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Guns and Gunslingers: Women Should Own and Study Up On Firearms [OPINION]

Reese Kutzler/Townsquare Media

It’s pretty hard to walk through the Old Frontier Town at Cheyenne Frontier Days and not notice a man in period attire–complete with gun, wool vest, and square cowboy mustache. The man living the early 21st century was Doug Gumm, gunslinger extraordinare and all-around firearm enthusiast.

I’d met him a few times before in passing, so I stopped to talk about a recent firearm experience that had me hot in the ears.

Mere hours before, I had gone over to a local gun shop to drop off my Walther PK380 due to ejection and loading issues. The firearm was brand new, and purchased from them less than a month ago.

The previous weekend, I went to the Laramie County Shooting and Sports Complex to fire it for the first time (I know…why it took me a month to shoot it is beyond me). But each fourth or fifth round, the casing wouldn’t eject from the gun. One time I pulled the trigger, and it clicked….. but no bullet came out. I initially thought it was a misfire, or a squib, but found that the gun hadn’t loaded a bullet into the chamber after the previous fire.

Imagine these things happening routinely throughout the hour and a half I was there. I wanted to launch the darn thing across the room.

I described this to the man helping me at the shop. He took the firearm to a back room to test-fire two shots. Here’s the information I got back from him in the 10 minutes I was there:

  1. The gun fires properly. Nothing is wrong with it.
  2. The problem was the ammunition.
  3. The problem was due to recoil.
  4. The problem was not steadying my wrists.
  5. The problem was not pulling the trigger properly.

I stared at him as I fired back, defending each:

  1. I had experienced this myself.
  2. I used four types of ammunition (3 self-loaded, and 1 factory-loaded).
  3. The recoil on the gun wasn’t bad, and didn’t seem off.
  4. I may be a beginning gun user, but my wrists were steady and I wasn’t jerking my hands around.
  5. I do tend to flip my finger off the trigger quickly, but it wouldn’t explain the not loading issue.
  6. I had two other people fire the weapon to ensure it wasn’t something specific to me. They had the same results.

I finally had to say, “I’m unhappy with the firearm, and would like to have it looked at by the manufacturer” before a woman working at the shop stepped in and said they’d take care of it.

I felt attacked. A man was standing at the counter when I got there, talking to the same guy, and he wasn’t questioned about his issues. I was given the third-degree.

I feel like this experience was a blow to women trying to educate and protect themselves. I knew what I was talking about—and I thought I went about handling the situation well. I didn’t get emotional or upset, and merely offered explanations. But it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Doug listened and didn’t say anything until I finished. Then replied, “It’s great that you have a firearm, and even better that you know how to use it. I’ll look at it and tell you what’s wrong with it anytime if I can.” For reference, Doug has been trained by the government in firearms, served for 25 years in the military, and has his own personal interests in guns. 

No judgement. No hesitation. No nonsense. Must be the Gunslinger way.

I took the basic pistol course, sponsored by the NRA, through the Shooting and Sports Complex. I’ve been to the range to learn more about my firearm and firearms in general. I own two, and feel comfortable using them. One is for protection, and one is more for sport. But I feel safer, as a woman living alone, knowing that I can protect myself or others should I need to.

Why are women being discriminated against with regards to firearms? Shouldn’t we be knowledgable about how to use guns and how to protect ourselves should we need to? Or is this still a thing where the opposite sex want to feel as if they are the hunters, gatherers, and protectors?

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