As the 140th Annual NRA Meetings & Exhibits in Pittsburgh continues into the weekend, by all accounts increasing numbers of women are becoming shooters—and this trend is generating considerable media controversy.
On April 20, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Eric Heyl published a column entitled “NRA effort to attract women off target,” in which he pooh-poohed the idea that more women are taking up arms these days—though evidence strongly suggests that they are. Discussing a scheduled NRA ladies-only seminar for pistol instructors, Heyl opined, among other snide remarks: “To most women, such a seminar probably wouldn’t have the same appeal as, say, a holistic facial at the day spa.” Read Heyl’s column here.
Not surprisingly, the response from NRA and from women shooters was fast, sharp and critical. Cam Edwards of NRA News broadcast a video interview with shooting bloggers Katie Pavlich of Townhall.com and “Bitter” of Snowflakesinhell.com. Both ladies accused Heyl (who claimed, somewhat disingenuously, that his column was intended as satire) of being “misogynistic,” and Pavlich told Edwards that Heyl “. . . not only doesn’t understand gun owners, he doesn’t understand women.”
Controversial or not, women’s growing prominence in the shooting world is already generating big news in the young year 2011:
• On February 26, longtime Team Glock champion shooter Randi Rogers won High Lady honors at at the IDPA Indoor National Championship in Springfield, Mass.
• The same day, young shooting sensation Tori Nonaka won the High Junior title at the same match.
• Two days later (February 28), Team Glock announced that Nonaka was joining Rogers and Dave Sevigny on Glock’s competition squad.
• Team Smith & Wesson Captain Julie Golob is writing her first book (a how-to for new and current shooters), scheduled to hit the shelves in October. She has also joined the Benelli USA Pro Staff and the newly formed Benelli 3-Gun (rifle, pistol and shotgun) competition team.
• On April 19 at the USPSA Area 6 Championship in Frostproof, Florida, Rogers and Nonaka won again for Team Glock, as Ladies Champion in the Limited Division and Ladies Champion and High Junior in the Production Division, respectively.
Commenting on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column, Julie Golob said, “I know many women who don’t fit Heyl’s stereotyping,” and praised Edwards, Pavlich and “Bitter” for rebutting Heyl so forcefully.
“The best thing women shooters can do is set a good example for others, and support newcomers who want to get involved in the shooting sports,” she added.
Randi Rogers said that the IDPA Indoor National Championship is one of her favorite competitions of the year because it is the only indoor match in which she competes.
“As always, the stages offered a unique set of challenges that kept every competitor on their toes. I think one of my favorite stages required the competitor to stow his magazines in a range bag and later retrieve them for use in the stage. I never thought that carrying a purse would be an advantage, but I sure was able to fish those magazines out quickly!” Randi said.
At the NRA show, Tori Nonaka and Randi Rogers are appearing with Team Captain Dave Sevigny at the Glock display, greeting fans and signing autographs. Julie Golob has appearances scheduled at Smith & Wesson, Safariland and Benelli. For her schedule, click here.