In 2017 Women & Guns reported on a historic one-day women’s handgun safety training program organized by Legally Armed in Detroit in which history was made when some 600 ladies participated. This year we can report that the 2018 edition, held May 20, attracted even more first-time shooters: 700, ranging in age from 12 to 87.
Every year since Rick Ector of Legally Armed in Detroit (LAID) first started these one-day free programs seven years ago, attendance has been growing. The first event attracted 50 women, the second 100, and the attendance has multiplied astronomically ever since. Next year, the one-day introductory class designed to teach women the basics of firearm safety and how to shoot will most likely set another record—an attendance of 1,000 is even possible.
Handling such big turnouts of interested firsttime women has become smoother and problem-free each year at Detroit-Metro’s Top Gun Sports Range in Taylor, MI.
The pre-registered “students” are assigned starting times about two hours apart beginning at 9 a.m. and running throughout the day. About 50 students begin by attending the one-hour safety and nomenclature class for semi-auto 9mm handguns before being escorted onto the range where an instructor is assigned to each firing point. At the introductory class they are also taught the basics of range safety, the basic range officer’s commands, how to stand while firing a handgun and other details.
Once on the range, they are individually coached again on how to control, hold and load a 9 mm handgun, before being issued 20 rounds of ammunition.
All the students had to be lawfully able to possess and shoot firearms, and were required to pre-register online.
Participants were made aware that the goal is to only introduce women to guns and allow them to get a sense of what firing a gun is like. The event is not intended to be stand-alone training or sufficient without additional training. Rather, this brief session was to be viewed as a preview of what someone can learn with more complete training and practice.
According to an Ammoland.com report, Ector, a Detroit area gun rights advocate who is an NRA-certified instructor as well as a regular participant at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conferences, was inspired to organize the one-day free shooting lesson for women by a television news report.
“One night while viewing the local news telecast, he saw a story about a woman who was murdered; her body was dumped in a vacant lot.
The story haunted Ector as he pondered what could be done to help women better protect themselves. Hence the free one-day handgun familiarization program.
An event of such magnitude does not take place without the commitment of the 50 qualified firearms safety instructors who donated their services for this year and participated in the pre-event planning. The firearm instructors who helped run this year’s program are a diverse group too numerous to list individually by name, but the organizations they represent were listed by Ammoland.com as the following: the National Rifle Association (NRA), the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), Michigan Gun Owners (MGO), Michigan Open Carry (MOC), National African American Gun Association (NAAGA), and Legally Armed in Detroit (LAID). Many ancillary members also performed useful tasks to keep the event orderly and safe.
Corporate sponsors also played a huge role in the gigantic training event, starting with the Top Gun Range in Taylor, which donated their entire facility for the day and provided coupons for a future free range session should the women want to pursue further training. Aguila Ammunition donated 16,000 rounds of 9mm ammunition and Doug Holloway of ATEi donated the use of his firearms. Finally, the National Shooting Sports Foundation donated some 400 gun locks from the trade association’s continuing ChildSafe program, and NRA-ILA donated 500 canvass tote bags for the participants.https://www.womenandguns.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ammodonorsign.jpg