April 13, 2013
The Times –
Staff Writer Cydney Baron
Women in northeast Oklahoma are locked and loaded.
Kara Gage and Dee Page are co-founders of the Northeast Oklahoma chapter of The Well Armed Woman. Their chapter, called Sweet Shot, is based in Tahlequah.
The Well Armed Woman was founded by Carrie Lightfoot four months ago. Today, there are chapters in 48 states. The organization’s motto says it all: “Where feminine and firearms meet.”
The aim of the group is simple, to educate, equip and empower female gun owners.
The Well Armed Woman website teaches about gun safety, shooting, gear, and ammunition. It provides a gun glossary as well as videos helping women select the right holsters for their body type.
Gage and Page have different backgrounds, but share a passion for firearms.
“I wasn’t raised around guns. I got my concealed carry license about five years ago,” said Gage. “I love to shoot but I never got much of an opportunity to do so. There aren’t many ranges around here.”
“I grew up in a hunting family so I was raised around guns. We went shooting as a family. Target practice was our family time,” said Page. “As I got older and started my own family, that took a back seat for a while. I am married to someone that does hunt and carries guns now, so I started getting back into it.”
Page said she got her concealed carry license because she wanted to understand the legal aspects of owning a gun, and become a more accurate shooter.
Gage said she and her co-founder became National Rifle Association (NRA) certified instructors in March.
“It’s growing like wildfire. The interest in these classes is phenomenal. So many of these ladies have taken their concealed carry and it’s the only time they’ve touched a gun, some have never done it,” said Gage.
The self-proclaimed, ‘women of caliber’ became NRA-certified because they wanted to make sure they were qualified to teach the eager women searching for classes. The organization is about providing women with everything they need to know about gun ownership and is different than the “male dominated camo and ammo” industry.
The duo are certified to teach several NRA-certified courses including first steps pistol orientation, basic pistol shooting, home firearm safety and personal protection inside the home.
“The atmosphere of our classes is just different, it’s women teaching women,” said Gage. “So many women are intimidated by the male instructors. We teach the same curriculum as men, but with a different approach.”
They are women, but that doesn’t mean they are teaching a softer side of firearms.
“Women are the largest number of new gun owners in Oklahoma. We know they are going to own guns, so let’s make sure they are trained right. It’s all about empowerment and education,” said Gage.
“We can still own and shoot powerful guns, get our point across and still be a woman,” said Page. “Sure, there are some great looking guns, but they all get the job done the same way. Somebody on our Facebook recently told us that we are doing women a disservice because we’re softer. We’re not soft, we’re gun owners,” said Page.
Sweet Shot, as a group, creates a non-intimidating atmosphere where women are free to ask what they would otherwise consider dumb questions.
“Women are different from men. Our bodies are different. Our stance is different. Our grip is different. Doesn’t it make sense that our classes would be a little different?” said Page.
Sweet Shot is holding the “Second Sunday Shoot” event at Cedar Creek Range in Locust Grove. All women, 21 years or older, are invited to attend. This is a monthly event that consists of one hour classroom instruction covering safety, choosing the proper firearm, holster selection, fundamentals and more. One hour of range time will be included. The shoot is scheduled for 2 p.m., April 14, at 84 Cedar Creek Estates in Locust Grove.
Gage encourages interested women, who may be intimidated by the world of firearms to come to the shoot. “I’d say 90 percent of women feel that way. There’s no shame in being nervous or afraid. Carelessness and ignorance are the things that cause accidents,” said Gage.
At the end of this course, the instructors said women will have confidence in their ability to protect themselves and their family.
For more information about
the organization visit www.thewellarmedwoman.com.
For information about “Sweet Shot” the Northeast Oklahoma chapter visit their facebook page, “The Well Armed Woman, Northeast OK, Sweet Shot.”
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