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Catching Up

A Girl and Her Gun: Catching Up

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Catching Up

-Remember this, well, my son went to court...all charges dismissed and all court fees waived!!

-Months ago I wanted to share this neat story about a woman who emailed me, but I got so crazy busy and just never had a good time to do,so here you go...

I’m currently in my final semester of SUNY Empire State College’s MBA program and my final project is creating a business plan for opening my own gun store. A different kind of store (at least different than other local stores) that would be warm and welcoming especially to women and beginners because the entire experience was so intimidating and overwhelming to me.  I grew up in a home without guns, so for a long time guns to me were scary and made me nervous.  My husband on the other hand grew up with guns and so he wanted to get his pistol permit.  I had no problems what so ever with this but felt strongly that if we were going to have guns in the house that I NEEDED to know how to use them so I took the safety course and applied for my permit.   

I set out to purchase my first pistol…I had NO IDEA what I wanted since I had never handled a gun before and went to a local gun store with my husband.  The store was so…unwelcoming and cluttered.  When we walked in they didn’t acknowledge me and immediately set out talking to my husband (we talked before we went and he suggested a .22 to learn on but the decision was up to me).  I’m a pretty outgoing gal so I was trying to get in on the conversation but it seemed as if they just didn’t know how to “deal” with me.  They were nice when they did speak to me but it seemed like they expected my husband to make my decisions for me (guess they don’t know this girl!).  We had similar experiences at other stores. I left feeling frustrated and went home and called one of my girl friends who is a gun owner told her about my experience and asked her what kind of pistol she thought I should start off with being a beginner…she took so much time with me, answered all of my questions and also suggested I start with a .22 and told me to go back to the store and find the pistol that I felt “fit like a glove”. 

So I went back and after much consideration picked my pistol.  The guy said…”you want that in pink?”  No joke.  First of all just because I’m a girl does not mean that I even remotely like pink…in fact my favorite color is orange.   Perhaps the better question would have been “this pistol comes in an array of colors; what color would you like?”

Fast forward to my MBA program…we had to pick a project that we’d like to work on for 30 weeks!  We could chose an existing business identify a strategic problem and find a solution for it OR we could think of a startup business and work through a business plan and discuss the strategic opportunity I see. I started thinking of what kind of business I may like to run and I could not shake a gun store out of my mind thinking that someday that my husband and I could open up our own gun store and offer a way better overall experience to EVERYONE who walked in the store not just experienced firearm users (I say someday not now I need more experience and money!!  This is just my final project keep that in mind and basically a dream). 

I started asking around if there were any women sales people at local gun stores…nope.  What about women trainers (locally), nope.  So I started asking my women friends about their experiences purchasing their first firearm and everyone had similar stories to mine and one worse...we all went to different stores and each had a common thread no local woman friendly stores.  And with that my project was born. 

So the past 15 weeks I’ve spent doing research about the gun industry, political, economic, legal, environmental, etc. aspects and for the next 15 weeks I’ll be doing the implementation plan…selecting a location, finding out about financing, inventory plans, marketing plans.  Again like I said this is just a project and I honestly don’t think that we could qualify for the financing so really this project is probably not going to come to fruition but let me tell you it has been amazing and eye opening and perhaps something we could do in 5-10 years.  Plus I’m no expert by any means…just yet.  The one thing that is lacking is my training!!  So when I saw your give-a-way I just had to throw my hat into the ring! 

I called all of the local gun stores to ask them for interviews asking questions about the industry their feelings on trends, problems they feel they face, not specifics about the stores and only one would speak to me and that was because I know the treasurer at the “best” local gun club who put in a good word for me and it took a lot of pestering.  It happened to be the place where I bought my gun.  They were nice but I could tell really did not want to deal with me.  They said that they have seen an increase in women but felt it wasn’t due to genuine interest that it was driven by husbands/boyfriends.  Sorry dude, I can make up my own mind thank you very much!  I asked about if they would ever consider a women sales person and was told that they would consider it but they didn’t know any women who would be qualified.  For the icing…before I left one of the guys said, “I think you should probably change your project to opening a jewelry store.”  Again no joke. Even more ammunition for me to keep moving forward with my project, excuse the pun.  I must say all of the “kitchen table” dealers I spoke with were genuinely sweet and were extremely supportive so were the folks at the gun clubs I spoke with. 

If you made it this far I appreciate you reading the email and sorry it was so long but I wanted to share my story!  I’m very excited about the project (as if you couldn’t tell) and have learned so much, such an amazing project like I said seriously eye opening in so many ways and am so glad I decided to do this over an existing company.  I think a more obtainable goal is to become a trainer over the next 5 years but I have to get my own training first and am excited to learn more perhaps after I graduate I can start my own blog about my journey on becoming a gun owner and becoming a certified trainer...   

I found A Girl and Her Gun and The Cornered Cat while doing my research and have been inspired by both of you, so thank you!  Again, sorry for the long email.   I present the first part of my project to the class on Friday morning…wish me luck!- Dana

-I love hearing about women who are thinking about getting involved in the gun community beyond just learning how to defend themselves and I love anytime I read about someone who gets so excited and passionate about their goals!!

-Finally, I was introduced, by email to the wife of Captain William A Griffis USMC .  Mrs. Groundhog had shared her story with me and I was so deeply moved, I asked if I could share it here.  There are so many compelling parts to Sally's story and it is my sincere hope that you take the time to read each link, because you will be better for it.  I am going to dedicate a post entirely to this woman and her story, but I want you all to have a few days to read her story for yourselves and digest it before I offer any words of my own.

**Several of my posts have disappears to include the one I wrote earlier this morning.  Of course, they are posts I had yet to save into word docs.  Anyway, if you are looking for something and it's gone, I am sorry:)


At March 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM , Blogger An Ordinary American said...


We have met the enemy and it is us. . .

Forgot where I read it, but right now, women are THE fast growing firearms-purchasing segment of the U.S. population.

It would MORE than behoove us, as chauvanistic males, to treat women better and take them far more seriously not just in gun stores, but everywhere.

I know the lady above's experience is true because my own (almost 21) adopted daughter went to two different gun stores looking for her carry gun for when she gets her CHL in a couple of months.

She is a petite, gorgeous young lady that I have carefully and thoroughly taught not only HOW to shoot, but WHEN to shoot, WHAT circumstances, etc etc.

The first store treated her like a bimbo, and even made remarks about her "not having much of a chest to worry about in regards to a shooting stance," which infuriated her. (I went to that store and went nuclear on the nimrod who said that.)

The second store was better, but didn't take her seriously until she rented a similar gun, stepped into the range and blew the 9-ring out of the target at 30', all the while handling the gun with the kind of professionalism and confidence that would make a Special Operations weapons instructor tear up with pride.

My my my how their attitudes changed, even though she has no interest in ever setting foot back in the place.

Two stores lost not just one customer, but a customer who would've bought multiple firearms and probably accessories, PLUS told her girlfriends about the place.

She's telling her girlfriends, all right. Telling them not to waste their time there.

When will we learn?


At March 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM , Blogger Old NFO said...

Good post and good points... sigh...

At March 13, 2012 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Chantal said...

For me, my local gun guy is super sweet and gives me no-nonsense advice and makes me feel very at ease but he has a tiny store. Another gun store that sometimes I have to go to because they have more selection of accessories ect.. they have quite a few women working there, and yet the sexism fills the room!! My husband and I went just to get some 9mm ammo and the cashier (woman) says "oh just ammo today, it's because she here right? hahahah!" little did she know the ammo was for the gun that "I" ( in big bold letter) purchase that morning with my reg.gun guy!!! I love your idea , i think it would be fantastic, many women say "oh i just want something small" not realizing what they really are saying is I want something i can feel confident, and like you said "it has to fit you", for your need and your intended purpose... but that is a learning process that is too often rushed.

At March 13, 2012 at 4:58 PM , Blogger RabidAlien said...

Having worked in retail, and being a guy, I'm rather embarrassed whenever I read stories like that. There are good gun stores around, but it seems like the mix is about 50/50. My advice...if they ignore you, ignore them. If they don't want to sell you a gun, then don't spend your money with em. And what a lot of retail places are starting to find out...word-of-mouth plays a VERY big part in advertising. Especially today, with blogs and Facebook and the Internet in general (how much did that one arsewipe's comment hurt gunsamerica?). The gun range we go to, when my brother and his fiance were looking for a gun for her, they stepped back and let him help her once they saw that he knew what he was doing, but stayed close enough to answer questions if needed. And they answered HER questions, not just his. So that's become our range, after I saw em doing that. There's also a gun shop just down the street from our house, we'll buy ammo there (no range, dangit), because when my wife had a question, they focused on her and answered her question. Its all about customer service. A little bit of courtesy will make you or break you.

At March 14, 2012 at 4:11 AM , Blogger Maura said...

I'm glad to hear everything is ok for your son!

At March 14, 2012 at 5:43 AM , Blogger Ruth said...

(I'm glad to hear about your son!)

I love to know approx where in the state she is, I'd happily spend money at her store if she's in range and manages to get it going, and for that matter I could use a new job....I'm still learning about guns, but I've got LOTS of retail and customer service experience!

At March 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

I have had mostly positive experiences, but I know those our your daughter and Dana are too common. It's unfortunate.

At March 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Yeah, some habits are hard to unlearn. I have faith the few goofy guys that remain will get it together:)

At March 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

I agree

At March 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Thank you!

At March 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Thank you!

She is doing her Gun Shop as a project for her degree, but hopefully she will put the plan into action and if she does, believe me I will let everyone know!

At March 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM , Blogger GunDiva said...

Hey, Dana! I'll come work for you! I worked at the only female-friendly gun shop in town. Boss Man is pulling up stakes and moving, so we've now got a BIG hole in our area. There just aren't any female-friendly shops around. Yes, there are shops that employ females, but their attitude seems to be even worse than the men's attitudes at those shops.

At March 20, 2012 at 7:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn’t it be great if someone reads this and makes a change at their store to make women feel more comfortable, welcome, and valued?!

For me getting a gun was a huge deal. I knew nothing about, zero, zilch. I was so proud of myself for taking the pistol safety class, filling out all of the paperwork and asking for references (very official), the icing was being able to pick out my very first gun!! Sweet, this is going to be great!! I thought that when I walked in the store and said I was a newbie that the people behind the counter would offer me helpful hints, tips, encouragement, suggestions on the type of gun I may want to use as a beginner, and even talk about where I could get more training even if they didn’t offer it themselves.

I don’t want anyone to think that I expected balloons and a parade but it would have been so awesome if they acted like they cared. It was such a deflating experience when I feel it should have been an empowering moment for me. I’m really surprised that the gun stores didn’t seem concerned with my repeat business. But I must thank them for giving me such a great idea for my final project…I’ve learned so much!

I’m really looking forward to the semester ending and to graduating so that I can get to the next leg of my journey…training!


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