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Armed And Female

Twelve Million American Women Own Guns, Should You?

"Very readable...Responsibly teaches women how an when to use these weapons."--Cybill Shepherd

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Not an Easy Target

Paxton Quigley's Self-Protection for Women

A nationally recognized authority on personal safety, Paxton Quigley offers a no-nonsense book that shows women how to develop a survival strategy emphasizing the importance of awareness, boundary setting, and resistance.

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New York Magazine: “Rise of the Female Gun Nut”

Thursday, February 7, 2013 @ 11:02 PM
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Rise of the Female Gun Nut

“Rise of the Female Gun Nut”

By MARIN COGAN, Published: February 7, 2013


When Niki Jones, a longtime New Yorker relocated to Austin, Texas, needed a group to practice using her new concealed-carry weapon with, she was shocked that she couldn’t find a woman-friendly league. So in July 2010 she founded Austin Sure Shots, a free, women-only gun club focused on target shooting. Soon their ranks swelled to almost 300; a local firm of current and former military and police firearms instructors took the women under their tutelage, teaching them defensive shooting. After learning to shoot semi-automatic AR-15 style rifles, a dozen of the women decided to make custom versions of the gun. Niki had her AR-15 railed handguard coated white and named the gun “Snow Queen.” Another Sure Shot, Mandy, had hers painted periwinkle and decked out in daisies. Other women had their handguns custom-coated pink and decorated with cupcakes and Hello Kitty.


Spend a few minutes scrolling through the websites of gun dealers and you might be forgiven for thinking America is a nation of Gayle Trotters: women using the language of feminism to demand the “right to choose to defend ourselves,” as the gun-rights activist put it in her Senate testimony last week. Three of the top six U.S. gun-makers — Smith & Wesson, Remington, and Sig Sauer — have pages or products dedicated to the prospective female gun owner, offering smaller lightweight models, shorter trigger pulls, and grips designed for smaller hands. There are rifle cartridges designed to reduce recoil, holsters designed to fit between a woman’s décolletage, and high-end concealed-carry purses. There’s a lot of pink: pink camouflage gun cases and pink Pumpmaster Air Rifles and pink tipped bullets and pink assault rifles.


Trying to determine the exact number of women who own guns in America is, like every other aspect of the gun control debate, controversial. “We don’t have fresh data. We don’t have anything new — that’s a huge problem,” notes journalist Caitlin Kelly, who struggled to find solid, impartial data while researching her book Blown Away: American Women and Guns. Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association would have you believe the number is 30 million; more conservative estimates put the number at 15 million. A 2011 Gallup survey put the number of women who reported personally owning a gun at 23 percent, as opposed to 46 percent of adult men — 10 percent more than they measured two years prior. Nevertheless, according to an aggregate five-year study from Gallup, men are three times more likely than women to own a gun. A recent General Social Survey put the number of women gun owners closer to one in ten.


It’s not an accident that women have become more visible as gun consumers. In the late eighties, after a slump in sales, gun-makers turned their attention to women customers, both to respond to the female gun enthusiasts already among them and to spread into a new market of women who were gun curious. In 1989, Smith & Wesson released a line of LadySmith handguns. The same year, a gun enthusiast named Sonny Jones launched Women and Guns magazine, a journal that reviews gun accessories and celebrates female firearm owners. Pro-gun group Second Amendment Foundation acquired the magazine a few years later; Jones went on to run an NRA program for women’s self-defense called “Refuse to Be a Victim.” Over the years, the NRA has expanded female outreach efforts to include shooting clinics, hunting groups, and wilderness escapes.


“As far as gun manufacturers, I think they are finally beginning to take notice of the sheer number of women shooters that are out there,” Niki Jones, the Sure Shots founder, said in an interview. “Some seem to still be a bit tentative and consider including pink accessories in their product line as ‘catering to women,’ but most are actually really starting to get it.” Several manufacturers, she notes, have supported her league, sending new products for them to test and evaluate, the same way cosmetics manufacturers send product samples to women’s magazines.


Much as feminist writers criticized Trotter last week for insisting that guns were a “great equalizer” making women safer from violent crime, women’s groups and feminists have long been critical of gun culture. In 1992, following public outcry, the editors of Ladies’ Home Journal apologized for running a full page Colt ad depicting a mother tucking her child into bed above two semiautomatic weapons. “Self-protection is more than your right … it’s your responsibility,” the ad read. In the ensuing controversy, a Smith & Wesson official pitched the new efforts as a sign of feminist progress: “Firearms are one of the last bastions of male dominance,” he said. “Today, in 1992, it’s OK for women to be CEOs of companies and go into space as astronauts, so why shouldn’t they own guns?”


The efforts to convince more women to buy guns appalled many in the feminist movement, including Betty Friedan, who called the effort to cast gun ownership as feminist a “horrifying, obscene perversion of feminism” and helped create Women Against Gun Violence, in part to organize women, a majority of whom favor gun control, and to raise awareness about the increased risk of death for women who live in homes with guns, especially the victims of domestic violence.


Nevertheless, the role guns play in male-on-female violence came up last week in Gayle Trotter’s testimony, too. When Senator Sheldon Whitehouse questioned Trotter’s opposition to banning assault rifles, she retorted, “You are a large man, tall man, a tall man … You cannot understand. You are not a woman stuck in her house, not able to defend her children.” A similar debate happened in 1990, when Paxton Quigley, a pro-choice Democrat, emerged on the scene. Quigley said she was against guns until one of her closest friends was raped by a home invader. “I said, this is never going to happen to me. I’m going to learn how to shoot,” she remembers. At the time, none of her friends knew how to use a gun, and all of them discouraged her from learning. “I started doing research and there was a Gallup poll done at the time that said 12 million American women own guns for self-defense and there were no books written on the subject. I said, I’m going to write a book on it.” Accordingly, Quigley published Armed and Female: Twelve Million American Women Own Guns, Should You?, making her the self-appointed poster girl for the empowered lady gun owner. Smith & Wesson took her on as a spokesperson and sent her to tour the country, giving gun-shop talks on self-defense, autograph-signing, and shopping advice for women who wanted to know which gun might work best for them. “I always felt that by learning how to shoot a gun it does give a woman more of a feeling of empowerment,” Quigley told me. She is quick to note, however, that she supports stricter gun control measures.


Today there’s a new wave of Paxton Quigleys connecting and finding audiences online, including forums like the Girl’s Guide to Guns, a publication from L.A.-based gun enthusiast Natalie Foster that features advice on purchasing handguns, a reaction to this summer’s Aurora shooting, and instructions for DIY shotgun shell ornaments; and Packing Pretty, a blog from 25-year-old Gracie McKee, an NRA instructor who wears pink polo shirts and once posted a video demonstrating how to carry a concealed weapon under a little black dress. There are concealed-carry fashion shows and meet-ups like at the first annual A Girl and a Gun National Conference, to be held next month in Waco, Texas, and with sponsorship from Smith & Wesson. No word yet on whether man cards will be passed out or revoked.

Read the article at New York Magazine: The Cut – Rise of the Female Gun Nut

What would you change?

Sunday, December 16, 2012 @ 01:12 PM
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I know that we feel terrible and very sad about what happened in Connecticut last week. The horrific incident has led many of us to question not only why it occurred, but how such senseless violent acts can be stopped.

These are some questions that have been posed by people in the media? Do we need more laws? Do we need better community mental health outreach? Is there too much media violence? Should teachers be trained and have guns in the classroom? Should more people be diagnosed with mental problems and be put on pharmaceutical drugs or are these “legal” drugs the problem that causes violence?

I’d like to know your opinions and feelings on the subject and would appreciate if you would write your opinions.

Be Safe,
Paxton Quigley

Feedback from a reader on the Daily Beast article

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @ 01:08 PM
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Paxton,

Great article in The Daily Beast.

I do “carry” when I am out by myself….especially when I was training for my marathon last Dec……I would be up at 0400!….and when I hike by myself!

Both my husband and I did get concealed weapon permits……took the course over in Scottsdale at the big gun club over there…..and we do shoot our weapons at targets probably not as often as we should.

Thank you for introducing me to “guns” in the first place….I am still a very good shot!


Do American Women Need Guns? Self-Defense Pro Paxton Quigley Says Yes

“Do American Women Need Guns? Self-Defense Pro Paxton Quigley Says Yes”

By ABIGAIL PESTA, Published: July 25, 2012

As the debate over gun control rages in the wake of the Colorado shootings, one self-defense expert tells Abigail Pesta that handguns play an important role in society: they stop rape.

Paxton Quigley remembers the moment she decided to get a gun. It was more than two decades ago, when a female friend in Los Angeles called her late one night with some terrible news. A stranger had broken into her home through a bathroom window. She had called 911, but the police had arrived too late—a half hour after a brutal rape.

“I asked my friend, ‘If you’d had a gun, do you think you could have stopped the attacker?’” Quigley recalls. “She said yes.”

Quigley took a gun course soon after. “I had never shot a gun. I had never touched a gun. I was actually antigun,” says Quigley, who was working in public relations in Los Angeles at the time. “But I thought, ‘This is never going to happen to me.’”…

Read more at The Daily Beast – Women In The World

Paxton Quigley on Al Jazeera TV

Monday, May 21, 2012 @ 04:05 PM
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I was interviewed on Al Jazeera TV on May 15, 2012. The producers of the segment were very interested in the phenomena of the numbers of women, who are learning how to shoot guns for self-defense and or hunting. The first few minutes of the interview give an overview of the American female gun environment and then I’m interviewed. I hope you enjoy it!

Interview with Al Jazeera (MPG)

Approximately 23% of women say they personally own a gun

Friday, February 10, 2012 @ 10:02 AM
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Record Gun sales in 2011

The FBI performed 16.45 million background checks for firearm sales in 2011, shattering the previous year’s record of 14.41 million checks, according to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Background checks do not necessarily lead to gun purchases, but most do, and the record checks and sales are being fueled in part by the growing number of women who are buying firearms, experts said. About 23 percent of adult women last fall said they personally own a gun, which is up from 13 percent in 2005, according to Gallup polls. Although men are twice as likely to own a gun — 46 percent do — their numbers have dipped slightly from 47 percent in 2005, according to polls.

Women’s Self Defense Basics in 8 Minutes

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 @ 01:01 PM
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“We are delighted that Paxton Quigley presented her “Not An Easy Target” seminar to our employees. With daily news reports of increased muggings, gropings, subway robberies and rapes, I felt it was vital and my responsibility to provide the women in my agency access to Paxton Quigley. The response from our staff was overwhelmingly positive and they felt empowered after learning her personal protection safety techniques.”

Maureen Lippe, President
Lippe Taylor Public Relations
New York, New York

The PAX – my specially designed purse for handguns

Friday, November 4, 2011 @ 09:11 AM
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Here is another Reuters New Service story where a law enforcement officer is advising women to legally carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. As we all know, more and more women are heeding this advice and it’s unfortunate that there are still some jurisdictions where women can’t legally carry a concealed weapon. Please check out my specially-designed purse for handguns. It’s called The Pax and is sold by Galco.

…After lunch I went over to the Carlisle Per Se Collection on East 52nd Street where I was interviewing Paxton Quigley about her course in Women’s Self Defense.

Pax is an old friend of mine. I met her thirty years ago when she was an executive with Playboy in L.A. Several years later she developed an interest in guns. I remember when she told me about the idea. I don’t know where she was but she had a boyfriend at the time who lived or worked on a ranch. She was with him one day in a gun store when it occurred to her that women are afraid of guns because they don’t know how to shoot correctly, properly and carefully.

Paxton stalked by DPC. Paxton is wearing one of Carlisle's autumn creations, great looking I have to say.

Paxton grabbed from behind by DPC.

Scream at your attacker!

She wrote a book after that called Not An Easy Target. I think it’s still available. She’s written an updated version because she’s learned a lot more not only about guns but about the matter of women being able to defend themselves when under threat.
It’s a complicated issue and I’m going to write about it more at another time. But yesterday’s event – there were about fifty women from 20-somethings to 60-somethings, many professional – was very successful. And fun. I think many of the guests could have stayed long after the hour was over because everyone was riveted.

Pax is really good at teaching women What To Do (sans guns). But that’s for another Diary.

Paxton Quigley, Carol Ostrow, and Lisa Carnoy.

Iris Rossi and Jeanne Mitchell.

Evelyn Gellman and Carol Cohen.

Judith Agisim and Ellen Easton.

Lauren Ezersky.

Antonia Milonas and Margo Langenberg.

Viva Bhogaita.

Fern Mallis and Sharon Hoge.

Junto Yamada Cusick and Kathleen Kirkwood.

Anita Sarko.

Maggie Norris.

Jean Shafiroff, Judith Agisim, and Alice Judelson.

Victoria Moran, Magda Katz, and Carol Ostrow.

Wendy Moonan and Mickey Ateyeh.

Ann Rapp and DPC.

Magda Katz.

Victoria Moran and Lynette Dallas.

I thought the following information is very interesting for women who are interested in owning or gun or have a gun. This paper was presented at the American Sociological Association on August 20, 2011.

Empowerment, Self-Defense Motivating Factors for Texas Women to Hold Concealed Handgun Licenses

LAS VEGAS — Texas women who hold concealed handgun licenses (CHLs) are motivated to do so by feelings of empowerment and a need for self-defense, according to new research to be presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

A mixture of motivations made the women feel empowered—the thrill of being good shooters, self-defense, and being different from ‘other kinds of women’—and propelled them to want a license,” said Angela Stroud, a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

In the United States, 47 percent of men but only 13 percent of women own a gun. According to gender scholars, the disproportion is due to the association of guns, aggression, and violence with masculinity. Nonetheless, the number of female gun owners is rising.

In Texas, women obtained 190,000 out of the 800,000 CHLs issued between 1995 and 2009. Stroud interviewed 15 Texas women who hold CHLs to discover their motivations for becoming licensed. She found that gender played a central role, with guns reducing the significance of size and strength differences between men and women and decreasing women’s feelings of helplessness.

They were thrilled by their shooting competency because guns were marked as men’s things,” Stroud said. “They developed a sense of confidence in their ability to defend themselves because they were personally rejecting the link between femininity and vulnerability.

For some women—including those who began carrying guns after being victims of a crime—obtaining a CHL leads to an increased fear of crime and sense of vulnerability when unarmed. This may be a result of the CHL licensing process, in which instructors teach their students to be constantly aware of potential threats. According to Stroud, women immersed in CHL culture begin to see carrying a gun as the only way to feel safe. This is a significant drawback to guns as a form of self-defense.

Some of these women locate their strength and empowerment in their firearm,” Stroud said. “When they are unarmed, this has the consequence of increasing their feelings of vulnerability. It is as though their sense of empowerment resides in their gun, not in themselves, limiting the extent to which CHL use ultimately empowers those women who use this form of self-defense.

About the American Sociological Association

The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.

The paper, “Gender, Violence and Concealed Handgun Licensing” will be presented on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 4:30 p.m. PDT in Caesars Palace Las Vegas, at the American Sociological Association’s 106th Annual Meeting.

To obtain a copy of the paper, for more information on other ASA presentations, or for assistance reaching the study’s author, members of the media can contact Daniel Fowler at pubinfo@asanet.org or (202) 527-7885. During the Annual Meeting (Aug. 20-23), ASA’s Public Information Office staff can be reached in the press room, located in the Sorrento Room of Caesars Palace, at (702) 866-1916 or (914) 450-4557 (cell).

For more information about the study, members of the media can also contact Michelle Bryant, Office of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, at mbryant@austin.utexas.edu or (512) 914-4540.