Years ago, I volunteered as a hunting safety instructor.

I was one of a few female instructors for the state of Kansas.

Our area coordinator recruited me to help him conduct an unaffiliated non-certification class for women only.

Class purpose was to instruct women with no gun training to handle a gun from their own household.

My role was to be a confident civilian woman competent with a firearm.

Each gun and its ammunition were safety inspected while other instructors introduced basics of gun handling, parts of gun, safe handling commandments.

The ladies began to relax as they learned.

The students confirmed their goal was personal safety and to learn appreciation of firearms.

We progressed to live fire on the range with .22 rifles and eventually to their own guns.

By the end of the first class I realized how blessed I was to teach these women a skill that could save their lives.

I had grown accustomed to students motivated to satisfy a certification requirement for a hunting license.

My own emphasis had become sporting use to the exclusion of personal defense use.

Yet that had been the motivation for my father to teach me to use his shotgun.

I participated in about three or four classes before the AC retired.

Because of mass murder shootings I do not hear much defense of using a firearm for personal defense.

There are many gun ranges in our area; many offer classes for women.

I encourage the readers, especially women, to learn a skill that can empower you to defend your life.

Please do not be dissuaded by discussion of misuse only.

The Second Amendment is the Equal Rights Amendment.

It levels the playing field for a woman when she’s in a fight for her life so she can be a victor, not a victim.

Tomalea Bench

Richmond

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