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Gumdrop Girl
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I just read an article in the LA Times about how American women are picking up firearms in increasing numbers. Moreover, they are starting to organize into clubs and political groups. The article I read was about the Second Amendment Sisters http://www.2asisters.org/ a gun-rights club for women started in 1999 in response to the Million Mom March.

I googled for more information and found other groups: The Liberty Belles http://www.liberty-belles.org/ and a whole directory of pro-gun women's groups at a libertarian (anarchocapitalist?) site http://www.free-market.net/directorybytopic/womenandguns/C19/

Anyway, I wanted to entertain your thoughts on the matter. Do women's gun groups empower women, or do they put women in more danger? Is the gun-owning boy's club territory worth infiltrating? What are your thoughts on women handling firearms in general?

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Personally, I am in favor of women's gun clubs. I'm experienced with firearms, and I wouldn't mind joining the Sisters if I had the time (or a chapter nearby). I deplore violence, but I actually enjoy shooting pieces of paper. The difference between me and some kid packing in West Oakland is that I was taught early on how dangerous guns are, and then when the time was right, I was trained to use them correctly and safely. Safety in education. For me, using a gun is not a political issue nor a gender issue, it's a hobby that i enjoy with my dad.

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UKgirl
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I'm curious, if gun ownership has nothing to with gender for you, and its something that you do with your (male) dad, why are you interested in joining an all female gun group?
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Zanney
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quote:
Originally posted by UKgirl:
I'm curious, if gun ownership has nothing to with gender for you, and its something that you do with your (male) dad, why are you interested in joining an all female gun group?

Although I would never consider joining a gun club, I would suggest that for some women, the appeal of a female-only club is similar to the appeal of female-only gyms and other sporting clubs. They often feel more relaxed without the presence of men, for fear of being judged (especially when you are developing a skill, and sometimes looking like an idiot), and often scantily clothed etc. I would gather that some, too, would see it as a way of developing contacts with other women who share similar interests.

Anyways, just a suggestion why some women might prefer it.


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UKgirl
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Thats a very good point, hadn't thought of that. I guess it could be a problem, though I don't think it would be a very good idea for a man to make fun of a woman's shooting whilst she still had the gun, no matter how bad a shot she was!

I don't think that women's gun organisations are any worse than men's, I don't think we are neccessarily less violent than men, so I don't have a specific problem with women only groups. I guess women could have more reason for wanting a gun (self defence), but my feelings against gun ownership still apply. I think its wrong, but don't think it is MORE wrong for women than men.


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KittenGoddess
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I personally think it's a good idea. Unfortunately, associations like the NRA and the 2nd Amendment Foundation do tend to be (or at least be viewed as) the good ole' boy's club. Women's gun-right's associations may provide women with a forum to state their views.

I'd like to point out though that there is some difference between the primarily activist groups that Gumdrop linked to and the sort of sporting focused groups I believe Zanny is referring to. They may overlap in some points (such as safety education and some activist activities), but the purposes do differ. One can be a member of an activist group without ever having touched a weapon or ever planning on personally touching one. Associations like those Gumdrop linked to primarily focus on legislation concerning 2nd Amendment rights and on safety education. Special interest groups are primarily concerned with the law, whereas sporting groups concern more of the actual physical operation of a weapon, in this case. Women's sporting groups may to some extent be about some women being more comfortable without men present, etc. But they also provide a place for women to exchange tips about the sport or activity in question. Like many sports, women and men do not handle guns exactly the same way (nor is the equipment they use sometimes the same). For example, I had to find a woman who shot skeet in order to figure out how to keep from ending up with a bruised breast from the shotgun. Obviously the men I was shooting with could not tell me how to address this problem (it had never occured to most of them).

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UKgirl
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OK, gumdrop, so if we're talking about political, rather than recreational groups, and you don't see firearms as a gender issue, whats the appeal of these female only groups?
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Gumdrop Girl
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machismo. same reason i'd prefer to be on a women's football team rather than try to break some gender lines in the town football side.

frankly, hanging out in a room full of crass men drinking cheap beer ain't my idea of a good time (ever seen a real gun club meeting?). i can shoot like anyone else. And i can score a goal like anyone else. But i don't want some of the other "team priveleges" if you know what i mean.

dare i be too general, but to me, it seems to be less likely that a women's gun club will include beer-swilling and farting.

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UKgirl
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that is a big generalisation. surely it would be better just to set up non-gender specific groups that don't include drinking and farting?
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Gumdrop Girl
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And that would be ideal. but that doesn't happen often. there was a group like that at uni. Just a bunch of college students going to the range on weekends, but I didn't have time to join them (schoolwork really cuts into fun time).

Seems to me the women's gun club also happen to attract a younger crowd (but on average, not by much). The appeal of the college gun club is that you're with peers of the same age.

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According to the experts, I am some species of badass.


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UKgirl
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it just strikes me that, whilst it would be ok to have a women only gun club for political reasons, its not really fair to exclude men on the basis that they might drink beer and fart. It wouldn't be ok for men to exclude women on the basis that they might be talking about clothes and make-up all the time, so its not really ok the other way around.
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Sunset_Rose
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I don't think that a womens gun club is a good idea.
Nothing to do with gender,I just think that gun ownership is a bad idea.

Personally, I like to remember that guns are a lethal weapon, and should be treated as such. In my opinion, that means No gun ownership, and certainly no gun clubs.

However, I wouldn't exactly say that I have had enough experience to say how guns should be used.
I live in England, and i have never seen, heard, or felt a real gun in my life.
I've never known anyone who had been injured by one, or even owned one. You could argue thats because I'm young, or that I have led a sheltered life, but i am supremely glad that I have never felt that threat, and I'm sure that others feel the same.

Just a thought.


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UKgirl
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Similarly, I have never seen a gun in England (well, a usable one. seen ones in museums and as ornaments). I feel a lot safer this way. I have seen armed police in Italy. Really bizzare, guns in their holsters as they were sitting down to have their coffee. Weirded me out a little.
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KittenGoddess
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quote:
Originally posted by Sunset_Rose:
Personally, I like to remember that guns are a lethal weapon, and should be treated as such.

Just a thought...but let's keep in mind that a gun is just a piece of metal. I know the phrase is overused, but "guns don't kill people, people kill people". Some people are irresponsible, and some people want to break the law or do things that are illegal. However, the number of responsible firearms owners far outweighs the number of irresponsible ones, or people who obtain firearms illegally. You can kill someone with a car, you can kill someone with a rock, you can kill someone with a bow and arrow...but we don't outlaw those things.

I'd also like to point out that generally speaking, people who are part of gun clubs (be they lobbying associations or sporting associations...male or female) are fanatic about firearms safety and responsibility. They are more likely to teach their children about firearms responsibility and to store any weapons they may possess in correct, safe storage areas.

I guess I just feel like there are some meaningful distinctions that need to be drawn between "gun owners" and "criminals" if we are going to continue discussing the gender issues surrounding firearms debates.

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KittenGoddess
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UKgirl
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quote:
Originally posted by KittenGoddess:
"guns don't kill people, people kill people".

But, as Eddie Izzard says, THE GUNS HELP. Its a lot easier to kill someone with a gun. You're less connected to the event, you don't need to be that close, and you can kill a hell of a lot of people very quickly, as various school yard massacres have shown.


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UKgirl
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quote:
Originally posted by KittenGoddess:
I guess I just feel like there are some meaningful distinctions that need to be drawn between "gun owners" and "criminals" if we are going to continue discussing the gender issues surrounding firearms debates.


I just think that its important to note that where Sunset_rose and I are from, guns are an illegal piece of metal. You could argue that cannibis is just a piece of plant, but its an illegal piece of plant. In Britain guns are illegal in all but very few circumstances, and we have very low gun crime. We like it that way.


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Heather
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I'm not going to get too involved in this one, because I will plainly admit I have some rather intense personal bias about guns. But I do have to question comparing guns to cars and the like. Cars and rocks certainly can harm people, but they are not designed for such.

I think in talking about these issues, we're not served by denying that guns are not cars or rocks. Guns are equipment designed EXPRESSLY to cause fear, injure, maim or kill. That is their express purpose by design.

I'm not sure that has to mean they're "evil" and it doesn't have to mean some gun owners cannot be responsible and safe with them, or that they can't be used simply for 'sport." But I'm not comfortable with denying their intended purpose in terms of any discussion about them in a public education forum, for a multitide of reasons.

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Heather Corinna
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UKgirl
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The thing is, you don't have to own your own gun to use it for sport. Whilst I wouldn't want to use guns at all myself, I don't have a problem with target practice for sport. But to do this you don't need to have a gun in your house, or anywhere outside a shooting range. You don't have to buy your own bowling ball, do you?
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LilBlueSmurf
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I agree w/ Sunset_Rose, here. I don't see the use for firearms ... I've never seen one. There isn't one in my house, and there never will be.

While guns don't kill people by themselves, guns DO kill people. We obviously can't control who's hands the guns get into, so the next step is to ban guns altogether.


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Gumdrop Girl
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vroom, i see a big derailment here.

UK folks, please understand the issue isn't whether guns are illegal or not. In America, they are LEGAL. The issue at hand is whether it is a good idea to join a gender segregated gun hobbyist group or not and what are the social and political implications -- if any -- of joining such a group.

and while i'm not hugely in favor of letting everyone run around armed to the teeth all the time (i live in gang territory, folks), I think the people capable of responsibly handling a firearm should be allowed to do so lawfully. And if I can find some other gals to go to the firing range with me, I'm all for it. or if i can find some guys who won't swill beer or fart to go with me, that'd be cool, too.

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Rizzo
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I can understand that such groups might make women feel safer, as though it were a self defence class or something.

But I think it's a really bad idea. First off, I'm not a big fan of guns (see Miz Scarlet's post). Secondly, I think it sounds like a grown-up version of boys against girls. Gender segregation + violence training = a bad mix.


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UKgirl
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quote:
Originally posted by Gumdrop Girl:
Seems to me the women's gun club also happen to attract a younger crowd (but on average, not by much). The appeal of the college gun club is that you're with peers of the same age.

It might be a good idea to get together with a bunch of like minded people and set up a youth gun club. If this isn't a political issue for you it might not be a good idea for you to join politically minded women only clubs, makes it seem like you support something you might not.


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UKgirl
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and, in terms of gender, perhaps if there are gun groups female only gun groups a needed to show that, in spite of things like the million mom march, not all women are anti-gun, and that to think so is sexist.
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Sunset_Rose
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quote:
Originally posted by Gumdrop Girl:
vroom, i see a big derailment here.

UK folks, please understand [b]the issue isn't whether guns are illegal or not. In America, they are LEGAL. The issue at hand is whether it is a good idea to join a gender segregated gun hobbyist group or not and what are the social and political implications -- if any -- of joining such a group.

and while i'm not hugely in favor of letting everyone run around armed to the teeth all the time (i live in gang territory, folks), I think the people capable of responsibly handling a firearm should be allowed to do so lawfully. And if I can find some other gals to go to the firing range with me, I'm all for it. or if i can find some guys who won't swill beer or fart to go with me, that'd be cool, too.

[/B]


Ok, a lot has happened since i last posted here!
Firstly, sorry for derailing the topic, but I felt it was important to keep in mind that guns are a weapon designed for death, and that though they are legal in America, its debatable whether they should be.

Getting back to the topic, I really can't see why belonging to a female gun group is going to change the amount of beer swilling or farting going on..

On a more serious note, it could be construed that the all female group is necessary because the girls can't quite keep up, endorsing a typical sexist stereotype.
Wouldn't joining a mixed gender group and proving that women are perfectly capable of the same level of performance as the men be a more effective action?


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Sunset_Rose:

On a more serious note, it could be construed that the all female group is necessary because the girls can't quite keep up, endorsing a typical sexist stereotype....

Wow. You've just summed up the problem with the main argument in favor of Affirmative Action, all in one sentence. It sure does seem discriminatory to further the belief that one group of people needs a little somethin' special just because they "can't quite keep up," doesn't it? Just a thought...

Guns don't bother me a bit. My parents never had any in the house when I was young, and it wasn't until I was 18 that I ever saw one up close. I can see solid arguments on both sides for why we should and why we shouldn't have them around, but I tend to agree with the former arguments myself.

That being said, I do realize that guns are not things which can be taken lightly. To learn how to use one properly requires both a good deal of instruction and a heavy dose of practice. Without both of those, you're liable to put yourself (and others) in danger, much like you would be doing if you were to hop behind the wheel of a bus without any drivers' training whatsoever. So as far as I'm concerned, if these female-only gun groups are providing forums where training and practice can take place, then more power to 'em.

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Sunset_Rose
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Off topic:

Wasn't quite sure where to post this query, but was the Affirmative action argument the same one you were using against having GLBT schools, BruinDan?


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BruinDan
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(Off topic answer:

Uhhhhhhh...I'm not quite sure what you're talking about, darlin'. I did not post in the GLBT schools thread. )

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BruinDan, "Number Three," PSOM

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Sunset_Rose
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Off topic cringe:

Ok, I'll just go off to hide in embarassment now... sorry bout that!


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