I wasn’t surprised when the news about the unfortunate shooting of Veronica Rutledge by her two-year old son revealed that the kid had evidently pulled Mom’s gun out of a specially-designed gun tote bag that she had received as a Christmas gift, because those kinds of items have been around for a few years. But I did a double-take earlier this week when I received an email from the NRA pushing the sale of various shooting accessories and one of the items was a “Flashbang” woman’s holster designed to be attached and worn between the two cups of a bra. To quote the ad: “Simply pull up your shirt with one hand and pull down on your pistol with the other – in a matter of seconds you’ve safely deployed your self-defense sidearm.”
The NRA has been pushing the women as shooters for the last few years with the consequent appearance of feminine-styled products like clothing, jewelry, pink gun grips and the like, but sticking a gun into a molded holster and then concealing the holster in the cleavage between a woman’s breasts really takes the cake. And what I love most of all is the gung-ho image of raising the garment up with one hand and yanking out the gun with the other. If this isn’t right out of some early Angelina Jolie action flick that she and Brad would now rather forget, I don’t know what’s what.
The only problem with this marketing plan is that the movement of women into becoming serious shooters hasn’t really caught on. Yea, yea, I know there are a few blogs out there for the chicks with guns and the NRA video channel features some girls who look like they almost made the final cut to do commentaries on Fox News or sideline interviews for the NFL. But if all those women are flocking into gun shops to get all armed up, how come gun sales continue to slide?
Last year the NRA rewrote its training course known as “Personal Protection in the Home.” In fact, the intro says that the course was especially developed by the “women of the NRA.” The course, which I am certified to teach, explains “how to make your home less appealing to professional criminals, avoiding confrontation, and thoroughly covers the practical use of a firearm as a last resort to defend your home and family.” It covers subjects like security systems, telephone and other communications, locks on windows and doors and, of course, some hands-on training if either you or the trainer happens to show up with a gun. There’s even a section on what to do and what not to do after you’ve shot the bad guy coming through the back door; i.e., don’t touch the body, keep your mouth shut when the cops arrive, make sure you have a good lawyer, all the usual stuff. Interesting that there’s nothing in the course about what to do if the bad guy shoots you first.
The truth is that where women are concerned, most if not nearly all the “bad guys” who attack them happen to be their husbands, their ex-husbands or their boyfriends, none of whom are considered to be “professional criminals” by any stretch at all. In fact, women are 15% of the homicide victims each year, most of them killed with a gun, and when a woman does pull out a piece and bangs away, it’s always a husband, a lover or some other type of intimate partner violence that provoked the use of a gun.
Last week Michigan’s Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, vetoed a bill that would have lessened certain safeguards for the issuance of CCW permits where there was a history of domestic abuse. In their usual fashion the NRA supported the bill because any removal of restrictions on gun ownership leads to more guns. The NRA is delusional if it really believes that women will buy into any kind of self-protection that doesn’t start and end with the issue of IPV. And women aren’t going to be persuaded otherwise because they can now use a holster to buckle themselves up.