I was 18 when my big sister put a gun in my hand. Granted, this came after she thoroughly explained all the rules of gun safety and made sure I had my eyes and ears on. I don’t remember what the very first gun I fired was, but I know that soon after, I tried the 1911 and absolutely loved it. Before she took me to the range that night, I had never thought of firing a gun. It just never crossed my mind. That was April 6, 2006. I remember her stressing trigger finger discipline, and to this day, it is second-nature to me. I don’t think she’ll ever really be able to understand how much of an effect her instruction has had on my life. Because of her, I got to introduce dozens of others to firearms, many of those being women.
I met so many amazing people and became the co-leader of a women’s firearms group in Massachusetts. I became an instructor myself. It opened up a whole new world for me. Most women are introduced to shooting by their husbands, fathers, boyfriends, brothers, or male friends. I’m so thankful to be able to say that my big sister was my very first instructor.
Once she moved out of state, I found that shooting was a way to feel connected to her despite the miles between us. It was something she loved, and something I loved to do with her. She passed that passion on to me, and I held onto it and wanted it to grow. I started to understand how important it was to take responsibility for my own safety. I started to understand why the Second Amendment is so vital to our individual liberty and the well-being of our nation. I became more confident and welcomed new challenges. I made it a rule to never ever say no when someone offers to let me try a new firearm, no matter how big or intimidating it seemed. I learned that nothing could scare me, because I’m the one in control of the trigger.
I definitely don’t know it all, and every day is a new learning experience for me. Each class is a reminder of how much more I have to learn, but a step in the right direction. Volunteer to go first. Try new things and challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because fear can hold you back and make you miss out on so much. My sister’s passion became my own. If she had kept it to herself, I would have missed out on so much. That’s why it’s so important to me to share my knowledge with others the way she did with me. You never know which doors you may be opening for people by teaching them something new.