Getting My Wife to Carry – CCW for Women
by Home Defense Gun staffer Pat
CCW for women can be a tough sell. I always find it strange that there seems to be a societal stigma against armed women. Given our country’s frontier legacy, it is safe to say that women have been using firearms of one kind or another to defend cabins, farms, cattle drives, and wagon trains since before the Nation knew it was destined to become a Nation. We don’t still talk about Arnie Oakley or Pa Barker, do we? Point being there is nothing outrageous about the prospect of American Women packing heat on either side of the law. I believe that this stigmatization is an attempt by the anti-gun faction to pick away at the social acceptability of firearms, one demographic group at a time.
Unfortunately, the notion that guns are for guys has been fostered for a long time. While a man raised to be familiar with firearms is still not out of the ordinary, the number of women that have not been properly exposed is quite large. My wife was one of these women. She grew up in a house with guns and hunting brothers, but in her father’s eyes guns were not a feminine pursuit. Therefore, his daughters went untrained and unfamiliar with weapons. Sadly, I think this has become the norm, and that can make it tough for a husband who wants his wife to be protected even when he isn’t there. The one saving grace for me when I wanted to start introducing my wife to guns was that at least she had grown up knowing they were in the house. At least she wasn’t completely freaked out by the prospect of having them around. I think there are more and more out there all the time that find the thought of guns in the home to be completely foreign and frightening.
So, getting guns into the house didn’t present a problem. Keeping them out of the house would have presented a problem for her, but we didn’t have to go down that road. The next hurdle was to start getting her comfortable with handling and shooting them. This was a very long process, and didn’t really kick in until we had kids that were old enough to be interested in shooting. My oldest daughter led the way on this front, developing into a fine hand gunner, shot gunner, and rifleperson, the rest of my five kids are coming along nicely. Shooting became one of our family activities, and my wife had no choice but to join in or get left behind.
Shooting as a family had some great benefits in training my wife. I had an opportunity to get all the way back to basics without being accused of condescension. Shooting with the kids gave me the chance to start from the start with my wife as well, and I think she has benefited immensely from this experience.
When I started to think in terms of my wife being ready for a CCW permit, I went out and got her a pistol for mother’s day. We went into a new round of training, getting her familiar and proficient with the new weapon. I also started introducing tactics and combat shooting skills into the mix, but still only approached the subject of Concealed Carry only obliquely. Still, I was met with some resistance on the prospect of her actually getting her CCW.
The first argument I encountered was that she didn’t want to carry a gun all the time. This, of course, is an easy objection to overcome. Getting a CCW permit does not obligate you to carry a gun all the time. It does, however, give you that option if circumstances warrant. If you wait until you need a gun to get your permit, you have waited too long. I pointed out to her that we from time to time are obligated to go into towns that are larger than the one we live near, and that the streets can get pretty dark at bight.
Next argument: what about the kids? What about the kids? If we have anything worth defending, it is certainly them. All of our kids have been raised with guns, by a firearms instructor father and a former navy weapons officer grandpa, if it were legal I would let them go armed without reservation. I told my wife if she ever got into a bind she could hand her pistol off to our oldest daughter who would undoubtedly know what to do with it! Kids and guns are not an issue if you teach your kids right (and right from wrong!).
Final objection: I don’t know if I could shoot someone. This is a tough philosophical dilemma and one that comes up often when I am teaching CCW classes, especially from the women. I generally advise my students that if they can get out of a situation for the contents of their wallet, let the wallet go. I have never had enough in my pockets to justify taking even the basest human life, and would not kill over a few dollars. Trouble is, there are a lot of very violent criminals out there these days and your wallet or purse may not buy your safety. This is an even bigger issue for women, wives and daughters. Whether or not you can kill to defend your own life is a very personal moral question, but, as with the last objection, what about the kids?
The “what about the kids” argument finally won her over. Mamma bears have got to defend their cubs, and it can be tough without claws! All the ground work helped me to convince her. Making shooting part of our family’s life, teaching her skills that fostered confidence, all that. I think, though, that what finally did the trick was the discovery that there are a lot of very nice and stylish gun handbags available and that husbands seldom argue about buying items with built in magazine pouches!
What arguments have you heard for and against concealed carry for women. Let us know in the comments.