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my new book:
Armed And Female - Taking Control
Now available at Amazon.com:
Armed And Female
Twelve Million American Women Own Guns, Should You?
"In the women's gun movement, Paxton Quigley is the great persuader."--Morley Safer, "60 Minutes"
Not an Easy Target
Paxton Quigley's Self-Protection for Women
My book, Armed & Female was published in 1990. I advocated that women should own guns for self-defense. The American media from Good Morning America to Oprah, to The Wall Street Journal to Glamour Magazine, etc. were shocked by my advocacy—especially since I had been anti-gun.
But, how times have changed. Today, twenty-seven years later, women are the leading buyers of guns. A just-released study by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), reports that in eight states that record gender data for gun permit holders, women account for 36% of the total number of permit holders. These states had data from 2012 to 2016 and they saw a 326% faster increase in permits among women than among men.
Also, in general, concealed handgun permits soared by 1.83 million since last July, setting a record for the fourth consecutive year. That brings the total number of concealed handgun permit holders in the country to 16.3 million with some of the biggest increases occurring among women, as well as Asians and African-Americans.
Of course, I strongly advocate that any woman who is thinking about purchasing a gun should take a professional gun-training course that are provided by local law enforcemt or at private gun clubs.
I’ve recently been told that there’s been an increase in minority women learning how to shoot gun in a number of cities, such as Detroit, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Savannah and Dallas.
“Minority women are definitely increasing in numbers,” Rick Ector, a firearms instructor, said of attendees at his weekly course just outside of Detroit.
“Women overall — in particular, minority women — are looking toward guns to protect themselves against crime,” Ector said. “Women are definitely drivers in the market right now.”
The reasons cited for an increase in gun ownership among minority women are varied. Ector noted an increase in rape cases in the Detroit area and said, “There’s a huge rape problem here in the state of Michigan.” When Ector started as an instructor 10 years ago, he said he typically encountered only one woman in a class of about 15. Now, he said, “women make up half the classes.”
John Lott, of the Crime Prevention Research Center, published data in July showing a general upward trend in the percentage of people with permits to carry a concealed firearm are women in seven states — including Arizona, Florida, Indiana and Louisiana.
In a paper titled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2016,” Lott wrote that, “While whites still hold the vast majority of permits, the number of black permit holders has grown more than twice as quickly as the number of white permit holders.”
“Concealed carry has increased most rapidly among black females,” Lott concluded. “From 2000 to 2015, the rate of growth was 3.81 times faster than among white females.”
This is important news for all of you who believe in the right to defend yourselves. If you have friends who doubt your position, please send them a link to my site so that they can hear about a real live situation.
From Google Alerts:
“Local defense attorney Edward Kroll says, given how the laws are written in Oregon, … because a homeowner has the right to defend themselves in most cases. … So jerry couldn’t pull out a gun and shoot him under Oregon’s laws”
For five years prior to her work in women’s security Paxton Quigley was an executive for Playboy Enterprises, reporting to Christie Hefner, CEO. She is on the Board of Governors of Impact/Model Mugging of LA, and took first place in the Charlton Heston Celebrity Shoot, Women’s Division, 2 years running. Her message of women’s empowerment hb aired on more than 300 TV and radio shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Regis and Kathy Lee, Hard Copy, The NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, Fox and Friends and many others.
Paxton was interviewed and profiled in the WSJ, the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, NYT, Wa Post, and just about every major media outlet there is.
She is the author of 6 books and is here to talk about her latest, Armed & Female: Taking Control.
Some of the issues discussed during the interview are:
- I understand from your first book, which was written in 1989, that you were anti-gun before you decided to write Armed & Female. What made you change your mind?
- Story about women driving alone long distances.
- Talk about your experience holding classes in Los Angeles after the Rodney King Riots in 1993.
- What is the perception of gun ownership by women? How many own guns?
- Over the years, have there been any changes in women’s attitudes toward guns?
- I read that you have taught 7,000 women how to shoot a handgun. Who are these women and what was their motivation to get involved?
- What are the gun laws in NYS and in NYC regarding carrying a concealed weapon?
- I’ve read in the press that people are more likely to be killed by brandishing or trying to shoot an intruder? Is that true?
- You have written two sequels to your original book–the last one being titled “Armed & Female: Taking Control” in 20ll. Why did you do that?
- Experiences in other countries, e.g., pre-war Germany. What happened?
By David Patrick Columbia, New York, Published: February, 2015
PI went to Michael’s to lunch with Pax Quigley who is an old friend from Los Angeles and now lives here (and in Miami, still unable to withdraw from the Sun). Pax and I met over the phone, introduced by a mutual friend in 1980. We talked for the better part of an hour and that was it; we’re still talking. She was an executive with Playboy at the time. Playboy , namely the lifestyle of Hugh Hefner was always interesting conversation around Hollywood. For a lot of reasons having to do with (male) stars and the Bunnies…
By Kathrin Werner, New York, Published: November 9, 2013
Paxton Quigley created a handbag where you can safely carry weapons and accessories; it is black, plain, made of leather and is called “Pax” – like “peace” and as her first name. Quigley does not think too much of all the “pink” products. “They are too girly, I ‘m against it ,” she says. “It makes the weapons look frivolous. Weapons are a serious thing.” Quigley is a guru for the women’s movement and weapons. She looks a little like she was coming from the TV series Dallas: blonde, perfect hair-do, perfect smile, she does not tell her age. She has written four books in which she explains why women should have firearms. And she’s a shooting teacher, having taught over 7000 women how to handle weapons. “I have a small army” she says. For a while she worked as a bodyguard, among the many of them, Yoko Ono.
Quigley hated weapons all her life, she says; she was a democrat, even a relatively left. Some of her old friends have turned away from her since she fights for arming women. Sometimes it deters men from going out with her. But there was this key experience: It was the middle of the night in 1988, when the call came. A good friend was on the phone, in tears, she was brutally raped in her own home. Quigley took the girlfriend to the hospital and asked: If you had had a gun, could you have fought back? Yes, said the friend. “Back then I swore to myself that such a thing will never happen to me,” Quigley said today, ” Weapons prevent rape.” She learns to shoot a gun, buys a gun, the gun-hater becomes a gun advocate.
Piers Morgan, February 21st, 2013
The author of “Armed and Female, Taking Control,” Quigley addressed gun manufacturer marketing campaigns that are geared to a female audience, and the ways in which such advertising impact sales:
“I think they’re [gun manufacturers] marketing that way, but I don’t think women are following in that way,” she told the host.
“In most cases, I would say that women go to a gun store. And even before they go to a gun store, they first learn how to shoot and they’re not shooting pink guns,” said Quigley.
A Gallup poll reported that in 2005, 13 percent of all women owned a gun. That number jumped to 23 percent in 2011. Many women say they are buying guns to protect themselves. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.
The Christian Science Monitor, February 14, 2013
By Allison Terry, Correspondent
Fifteen percent of America’s women own guns – a small but pronounced increase from six years ago, a recent poll found. Personal safety is the motivation, but some argue that a gun at home makes women less safe.
Owning or carrying a gun remains mostly a guy thing, but American women who pack heat – or at least keep a pistol in the nightstand drawer – are often Exhibit A in the case for broad access to firearms for personal protection.
The opposite contention, that having a gun in the house actually makes women less safe, is the rebuttal from those who say the country needs to make guns less accessible.
As Congress, President Obama, and the nation debate the need for stricter gun laws, women’s safety is emerging as a heated and emotional issue – and one that is almost impossible to “prove” on one side or the other. Every time gun rights defenders cite an incident of a young mother defending herself and her children by shooting an intruder, gun control advocates point to a woman fatally shot in a case of domestic violence.
But it would appear that as women themselves do the calculus, a small but growing share is coming down on the side of having a gun. The gun-gravitation is not drastic: 15 percent of women in the US own guns. That, however, is up from 12 percent as recently as 2007, according to a Gallup poll released earlier this month.
Julie Warren, a consultant in Colorado Springs, Colo., keeps a handgun in her house for safety and recreation. After serving in the Air Force, she doesn’t think twice about having it.
“There is peace of mind,” she says, “knowing that you have something you can do to overpower anyone coming through the door.”
Broadly speaking, polls show women are more inclined than men to support new gun control proposals before Congress. Women support stricter gun laws in general – 62 percent compared with 40 percent of men, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Feb. 7. Sixty-eight percent of women support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, versus 44 percent of men, and 65 percent of women favor a limit on high-capacity ammunition magazines, while 46 percent of men do, the poll found. Both women and men overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun buyers, 94 percent and 90 percent, respectively.
But the argument that women need guns for personal safety and home defense resonates with many women – some of whom see government efforts to curtail gun access as a threat to their rights.
“We always hear about a woman’s right to choose, and we are women who want the right to choose how to protect our lives,” says Jenn Coffey, national director of legislative affairs for Second Amendment Sisters, a women’s advocacy group with the motto “self defense is a human right.”
“Gun-control laws degrade our rights, and put more rights in the hands of criminals,” Ms. Coffey adds.
Aside from polls showing an uptick in gun ownership among women, there is other evidence that women are becoming more familiar with firearms.
The National Rifle Association, for one, is conducting more training sessions directed at women. Its Women on Target program, which started in 2000 with 500 participants, had 9,500 attendees in 2011. (The NRA does not release figures for membership.)
For another, Coffey says her local chapter of Second Amendment Sisters, in Andover, N.H., has seen a big upswing in participants at its safety trainings and target practices. The Texas-based organization, founded in 1999, now has more than 10,000 members across the US.
Women also appear to be taking greater part in gun sports. Five million women took part in target shooting in 2011, a 51.5 percent jump from 2001, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Women who hunt increased 41.8 percent in the same period, from 1.8 million to 2.6 million, according to the association’s annual sports participation reports.
But personal safety is the overriding reason women become interested in guns, at least initially, experts agree.
“Women typically own guns for safety reasons, then branch out to target shooting and hunting,” says NRA spokeswoman Stephanie Samford. “Men, on the other hand, get into guns for hunting. Safety is a secondary concern.”
Paxton Quigley, the author of women’s self-defense and gun books, says broad lifestyle changes – women waiting longer to get married, choosing to live alone, and more ofter serving as head of household – coincides with women’s rising interest in guns.
“There is a different attitude now, that women need to take responsibility for their own safety,” she says.
In the past 20 years, Ms. Quigley has taught more than 7,000 women how to use a handgun – women who aren’t necessarily ardent Second Amendment supporters, but ordinary citizens who want to protect themselves.
“I’ve taught women from all walks of life – housewives, doctors, lawyers, and teachers,” she says.
Doubts persist, however, about the degree to which a gun improves personal safety. Having a gun in the home creates more risk, including higher rates of homicide victimization, suicide attempts, and accidental shootings, studies show.
A 2006 Gallup Poll found that 49 percent of women thought having a gun in the house made it more dangerous, while 39 percent thought it made the house safer. According to a recent Monitor/TIPP poll, 46 percent of households have guns.
A gun in the home can put women at higher risk of personal injury, says David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center in Cambridge, Mass.
“There is little evidence that guns are effective when it comes to self-defense,” he says.
In his book “Private Guns, Public Health,” Dr. Hemenway argues that in high-gun states (determined by average levels of household gun ownership), the rates at which women experience gun violence are higher than in low-gun states: 3.5 times higher for gun homicides, 6 times higher for gun suicide, and 7 times higher for accidental death by gun.
Nationwide, 52 percent of homicides in which women were the victims (about 1,700 in 2010) were committed with firearms, according to the Violence Policy Center’s analysis of 2010 FBI homicide data.
“Statistics show that when females are killed, it’s more likely, over 50 percent of the time, to be by a spouse or household member,” said Baltimore Police Chief Jim Johnson during a Senate hearing on gun violence Jan. 30. “A gun in a home where there is a history of domestic violence, statistics show that there is a 500 percent increase of chance that that person will be victimized by gun violence.”
Simone Smith, a marketing director in San Francisco, says she chooses not to rely on a gun for personal safety, but rather focuses on ways to reduce the likelihood of attracting criminals.
“I don’t want to have a loaded gun under my bed,” Ms. Smith says. “I wouldn’t sleep well.”
She has nothing against guns – she grew up in a family that used guns for recreation – but she says there are more effective things women can do for their personal security.
“Being aware of your neighborhood, making sure your curtains are closed, and having someone you can call will make more of a difference than having a gun,” Smith says.
Some gun-rights supporters – including women with guns – say some additional firearm controls, such as an assault-weapons ban and limits on high-capacity magazines, would help to curb gun violence.
“Handguns are more than enough for a woman to protect herself,” says Tom Cheffro, owner of Boston Firearms Training Center.
Amy Forbes, a teacher from Peabody, Mass., took Mr. Cheffro’s firearm safety training course so that she can apply for her firearm’s license and eventually buy a gun – one that would be easy for her to handle.
“You just don’t know what will happen,” Ms. Forbes says. During the hands-on training course, she learned safe handling and shooting techniques, which she says make her feel prepared for owning a weapon and defending herself.
But she supports stricter background checks for all gun sales to try to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental-health issues.
“I would support requiring a doctor’s note before being able to get a gun license, so people have to prove they are mentally stable,” says Forbes.
Atlanta Constitution, February 11, 2013
By Katie Leslie
Sydni Lee has lots of hobbies. She knits. She quilts. She raises money for three-day breast cancer walks. And she shoots guns. At least once a week, the 29-year-old Dahlonega woman visits the Bulls Eye Marksman Gun Club in Cumming. And every other Thursday, she meets with a group called Sisters in Arms for a ladies’ night at the range. There, they try out each other’s pieces, hold target practice and afterward head to a nearby restaurant for margaritas. For Lee, owning and shooting guns isn’t a political stance. She’s not one to dish about gun policy. Shooting is a sport and, more importantly for her, a social outlet. “When you’re not from an area, you’re always looking for a way to meet people,” explains Lee, who moved to Georgia seven years ago. “I’m from Texas, where (guns) are a way of life.”
How many women practice that way of life, owning or regularly shooting guns, is a subject of endless debate. Despite recurring news stories and reports indicating that more women have taken up arms for sport or protection, the evidence is sketchy and in some instances contradictory.
Pro-gun advocates point to surveys that show an increase in the number of women participating in hunting and shooting sports. Anti-gun activists present research suggesting the opposite — that gun ownership has remained flat, if not on the decline, for 30 years.
Definitive numbers simply don’t exist. Federal laws prohibit The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from keeping registries of gun owners. Shop owners don’t know whether a buyer is purchasing a firearm for herself or as a gift. And though Georgians who apply for weapons carry permits indicate on the application whether they are male or female, neither county nor state officials compile gender statistics.
Overall, the number of U.S. households that own guns has declined in the past few decades. In 1977, more than half reported owning a gun; today it’s less than one-third, said Josh Sugarmann, founder and director of the Violence Policy Center. On the other hand, the people who do own guns tend to have more of them.
Tom Smith, who directs a center dedicated to social science research at the University of Chicago, has studied household gun ownership for several decades. He’s found that the number of women who report personally owning a gun hasn’t changed much since 1980. The latest data, from 2010, shows that 10 percent of women report owning a firearm.
In general, women are one-fifth as likely to own a gun as men, he said.
Another study, by researchers at the University of California at Davis, found roughly similar numbers. Based on multiple national surveys, they estimated that 7 percent to 8 percent of women and 26 percent to 30 percent of men own a handgun.
Such numbers tell only part of the story, because so many women have access to guns through other members of their household, said Mary Zeiss Stange, a women’s studies professor at Skidmore College. Even though a woman may not see the weapon as her possession, she may use it, said Stange, who has written books on women and firearms.
“The precise rate of women’s gun use, exclusively by women, is hard to gauge,” said Stange, an avid hunter.
Anecdotal evidence does suggest that more women are arming themselves. The number of women participating in target shooting increased from 3.3 million to 5.1 million between 2001 and 2011, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. The association also found an increase in women who hunt. And several gun shop owners interviewed for this story reported seeing more female customers and women enrolled in gun safety courses than in previous years.
Paxton Quigley, author of “Armed & Female: Taking Control,” said long-term demographic and social trends impel many women toward guns.
“A lot of that has to do with changes in women’s position in society,” said Quigley, who says she has taught more than 7,000 women to shoot. She herself took up arms in the late 1980s after a close friend was sexually assaulted.
With the decline in the marriage rate, more women are living alone, more women are raising children alone and more women are working, she said. The net result: “More and more women are learning how to shoot for self-defense,” she said.
Liza Kirby, who coordinates the Sisters in Arms club at the Cumming range, notes that many married women also want to feel competent to defend themselves. “It’s not the ’50s anymore where the husbands took care of everything,” she said.
For her part, having a gun is part of rural life. Her husband owns rifles for hunting, while she prefers handguns for target practice and home defense, particularly against varmints. Kirby, 56, keeps a Smith & Wesson .38 Special in a kitchen drawer to scare off animals that threaten her chickens.
But Sugarmann, of the Violence Policy Center, isn’t convinced by reports of an increase in female gun ownership. “I would put it this way: I’m highly skeptical,” he said. “I’ve seen this push every five or six years.”
He understands why such stories tend to persist in the culture. Female gun ownership is undoubtedly a sexy topic. “It’s fun, it’s cool, it goes against what people expect,” he said.
The gun industry has also marketed aggressively to women in recent years, in part to offset falling ownership among men, said Smith of the University of Chicago.
“They knew women were underrepresented and now they gave them a rationale: not to shoot the 9-point buck, but the assailant who will break into your house,” he said.
It’s a sales pitch that resonates for many women.
Chloe Morris was staunchly anti-gun until 2008, when her aunt was beaten, tied up and held hostage for ransom with her children in her DeKalb County home. After that, Morris’ aunt and mother began building an arsenal, she said.
But it wasn’t until Morris’ mother bought her a firearm and she attended a gun safety course that she felt comfortable with guns.
“The class changed my life,” said Morris, who soon became a regular at the range and eventually a pistol instructor. She’s now a recruiter for the NRA.
She teaches for free, she said, focusing on helping women become comfortable with guns. She believes women hesitate to own the weapons because of cultural conditioning.
“When you’re little, boys are taught to play with guns and girls are taught to play with Barbie dolls,” said Morris, 30, whose other hobbies include writing a food blog. “Once you know more about safety and you go to class, you know you can use it responsibly.”
Katie Jones Gant said responsibility is exactly why she’s learning to shoot. Gant, of Atlanta, was neutral toward guns until she married a homicide detective. Now the mother of two believes that if her husband keeps guns in the house, she should know how to use them.
Gant, 29, pointed to the recent story of a Loganville mother who shot an intruder as a nightmare scenario in which the good gal won. “As a mom, and really as a woman gun owner, I’m not looking for a fight,” said Gant, a makeup artist by trade. “I don’t want to use my gun on someone and I hope I don’t have to, but if someone puts me in that position or threatens my kids, absolutely.”
Chloe Morris, from Johns Creek, shoots her Glock 17 at the Bulls Eye Marksman Range in Cumming. Sisters in Arms and A Girl and a Gun are women’s shooting groups that regularly hold events at the club.