Met Vermin Supreme

Well tonight there was an adventure to beat the Monday blues!

After a long day of work, finally going to the gym, eating at our favorite Sushi hubby and I were beat. He headed down to his man cave in the basement. Suddenly, he calls out “Honey! GET DRESSED!” (I was in work out clothes).  Me: “What?!” Husband: “Vermin Supreme is ON Campus!” Me: “AHHHHH Grab my socks! Grab the camera!” as we booked it down the highway (20 minutes) to get back our alma mater. A good friend of us sent James a picture of the two of them.

Apparently, Vermin Supreme was invited by a Libertarian minded student group (I’m unsure of the specific group). We rushed to get there, figure out some place to park without getting towed, and navigating the new student restaurant areas (SERIOUSLY, we’ve haven’t been OFF CAMPUS THAT LONG?!) We literally booked it from the bookstore parking lot (12,000 steps I’m looking at you). BUT WE MADE IT! WE CHEERED WHEN WE SAW THE BOOT OF TYRANNY.

For those of you who do not know who this awesome political troll is, let me educate. Every presidential election cycle he runs in New Hampshire because New Hampshire has to allow everyone who is a candidate to participate in debates. He has been doing this satirical performance since 1987.  Each year he runs on a platform of being the “Friendly Fascist” and “Tyrant you can trust” and making up a whole bunch of campaign promises like “everyone gets a free pony” (obviously that is my personal favorite).

 

We very much enjoyed meeting him in person. (Even being out of breath). The silly James even asked to peer into the boot of tyranny! (I’m not even going to think about how many heads that has been on…as someone else asked to wear it as well that night). James has now checked an item of the bucketlist!

Mondays can have adventures to! Share the Monday love!

 

Lived in a United America

This is third presidential election that I’ve been able to vote it, and it has taught me that I do not live in a united America at all.

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2008- Due to conservative beliefs I began my voting career as an idealist Republican. I was sold the fear that Obama would ruin America and everything that I valued. I was all geared up for the “most important election of our time” and experienced a weird sense of disillusionment after the election was over, feeling like I’d been let down by what I thought would “save us”.

 

2012- I became a full libertarian, watching how Ron Paul was shut down of the primaries, so when another “lesser of two evils” tried to excite/fear me into voting to “save our world/way of life” I side stepped my with with Gary Johnson. The next morning I began my counseling career in a staff meeting. The older counselors were quiet, somber, quite like going to a funeral. We processed their “post election stress syndrome” and you could tell they were devastated by what they felt would be the end of “their way of life”.

 

2016- Well, I still don’t have a dog in this fight from the beginning, not trusting the establishment. (At the last minute Gary Johnson really was disappointing me as well but that’s another story). In a crazy unexpected turn of events the Republican won. Now I see the other side of the line, those friends filled with depression, fear, anxiety, disillusionment, feeling like it is over for “their way of life”.

 

You guys, we were all fed the same lie “the government is here to make us happy, to help us get our way of life, protect it, and make sure no one else ruins it”.

Ummm…no…the only thing that is happening is every 4-8 years half of the country is depressed feeling like the world is over. Before that there is an awful election year of name calling. Not just addressing policies/issues about candidates they don’t like, awful name calling of “if you like that person you are a racist”, “how could you not vote for xyz?!”. We become so alienated trying to identify with one of these “champions” we are given to fight for our way of life “ideals.” When neither side ends up being happy with these “champions” and each year we are told to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

I know, once again, that 3rd party voters are the “people who lost the election for everyone else” but seriously, what if we decided to stop idolizing the government as this agency of “safeguarding our way of life”? (at the detriment of ruining everyone else’s?) What if we stopped allowing the executive branch to grant themselves extra powers, so it wouldn’t matter who was elected each term? Then that individual wouldn’t have the power to change everyone’s life so much? What if we each lived our own lives, finding our own happiness without harming others, and stopped regulating the lives of other people that we don’t understand.

In summary: we need to go back to a form of government that does not have the power to affect people’s daily way of life.

Froze For My Gun Rights at Lobby Day 2016

2016-01-18 08.51.17 Every year we drive to Richmond to meet with our state representatives to discuss our opinions of the upcoming legislation for the session. All types of lobby groups are there, but VCDL tends to draw the largest crowd.

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We didn’t drive down early because of an upcoming house purchase and trying to save money. I’d wanted to visit the Richmond Zoo, but with how cold the weather was, I wouldn’t have wanted to walk around in that anyways…hopefully later this year. I mean they have penguins!

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So we drove down that morning, and I immediately regretted not wearing a scarf. It was freezing out, cold and chilly! I tied my hood around my face, and shivered while waiting in line. But, I think my right to defend myself is worth it.

2016-01-18-Lobby Day_38Usually we are able to meet with many legislators or their aides, but most of our representatives seemed busy this year. We’ve met with them in previous years, so we signed their guest books and moved on.

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This year we had probably the most interesting meeting that I’ve ever had in the 6 years of our participation in this event. We managed to be able to meet with Senator Marsden. Right before Lobby Day he received a lot of VCDL member’s attention with this lovely sign:

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It reads “Welcome gun lobby day members I know you mean well. But, if it isn’t too much trouble, please stop trying to save our lives…Too many people are getting killed in the effort.”

Firstly, I will say that I appreciated Senator Marsden’s honesty and the fact that he was still willing to meet with VCDL members. In fact, I think he met with multiple groups this day likely saying much of the same thing. Many legislators who disagree with VCDL and gun rights purposely hid away in meetings or are out of the building when we visit, so I think it says a lot that he was willing to continue the conversation.

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He was upfront about his beliefs that we need “common sense gun control” etc. The room was filled with tension as he continued to say things like, “I don’t think any of you have enough training to be carrying those.” It is insulting. He didn’t know any of us, and likely several of them have more training than police officers who only have to qualify once a year.

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Disappointingly, and I think because we were in such a big group, there wasn’t a single spokesperson which wasn’t conducive to as useful as a discussion as I would have liked to have. Gun rights, or gun control and trying to save lives is an issue that both “sides” are so passionate about it makes it difficult to have the most rational conversations at times.

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My husband tried to calmly enter the discussion. While others may have seen his hand raise as a submission gesture I think it showed a level of control and discipline. He brought up a great question asking explaining his own experience, “I have all of the experience and training that you are specifying, so what do I gain as a gun owner, with this back ground check bill that you are trying to pass?” To which he did not have a good answer, and simply dodged the question.2016-01-18-Lobby Day_113

 

Then, we joined everyone outside for the rally. Because VCDL wants to showcase a greater diversity of our membership (we aren’t all older men who look like we are from Duck Dynasty) , I was asked to hold a sign. We aren’t allowed to use posts or flag poles (yet we can carry weapons?!) so I wore it across me.

 

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One of my favorite speakers of the day (I’m already so over the presidential campaigns) was from a young African American woman named, Shaneen Allen. A few years ago she was arrested in NJ as she wasn’t aware of their gun law, volunteered that information after being profiled, and had to fight tooth and nail to have the charges dropped. It was amazing to meet her and hear her story.

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We still have so much work today, but so far we seem to be making progress as the reciprocity reversal is being overturned. If you aren’t a member of VCDL you should be!

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Oh, this little cutie was my favorite, and we are pretty sure she was the youngest person there fighting for our rights.

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Celebrated the 71st Anniversary of DDay

Another post in the “Favorite Unblogged 2015 Moments” series.

My in laws tend to visit in June when they can, and we found ourselves near the DDay Memorial on the 71st Anniversary! I was excited about a fun opportunity, despite that husband was leery of the crowds. We visited later in the day and enjoyed the special events taking place. We missed the music and speakers, but there were still tents and many other things to explore.

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I think you’ll be able to tell from the pictures that husband actually ended up having the most fun of all of us on that very hot and sunny day. He enjoyed scoping out all of the different artillery.

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Plus, it was a fun chance to test out my new Tamron 24-70 2.8 lens. Apparently, working has its perks, even if it takes me away from fun things like blogging.

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This is BY FAR my favorite picture of the day, my husby, he’s kind of handsome.

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A friend of ours in the National Guard had the opportunity to travel to Normandy France for the 70th anniversary celebration ta-d0. I enjoy his stories of meeting people who lived there through the experience, and he enjoyed his trip so much that he plans to return for the 75th anniversary. This means I’ve got a couple more years to talk husby into it and save up!

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Met Emily Miller at Lobby Day

Another year at Lobby day! It is neat to look back each year, because each one we get to introduce new friends to the importance of meeting with our elected representatives and holding them accountable. This year we stayed in Richmond for the night and did some touristy things, then went to the General Assembly Building the next morning.

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The goal in staying overnight is to get to the GA early…this never seems to happen and we were waiting in this horrendous line. That was until the police officer decided to open another line at the front of the building to let a few of us in.

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Seriously though, the signs are dusty because they only make a big deal out of this, this one day of the year. Should just open up all the doors and filter the traffic in smoother.

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Our first meeting of the day was with delegate Head. I was anxious to see how this meeting would go, since we have two newbies with us, and I wanted them to have a great experience.

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It was a perfect meeting! We all sat down (well I was the creepy girl playing with my new 28mm lens) and discussed various firearms legislation. It seems that delegate Head is very pro-gun and also dismissed some of the anti law attempts as silly. I.e. It should be up to the parents what age they teach their children safe gun handling, even if that could happen at age 4.

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One moment that I appreciated was husband walking him through the potential legislation of a “constitutional carry” bill (even though none existed in legislation this year). Delegate Head was uncertain of the usefulness of removing a concealed carry permit. Husband explained that it wouldn’t be removing the concealed carry permit (knowing that politicians need statistics), as there would be other benefits like state travel, or concealing in a bar, etc. Delegate Head was worried about losing the very valuable statistic of “no crime committed by concealed handgun permit holders.” :0)

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We have been able to speak to, and have good conversations with, Kathy Byron every year, but there was a cluster outside her hallway, so we decided to give her a break.

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We spoke with a few assistants.

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We did the usual…signing the guest book, and waiting, and entertaining ourselves.

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Hubby got one last delegate talk in, with Scott Garrett. Each year he asks him what he thinks of constitutional carry, and every year he tells us he has no idea what this thing is…

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Then, we went outside to enjoy some niceish weather! There was a pretty good group of us this year.

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I was just excited that there were MANY females in our group this year! Usually, its me and maybe one other.

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My spiffy Glock earrings from the National Firearms Museum gift store made an appearance.


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One of our main guests at the rally this year was Emily Miller. She known as the journalist that attempted to get a firearm in D.C., and realized all of the restrictions. It is really credit to her, that others began to pursue firearms legislation in D.C. This led to the Heller vs. District of Colombia verdict which stated that those in federal enclaves also had a constitutional right to firearms in their homes for personal protection. At the end of the rally they group everyone together for the picture, we attempted to huddle at the back, then I realized there wasn’t a huge crowd around Emily.

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So I did the unlike me thing and asked for her picture. Actually, I was being polite while the lady in front of me hunted for her camera, to ask, but then hubby just asked for me, and snuck me in real quick. It was really cool to meet an investigative journalist that we admire, who is fighting so intensely for firearms rights.

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One quote that struck me was her response to people who say that she should just move to Virginia, to have better firearms laws. But, she said she loves D.C. and she’s passionate to give them their freedoms as well. She commented on the recent rampage in Paris, against cartoonists, and the need for personal protection “clicked” with many of her friends in the media. She’s someone that we can all agree is ACTIVELY making a difference, and that is pretty awesome! (I mean views on marijuana legalization aside…)

 

My Favorite Firearms Information For Women

Hi! We probably just randomly met out shopping, or you were directed here by a friend of mine, or you wandered here via the magics of the interwebs. The purpose of this page is to provide a brief compendium of my favorite firearm websites, articles, and videos, especially geared towards women. (I did all of the searching, so you can find everything in one place!) These links will be regularly updated.

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Videos/YouTube Channels

  • LimaLife – Holster/firearms reviews, range diary, and issues from a female perspective. She also has an active Facebook community.
  • Faliaphotography – MANY Holster reviews, conceal carry issues from a female perspective.
  • MrMrsAuthority – More Holster reviews.
  • ThePatriotNurse – Combination of: firearms perspectives, medical, and homesteading.

Books

Websites

  • The Well Armed Woman – Retail site with various holster styles for women, videos with holster demonstrations, active Facebook community, training classes, and articles about other carry issues.
  • Cornered Cat – GREAT articles on carry issues, best article on female carry outfits (linked below).
  • Handgun Law – Useful website regarding handgun laws in all states in U.S.

Recommended holster/gear companies

There are literally thousands of different types of holsters and gear on the market. Focus on finding a style of carry, and finding the highest level of quality for the price you want. Each person is going to have their own “favorite” which will likely depend on which products they’ve been able to try in the first place. Want to see how the average woman is carrying her firearm? Check out this fun infographic.

 

  • Tagua Gun Leather – Reasonably priced quality leather holsters. Many styles including pancakes, outside the waistband holsters, inside the waistband, etc. I especially like their leather thumb break holster.
  • IMI Defense – Quality Israeli made paddle holsters. This is not a preference for my personal every day carry, BUT it is perfect for range days, open carry, and competitions.
  • Remora – Amazing shoulder holsters at a good price, well known for their pocket and non slip holsters.
  • Roma Gun Leather – Selection of PRETTY gun purses, still expensive, but much less than other leather retailers. Your best bet is finding these at a gun show, to see them in person.
  • Maxpedition – Quality made nylon gear: bags and backpacks. They do look more “tactical” than blending in.
  • CrossBreed Holsters – Famous for their well loved tuckable inside the waistband holster.
  • Gun Goddess – Women styled thick leather belts and other products.

 

Specific Issues:

 

Got other questions? Feel free to post them and I’ll get back to you!

Owned an “Evil” Pink Rifle

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It’s Valentine’s Day weekend so anything pink goes, right? ;0)

My firearms enthused husband, is an enthusiast in all aspects. He reads about new products (remind me to tell you about his new favorite…a loudener…yes as opposed to a silencer), reloads his own ammo, researches case law around the US and World,  participates in political events to educate and further our rights, trains himself tactically, AND he builds/designs rifles.

This is currently specifically limited to AR-15’s as AK’s involve more mechanical parts that would not fit in our “Office” but its on his dream list.

The  AR-15 is popular and so there is no end to the types of customization and parts available (unless your finances run out or there’s a mass panic that the firearms will be legislated away), but fundamentally the all require the same basic parts. Husband’s favorite thing is to build these rifles. Someone could easily buy these pre-built at a gun store for a hefty price tag, but he enjoys searching for deals, also knowing that by selecting each part he’s reducing the overall cost for the build, and ensuring its quality. He can also build/design these for others, provided that they put the gun physically together themselves (at least one part) otherwise he’d need an FFL license as a dealer/seller. My rifle is an AR-15, not fully automatic.

Him making the rifles for others was nice…as it is kind of an addicting behavior. Its seriously like grown up Legos, and is very therapeutic for him!

At the beginning of last summer, we were eating ice cream, and husband was daydreaming about his “next build” (there’s always a next build). He starts talking about maybe making an all white one for contrast. Then, he says “what about a pink one?” My ears perk up. “Really?!” “Sure!” It would be nice that I’d have an AR-15 custom built for me, with my specifications in mind!

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Here: I’m going to share about the customized parts, discuss the awful stigma for these beautiful tools, opinion the “pink firearm craze”, and share the experience of my build! 

The Build

Unfortunately, one of the biggest issues with rifles for me is my lack of upper body strength. Therefore, the main goal with this rifle (besides the pink infusion) was that it would be lightweight. It has a shorter barrel (inches) and a nice optic alone. Originally, husband purchased a pink Ergo grip…I loved it! Very comfortable…the only problem is that my pinks were not going to match. So husband searched to find a complete MOE set to they’d all be the same color. There are so many different colors available at this point, and you can even have them painted to have everything match. I appreciated that my colors are a lighter/baby pink instead of a bright fuchsia pink.

The Stigma

The media likes to AR-15 wrongly labeled the “Automatic Rifle” so here are some quick facts: AR stands for Armalite Rifle. The automatic version (firing multiple rounds continuously while holding the trigger vs. pulling the trigger each time to fire one round) is the M16 and is used by the military. For the most part these are not available to civilians without extensive background checks and paperwork filed to the government. Automatic rifles are considered “more dangerous” since they can fire more rounds at once…however this also makes them less accurate due to continuous recoil etc. It is joked that this rifle is the “evil” black rifle due to the stigma. It is one of the main rifles that uneducated politicians like to hold for display (not using correct trigger finger control) to scare other uneducated individuals. They insinuate that it has the “most powerful cartridge on the market” and that it is dangerous and most likely to be used is some sort of mass murder.

Actually, some of the most powerful rifles on the market are deer and other rifles designed to shoot large game. Those need to be powerful in order to cleanly and humanely kill one’s food. Do you really want to watch poor a poor animal have a wound that is painful while she wanders around bleeding profusely, all the while scared out of her mind? Or would it be better for this animal to feel little pain/fear at the end of its life?

Also, one of the most widespread mass murder rampages, perpetrated with a gun, was a bolt action rifle (seen as one of the least harmful/powerful rifles). The problem isn’t the tool or object…it is about the person wielding said object. People need to feel like they can get help for their mental and emotional struggles. I hope I’ll be able to help my community with my Master’s in Professional Counseling soon! :0)

The Pink Craze

Going into a firearms store as a woman can be one of the worst things in the world. These owners tend to have a difficult time remember that we are each different, with different wants/needs and at different phases of our education. When I first began ALL of them encouraged me to get a revolver so much because it was less likely to jam etc that I know HATE the idea of owning a revolver.

At least the firearms industry is getting the idea that women are the fastest growing population of gun owners…and are finally designing firearms and other products with us in mind.

Personally, I love the pink stuff…I like the mix of delicate femininity on a powerful tool..I enjoy the sense of irony. I like the idea of personalizing it, knowing that it is “mine, for me” etc. I understand if you hate the pink stuff, and that they are just trying to seduce us with stereotypes… to each their own.

For the record, I’ve even had male friends admit that they buy guns sometimes simply because “they are pretty” a completely legitimate excuse that can be used by ANYONE, not females alone. Why else do you think the firearms can come in so many styles/colors/ tones? There is artistry in the mechanics, and their simple aesthetic beauty alone can be admired! But, let’s do research for our every day carry firearms…the ones that we are relying on for the protection of our lives and those of our loved ones.

My Experience

I’ve only taken my pink gun to the range once, since I was in a car accident a few days after. But I have some fun footage. I’m fully recovered now…the weather is just cold/bad/post Winter Storm Pax.

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I LOVE that I have a firearm that was personally designed for me with care and quality. Husband used such nice parts/optics that he frequently remarks, “I’m jealous and want your rifle” I mean except that it is pink.

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What other accessories do you think I should add to it? I definitely could use some sort of shoulder strap, and I bet there are other ways I could personalize it in a pink color.

Think I should give it a name for fun? Something like “Lady” something or other? It could be fun.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions :0)

Happy shooting this Valentine’s Day weekend!

United the Female Gun Community on Social Media

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As the popularity of a previous post has verbalized, concealed carry for women is difficult. I go through phases were sometimes I open carry more, but then there are locations where I need to conceal carry (like church). Once you learn the fundamentals it is pretty easy to create the outfit…but I was still excited and wanted to post it on Instagram. Then, I had this really cool idea: What if there was a firearm themed “OoTD” (Outfit of the Day) hashtag on social media?

#AWOoTD or Armed Woman Outfit of the Day

Who: A club just for the ladies this time (sorry guys)

What:  Carrying or with a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun…or even a giant machine gun strapped to the top of a tank. Open carry and concealed carry would be appreciated equally (seriously, ladies let’s be friends in this area even if the guys can’t).

Where/When: Out for a day with girl friends, range trips, grocery store trips, walking the beagle, or even taking your kids to the park.

Why: Concealed carry outfit inspiration, showcase our everyday lives, remind media that the pro gun movement has just as many females (refusing to be silenced).

Concealed carrying is challenging, especially to achieve it while also attempting to feel comfortable, fashionable, and functioning in our fast paced lives. (I’m picturing you mommies who run after the kiddos, you can’t be pulling your cover garments down all day, who’s got time for that ;0)) Therefore, if we use collage photos to show each other how to accomplish this, we could aggregate all of these ideas together. I’d love to see all of the ideas that one of you creative ladies have discovered that hasn’t even crossed my mind.

I once read an article in the UK version of a fashion magazine. The author/photographer came to the United States studying the rise of popularity of firearms among women. I really admired the “everyday” images of her walking her dog, and doing chores at her house. Seeing these photos could reveal our diversity, and how much we care about incorporating these tools for protection into our daily lives. These pictures could help introduce women into the idea of regular carrying instead of feeling so intimidated.

Finally, I was just at a political rally in my state’s capital where we visited the delegates to share our opinion on upcoming legislature. There were many women, but somehow the other sides literally tend to cut us out of the picture. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence skewed this ad/image:

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Firstly, they are twisting words completely out of context and demeaning a very nice man who sacrifices for Virginia’s gun rights. Secondly, the comments on the Facebook post where this image could be found were awful! This group assumed the stereotype that more women are in the anti gun movement. When these groups do this, they are literally silencing the voices of the women who were there. They tell us that we “don’t count” and basically that we “don’t exist.”

Women are easily the fastest group of firearm owners out there, and we do not tend to be as argumentative with each other over debates like “AR vs AK, or open carry vs. conceal carry” but we are not very loud either. We are pretty quiet. Therefore, I think that if we shared our passions on social media, I think they would have to stop ignoring us.

Share this with your girlfriends and let’s get this social media party started! (I know there is already the hashtag “Women and Guns” but really a lot of those posts must be for the ogling guys as they are sexualized).

Let’s showcase our vibrant community! I’m excited to meet/see all of you! This definitely wouldn’t be possible without all of you lovely ladies out there. :0)

Lobbied For Gun Rights in 2014

January means it’s that time again…time to gather with the rest of VCDL and other organizations and lobby our state representatives and let them know our opinions on current legislation. Husband and I have been doing this now for 5 years. Feel free to check out my reports on our past years: 2011, 2012, 2013.

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This year we decided to stay the night, again. This is much simpler than waking up and driving in at awful early morning hours! To see our Richmond day trip adventures, click here.

One of the most noticeable other lobby groups supporting marijuana reform laws there with puppies!

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Husband volunteered as an official leader this year, and it was a very nice experience! Usually, we meet up with friends, and then visit our representatives…which involves running up and down the entire building. Instead, our assignments included specific people to meet, and packets were provided to us to highlight our stance on current legislation. Our delegates were only on floors 3-4! Which is a much easier hike when you end up using the stairs lol.

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Here’s the process:

You speak with the Administrative Assistants, to find out if the representative is available.

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If they aren’t, you ask to speak with the aide. The first year we didn’t understand that the representatives usually aren’t available and its pretty normal to only speak with their aides.

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Sometimes even waiting for an aide can take a little while, so its important to find ways to entertain yourself while waiting…like reading fun government pamphlets.

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Sometimes you get lucky, and you’re able to steal the delegate’s time for a little bit.

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And, don’t forget to sign the guest book.

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The efficiency of this experience meant that we were quickly done with our task! We walked a couple of streets to get a quick food fix at the 7-11.

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At 11 am everyone gathers in the court-yard to listen to speeches.

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One of my favorite quotes this year was: “The love of Liberty is the love of others, the love of power is the love of self.” My favorite speech was the one that helped encourage how gun owners could be better ambassadors for our cause. He spoke about how to encourage others, instead of focusing on “snappy zingers that would embarrass them in public.” It reminded me a lot of how I approach educating others who confront me.

These gatherings are great opportunities to make new friends, or meet up with old ones.

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One of my new friends appreciated the fact that I was wearing my DSLR AND a firearm. He took some of my new favorite pictures of myself and husband!

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Once the speeches ended we headed back towards the canal. My husband’s work contractors work in Richmond and invited us to try “Richmond’s Best Pizza” at Bottoms Up. The company was great, the slices were huge, but warning, it does take a VERY long time. They were okay in my opinion, don’t know that I’d label them the best.

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My last fun experience of the day before heading home was investigating the Hobby Lobby. I’d never been to one. I did find a couple of products that are not in my local craft stores…but I did find Hobby Lobby more similar to Pier 1 than an amazing craft store.  The scrap booking section wasn’t as exciting as I’d been expecting!

You should come with us next year to Lobby Day, especially if you’ve never been. Our favorite experiences have been to see hour our groups have been different each year. We’ve been able to introduce many people to this practice of “voting all day with their presence” as one of my best friends puts it. Seriously, if you are interested in gun rights in Virginia, you should be out there…especially if you are the kind of person who thinks that voting is important.

Written an Open Letter to Starbucks

starbucks-logo_holding_gunsI will be posting an open letter response to this recent open letter from the CEO of Starbucks (also available via their website http://www.starbucks.com/blog/an-open-letter-from-howard-schultz/1268):

An Open Letter from Howard Schultz, ceo of Starbucks Coffee Company

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer

Dear Fellow Americans,

Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.

We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.

For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.

I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.

Sincerely,

Howard Schultz

 

Dear Howard Schultz,

Myself, and my fellow firearms carrying friends are very disappointed with this recent change in your policies. I understand that your organization has been put in an unfortunate position over the past few years. Those of us who value our lives (and the lives of others around us) who choose to be able to protect that God given life were simply enjoying coffee, when others chose to find those means of protection alarming.

When those who do agree with the ability to defend one’s life began to throw stones at your organization, those who were grateful for your “hands off” position attempted to show our gratitude for your common sense policy. You were not stating that you were pro self defense, or anti self defense, but that you would simply abide by the individual policies in each state.

Therefore, in the past few years, my husband and I, and many of our friends who do not frequent Starbucks purposely went out of our way to spend money at your organization, as a way to say “thank you.” We did not turn this into political activism, we simply understood the value of spending our money where our basic human rights are respected. During these visits for coffee and delicious snacks/pastries we did not cause a problem, we smiled friendly placing our orders, gave our money, and left.

For an organization that seems to champion controversial issues, stating that you accept all matter of lifestyles, it is unfortunate that you would chose to reverse this common sense policy due to pressure from only one side of the argument.

I do appreciate the way that you worded your request, you communicated it respectfully and logically. I understand that you believe that you are trying to gracefully exit a position that you were forced into.

It is also heart wrenching what drawing this line in the sand means for you. Criminals target those areas that loudly proclaim themselves to be gun free zones, look no further than recent news to understand that. You have essentially made all of your patrons sitting ducks to attacks, and vulnerable to evil in the world. Since you have taken away their means for protection, are you willing to develop an alternative? For example, would you be willing to post an armed guard at each Starbucks to protect them?  Since your decision to not welcome armed citizens, this is the dilemma that you have created.

I sincerely wish the best for your patrons and your company, but will no longer be going out of my way to purchase your products due to this policy change.

Sincerely,

Erin