It’s not a “new” story; so many others have told similar stories before, had the same experiences and something of an epiphany about guns. But, in this case, it’s a story with momentum and lots of potential for a former anti-gunner to be a leader in the Second Amendment movement.

That’s how it was for Robyn Sandoval, a Texas mom who, by her own admission, was “strongly anti-gun most of my life.”

“I was not a gun owner,” she told Insider Online during a short conversation at the 34th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix last month. “I didn’t believe people should be gun owners.”

That changed in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when she watched news footage of a woman handing her children to a stranger, asking that person to take care of them and she would try to meet them a few days later. Sandoval said at that moment, after years of arguing for gun control, “I had no argument.”

She purchased a handgun. As the mother of three youngsters, she decided, “At the end of the day those three people are my responsibility and I will do whatever it takes to protect them.”

“So, I became a gun owner,” she said. Still, she was worried it would “come out of the safe…so I wanted to learn how not to be afraid of it.” Sandoval went to a local firearms instructor, Julianna Crowder, to learn.

“She was starting a ‘Girls Night Out’ at the local range,” Sandoval recalled. “She was forming a new group, A Girl and A Gun. She helped me learn not to be afraid of it.”

She spent months training, mentoring, competing and becoming an instructor. Today, Sandoval has partnered with Crowder and A Girl and A Gun now has championed a “Girls Night Out” at 192 gun ranges in 48 states. There are about 6,500 members across the country that meet and train, shoot recreationally and even compete.

Fastest-Growing Segment

According to several people who attended the Gun Rights Conference, women are the fastest-growing segment of the shooting public.

For example, roughly 1 in 5 Washington State concealed pistol licenses are held by a woman. Whether that pattern is consistent across the country might require a major study, but Sandoval, a resident of Texas, is determined to see that grow.

They are not only buying handguns, but also rifles and shotguns. They do 3-Gun matches, training events and every autumn they hold the Fall Fest — a two-day multi-gun challenge and a one-day multi-sport challenge in which about 150 competitors gather to compete.

There is a national conference every April, attended by more than 400 women seeking firearms training with some of the best instructors in the country.

“Girls Night Out” events are held every night of the week around the country and there are also breakfast gatherings or afternoon opportunities to accommodate women who may work different shifts, or just not have the same evening hours to participate.

“Every night is a Girls Night Out,” Sandoval said with a smile. “Anytime women want to get out and shoot.”

“It is something different for us,” she added. “A lot of women’s groups get together and talk about training. We really wanted to be on the range. We wanted to get these ladies trigger time and actually help them learn the fundamentals; focus on that and give them additional training.”

The ‘D.C. Project’

You’ve heard of “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.”

Sandoval and her contemporaries are moms with a far different perspective, and every year she is one of 50 women coming from all 50 states to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress.

“I’m the Texas delegate for the D.C. Project,” she explained. “We meet in Washington every July. The mom’s face is very important. I talk a lot about being a mom. The thing I tell members of Congress is that the ‘Moms Demand to Disarm Us’ do not speak for moms like me. And I talk about what moms like me are about and what our values are, and I talk about my kids, and our families, our experiences, where we’re from.”

“It is important for them to hear it and see it,” she said about Congressional representatives.

Sandoval noted that the “Moms Demand Action” group has “stolen the term gun safety,” which she says translates to “no guns — gun absenteeism.”

“I think when we talk about gun safety,” Sandoval observed, “it’s a very different thing. It’s about safe storage, following the rules of gun safety, teaching your kids about the Eddie Eagle program; those are how we think about gun safety.”

The D.C. Project may seem like shouting at a brick wall, but for Sandoval and her colleagues, it’s a mission to show Congress that the Mom’s anti-gun-rights organization is just one voice, and that there are many others on the opposite side.

“I really work to let Congress know those are not the only voices out there,” Sandoval said.

Women & Guns

While Sandoval seems to already have a full plate, there is evidently room for more.

She recently took ownership of Women & Guns, which is now an online-only publication, having been in print for several years and under ownership of the Second Amendment Foundation. The magazine has a faithful readership, with a focus not only on females and firearms, but also on political news.

This woman had a gun

Underscoring the growing interest among women to become gun owners is a story out of Rock Island, a community in eastern Oklahoma, where a hearing-impaired woman fatally shot an intruder in her home.

The Sept. 22 incident occurred at about 5:30 p.m., according to the Associated Press and KFSM News. Authorities say a man identified as Matthew A. Harvey allegedly entered a home owned by the unidentified woman. She reportedly did not know the suspect and told him to leave.

Instead, he went into the kitchen while she rushed to her bedroom and grabbed a shotgun. When Harvey moved toward the woman, she fired, hitting him in the chest.

By no small surprise, authorities told local news agencies that Harvey had “a lengthy criminal history” in Oklahoma and neighboring Arkansas for property and drug-related crimes.

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