Safety is a MindsetThe 2018 census reported 11 million single parent families in the US. 80% of those families had a woman at the helm. While men are often viewed as the protector of the family, women are the primary parent, lead provider and caregiver in millions of families in this country. Looking at family safety in light of that information tells us that some of the trends we see in firearms ownership on the rise among women are simply due to numbers. Women lead families, and they want to be safe. But just owning a firearm doesn’t make one safer. Safety is a mindset. But in addition to the right mindset, you need a plan, and that plan must involve a ton of practice. Below are a few thoughts on each of these ideas.
Many self-defense advocates will tell you that alertness is essential to your safety, and it is. In addition to being alert, you need a plan to act upon. Teaching your children to recognize danger: the car parked outside your house when they arrive home from school, the stranger that might be watching them while they are buried in their phone on the bus ride home, etc. are essential conversations that need to be had with our families. We can’t recognize danger if we are unaware of our surroundings. Step one is to be aware, step 2 is to have a plan.
Have a Plan
Recognizing danger is great but we have to take steps to act on what our senses tell us. If we see a strange car parked outside the house, we can choose not to open our garage door, and just keep driving. Call the neighbor or a friend before we leave our car. If we hear a noise in the night, we should have a plan for how children alert us, and where they stay while we check the house; who calls 911, who retrieves a firearm, and so on. Part of having a plan means that you practice it until it becomes second nature. Conscious effort can be put into the task at hand, while things like drawing your firearm and aiming happen out of good habits established with practice.
Practice the Plan
Seeing danger early because we are aware, having a plan in place, and then acting on that plan are the steps that can circumvent danger. Practicing with your self-defense firearm is an important part of owning one. This means practicing things like dry-fire and drawing from concealment or retrieving the gun from a safe. It means teaching our families their roles in a self-defense situation, and having them practice too.
Implementing the Plan
Implementing your self-defense plan or plans means you are alert, you practice, and from time to time you re-evaluate and update your plans. Perhaps your 21 year-old daughter wants to purchase a handgun for self-defense. You can create opportunities to dry fire and test firearms before she decides what is right for her. Maybe you have only recently decided that you want to have a firearm in your home. You can look to organizations that will help you choose a firearm and plan that fits your lifestyle. The Well-Armed Woman is one such organization, but you can go to the NSSF’s (National Shooting Sports Foundation) website and find a list of organizations or the nearest First Shots program near where you live. First Shots is a program that focuses on recreational shooting, but it is a program that helps new firearms’ owners try shooting in a safe and supportive environment. Sometimes that first experience with a firearm being free from anything emotional; just the act of how to use it, can be an important part of understanding just how simple a tool a firearm really is.
Share Your Mindset
However you decide to focus on your safety, do it with the mindset that you and your family are precious and deserve to be protected. Educate yourself about your state and local regulations, and never stop learning! Share your safety plans with your family and friends too. That way, you can both educate them about firearms and give them pause for thought about their own safety mindset.