Policy Convention: History of Women & Guns
Cheryl Todd of Gun Freedom Radio: The HISTORY of Women and Guns!
Last year I spoke about the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment that legally allowed women to vote and about how in these past 100 years too many women (and men alike) have used their vote to suppress and infringe on certain parts of our Bill of Rights, including our rights to keep and bear arms.
Even when women could not legally vote, we did legally have guns. Our foremothers used guns to hunt, to protect their land and livestock, and to guard over the safety of their families. Firearms and ammunition in the home were basic household tools – as basic as having, say, a hammer and nails. Yet, here we are in the 21st Century now trying to reclaim that normalcy and those Rights to possess, carry and use these life-saving tools of protection.
Somewhere along the way someone told us that women don’t use tools. And too many of us bought into it. And someone told us that Moms – you know good moms – don’t allow certain kinds of tools into their homes. And a group even commandeered the word – Moms. Moms Demand something...not really specified...but it equates to “guns are bad” and if you are a mom, or a woman, or a decent human being of any kind you will agree with them...or else face being ostracized and cancelled. Can you imagine – all the strong, smart, capable, competent women in our nation, and really the world, being convinced that hammers and nails are too dangerous for we women to handle? And yet, too many of us have bought into THAT idea when it comes to firearms and ammunition. It’s embarrassing, really. And it’s time to reclaim our equal rights to own whatever tools we need to pursue life, liberty and happiness – whether it’s hammers, nails, guns or ammo.
We know names like Annie Oakley (who became a sharpshooter out of the necessity to put food on the table for her family), Ida B Wells (an African-American feminist, investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement – helping to co-found the NAACP), Harriet Tubman (anti-slavery superhero of the Underground Railroad), AND the many (mostly forgotten) women who fought in the American Civil War.
And, then there was Eleanor Roosevelt – the First Lady of four-term Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Eleanor is famous for breaking the mold / of the traditional role played by a First Lady, for having served as First Lady for FOUR terms, and also for personally keeping and bearing arms. I wonder if the people who convinced us that women and guns don’t mix are the same ones who told us that the Second Amendment is somehow a political issue and all Democrats are supposedly against guns?
Ashley Hlebinsky is that woman. Ashley not only was the curator for the Cody Firearms Museum for several years, and is a walking talking history encyclopedia, but she also has made history by testifying to Congress setting the record straight about MIS-NAMED “Ghost Guns” and in doing so has worked to preserve our freedoms.
Other contemporary women who have greatly and positively impacted our Rights to keep and bear arms are Genie Jennings and Peggy Tartaro who wrote and edited the Women and Guns Magazine for many years, helping to tell the stories of women who were making a difference to protect our Rights. Also, Dr. Suzanna Gratia-Hupp whose parents were killed in a horrific mass murder at a Luby’s Cafeteria in TX in the early 90’s. Suzanna followed mis-guided laws leaving her unarmed at the exact moment when HER firearm might have stopped a murderer from killing and wounding nearly 50 people. Suzanna has continued to use her voice to advocate for more life-saving freedoms for all of us.
A woman who is one of my personal heroes is Julianne Versnel – one of our hosts every year for this very event, GRPC. Julianne has spoken at the United Nations, to defend the right of women to protect themselves with firearms. Through instruments such as the wrong-headed Arms Trade Treaty, international gun control is a genuine threat and could ultimately strip individual firearms rights from people here in the United States and indeed all over the world. Julianne has positively impacted the international debate on behalf of all women.
Finally, no conversation about the History of Women and Guns could be complete without mentioning one of my mentors, Dianna Muller, who founded The DC Project: Women for Gun Rights. Dianna saw the need to bring women together to counter the anti-rights groups with the truth that women DO own guns, carry guns, and we value our Rights to do so. Dianna has grown The DC Project into a powerful force that has a State Director in all 50 states and whose members have run for offices, won elections, and have testified in front of both state and federal Legislative bodies on behalf of protecting our Second Amendment Rights.
We stand on the shoulders of giants and we cast their vision into the history of our nation’s future.