- by JACOB MANN Frontiersman.com
PALMER — Women in the Mat-Su may feel like the statistics of crime against them is unsettling, so some may want to learn how to better protect themselves. Self-defense and firearm training seem like some of the more prevalent trends with women seen rising across the community. There will be an informational meeting for the Well Armed Woman (TWAW) this Saturday at 10 a.m. Female gun enthusiast, Gail Kozlowski will lead the meeting at Point Blank Firearms training facility with retired Palmer Police chief, Tom Remaley as the guest speaker.
“It creates a community of women who feel safe shooting,” Kozlowski said.
Women entering the meeting will get introduction to the TWAW program and overview of what to expect if they join. The program has a strong emphasis on guns but attempts to encompass more than that. According to Kozlowski, it’s all about empowering the mind of each student while creating a sense of camaraderie among women in a previously male dominated lifestyle. She said that women are the fastest growing demographic for gun purchases and gun training in the nation. Like many women, Kozlowski was initially uncomfortable even holding a gun, let alone shooting one. Before she started her training, she would hold a gun gingerly, like a hot potato, barely holding on with her fingers in the air.
“Is it gonna’ bite me?” she used to say.
After five years of training and guidance under the mentors like Point Blank CEO, Donna Anthony, Kozlowski has since become very comfortable with her collection of firearms. She is now a certified instructor for pistols and self-defense courses and will become the chapter leader of the new TWAW North Mat-Su Valley chapter in Wasilla. Kozlowski said TWAW started as a website offering special gun holsters for women’s hips back in 2012. It has since become a movement of its own and a 501c3 non-profit organization with the goal of stirring confidence in women so they can rely on themselves in dangerous situations. According to Kozlowski, TWAW is in every state except South Dakota. She said it has over 400 chapters and over 11,100 members. There are 8 chapters in Alaska with two more additions on the horizon.
“I think we should never stop training; never stop growing,” Anthony said.
TWAW Shooting Chapters partnered with the Grouse Ridge Shotgun Shooting Club as the host range for their monthly shooting events. Time will be devoted to discussion, education, and the range, practicing safe gun handling skills at each monthly event. The first shoot is scheduled for February 10, 2018 at 10 a.m.
“I remember being so afraid,” Kozlowski said. “Now, I’m not afraid.”
Participants will be required to pay $20 range fees and costs of ammunition. Kozlowski said that having the Remaley as the guest speaker really adds to the credibility of their cause. Anthony felt much the same about seeing so many police husbands encourage their wives to enroll in the program. It cost $50 for an annual membership, which includes discounts on TWAW merchandise, a chapter hat, member kit, and also is used to cover insurance and events. First time visitors do not have to join and it’s free to attend the informational meeting on Saturday. Women interested in learning more can contact Gail Kozlowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit TWAW Shooting Chapters, Inc. website at www.twawshootingchapters.org