Women are a driving force for public opinion and policy in our nation. Women are also America’s fastest-growing segment of firearms owners. We train for safety, we teach firearms education classes, and we enjoy hunting and the outdoors. However, some women are also behind a recent organized march from Fairfax, Virginia, to the NRA Headquarters 18 miles away to protest gun ownership — specifically, the gun-rights protection efforts of the National Rifle Association.
In light of this seeming contradictory information about women and gun ownership, I reached out to Nikki Goeser, a survivor of a deadly crime in a designated “gun-free” zone, where she lost her husband at the hands of a man who had been stalking her every movement. We might naturally assume that she’s against gun ownership. After all, who would be more against guns than a woman whose husband was murdered by “gun violence?” Nikki, however, wants to empower responsible gun owners and do away with these so-called “gun-free zones” that she believes contributed to the circumstances that led to her husband’s murder.
Nikki is the author of “Denied a Chance: How Gun Control Helped a Stalker Murder My Husband.” She is also the 2012 recipient of the NRA’s Sybil Ludington Women’s Freedom Award for her dedication in educating the public, media and legislators on the importance of the Second Amendment.
Cheryl Todd: You are a passionate defender of our constitutional freedoms. Those freedoms were denied to you on a terrible night back in 2009, when a man who was stalking you murdered your husband—with a gun—in a designated “gun-free zone.” You wrote about this experience in your book, and then you set out to change the laws that had left you and your husband defenseless. Tell us about the measures you took.
Nikki: I contacted the Senate sponsor of the Tennessee Restaurant Carry Bill, State Senator Doug Jackson, soon after I lost my husband, Ben. I relayed to the senator what I had gone through, and expressed my support for my right to carry. He was kind enough to share my story and have me present with him on the Senate floor before the vote. The bill was passed that day; it is now law. I also testified before the Senate and House in Ohio in favor of that state’s own restaurant carry bill. This bill also passed and became law. I provided written testimony, which was shared and taken into consideration in the North Carolina Legislature. I have continued to travel around the nation, educating the public on the importance of our Second Amendment and the dangers of gun-free zones.
Cheryl Todd: You have continued your efforts to protect and restore our constitutional freedoms by joining with a group of women from all over America called the D.C. Project. You were recently in Washington, D.C., as the Tennessee delegate of this effort that brings 50 women, one from each state, together annually in our nation’s capital. Please tell us about your experience.
Nikki: I was able to share my experience with legislators and congressional staff from different parts of the country, including my home state of Tennessee. It was a great experience working with so many women who truly believe in the basic human right of self-defense and educating others alongside them.
Cheryl Todd: “National reciprocity” is a term that we are hearing more and more about. Can you help us better understand what this is, and how it will help citizens regain some very important freedoms?
Nikki: National reciprocity is an important issue to me. I am trusted by the state of Tennessee and other reciprocal states to carry my gun for self-defense. However, I recently traveled to California and Washington, D.C., and unfortunately, I am not trusted to carry there. I was disarmed by their restrictive laws and left vulnerable in the very places where I was going to talk about gun rights and the dangers of gun-free zones. I do occasionally travel to the “belly of the beast” to help change laws, but knowing I am defenseless there has an impact on me, both mentally and emotionally.
The Second Amendment clearly states that our personal rights to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, yet all over this nation those rights are infringed to the detriment of our liberty and our safety. In that vein, while I am not a fan of being required to have handgun carry permits, if we do have them, they should be treated like a driver’s license and recognized in every state.
Cheryl Todd: As someone who has been a victim of “common sense” gun laws, what is your take on the push for “universal” background checks?
Nikki: The FBI’s NICS background check system is very flawed now. Many innocent people are flagged and denied their Second Amendment rights because of these flaws. We cannot talk intelligently about a “universal” background check system while the current system is so fallible, and until citizens have a real way for innocent people to be cleared quickly without having to spend their life’s savings on expensive attorneys and years of waiting. Evil people break laws every single day, and will find ways around any system, “universal” or otherwise. Let’s start making sure good people are not mistakenly prevented from protecting themselves and their loved ones.
Cheryl Todd: Thank you for your time today, Nikki. As we close out, what would you like to be sure our readers take away from reading this?
Nikki: Not all victims of violent crime hate guns. Many of us have been just as traumatized as the gun-control proponent victims, but we understand a gun is a tool that can be used to save innocent lives.
Read an interview of Nikki Goeser after her book was published.
Cheryl Todd, owner of AZFirearms.com and cohost of Gun Freedom Radio, has more than 30 years of experience in the firearms industry. She holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, which allows her to bring a unique voice to the gun world. View all posts by Cheryl Todd