Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good ~ George Washington
Per a decision handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States in the year 2012, concealed carry will be coming to the Land of Lincoln in one form or another regardless of how gun control advocates feel about it. Keeping in mind that if Governor Quinn gets his way, concealed carry laws will be as austere as is legislatively possible, this is a huge victory for Second Amendment advocates.
Now, as exciting as this whole thing is, the first thing to remember is that the Supreme Court merely reaffirmed the natural rights that were given to us by God – not men – by stating that we can, in fact, protect our own lives when we find that we are in danger. In order to ensure the blessings of all liberties, it is imperative that rights such as the right to bear arms be a) heavily guarded and b) taken out for a walk now and again just to make sure that we remember how they work. But exercising our rights is only a small part of the battle.
When someone is given a great deal, a great deal will be demanded of that person; when someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected.
Remembering our accountability as citizens as seen through those often rose colored spectacles of constitutional liberty is imperative. We are responsible for safeguarding liberty for the next generation. This is even more germane when we look at the Second Amendment in terms of women's rights. When we consider exactly what the Suffragettes fought to secure for American women of all eras, we must remember that they struggled to ensure access to the Constitution in whole not in part…not just the right to vote or speak or minds or worship as we see fit. Their struggle was for a women's right to own a weapon as well. Sadly, the Second Amendment is one of the few guarantees that women shun or believe is still off limits to them and there's a noticeable willingness to relegate the right and responsibility of self-defense to man-only work...or worse yet, to government-only work.
Says Nikki Turpeaux – owner and lead instructor of Archangel Tactical in Alpharetta, Georgia – "There's a lot of misinformation out there and women come to me with this idea that, 'Well, my husband will take care of that.' There's often an imagined layer of protection that someone will just step in and be a woman's first line of defense."
But more and more, families are facing tangible threats to their safety. Home invasions, workplace violence, school shootings, terror threats - uncertainty and a preponderance of violence in American culture highlight the sometimes ignored reality that law enforcement may not respond to your distress call in time to save you. Nikki Turpeaux points out rightly that response times run anywhere from 9 to 20 minutes depending on where you live. A lot can happen in that amount of time. The unraveling of American culture creates a heightened desire in women to overcome their historic aversion to fire arms and reclaim the slandered right to own a weapon. They are cluing in that their husbands or roommates or coworkers could act as a first line of defense if the stars align just so, but they'd better have a plan B just in case the happy ending doesn't work out quite that way.
That's not a bad thing actually – you know, women not falling back into their timeworn roles of helpless victims. The more that people…all people exercise their right carry and use weapons, the more accepted gun ownership will be and the more secure the Second Amendment will be from our self-appointed safety officers in DC and Springfield.
The problem is that you can't just buy a gun, take it home, lock it in a gun cabinet and expect that this will make you safer from assailants. That's a little like buying a socket wrench and thinking you're an auto mechanic.
"A lot of women, for instance, have been misinformed about what weapon is best for them because as easy as a revolver is to operate, a lot of women don't have the hand strength to pull the trigger. Picking a weapon is as individualized as picking out a pair of shoes. You've got to try them on and see how they feel. Just because your friends like to wear four inch heels, it doesn't mean you will too. Just because your friends like to use a revolver, it doesn't mean that a revolver is the best fit for you."
"More importantly," Nikki continues, "You can pick up your gun in a controlled environment, work on your grip and work on taking shots but this doesn't prepare you for the adrenalin, the ringing in your ears, feeling your heart pound. All of that will happen in a crisis. You won't have the ability to casually think about what to do next."
Ms. Turpeaux is a firearm expert – expert enough that Fox News, ABC News, Canal-Plus Europe and the NRA Women's Network have featured her talents in a variety of reports – and she will tell you that the first step in mastering a firearm is having the right mindset. Getting people – not just women – all people to think about the actuality of crisis is her mission in life. As Illinois makes way for the reality of concealed carry, it is vital that gun owners and would-be gun owners prepare themselves for what it means to survive a crisis and those involuntary physical reactions that can act as a person's greatest barrier to self-preservation.
"Having a gun can create a false sense of security because if you suppose you are going to pull that gun out and it's automatically going to scare away your assailant, that's really the wrong way to be thinking about it."
And if it sounds to you like Nikki Turpeaux is discouraging women from purchasing guns or carrying a concealed weapon, you are absolutely mistaken. It's quite the opposite in actuality. But let's be clear please. Gun control advocates are going to have a field day with raising the very points that we are discussing right here. Second Amendment advocates can either aggressively own this debate and meet the demands that gun ownership creates, or I promise you that the anti-gun coalition will run with the ball and use ignorance and fear to undo the protections that still remain in the State of Illinois.
Nikki Turpeaux wants to educate men, women and children on proper training and not just with guns but with the stress that comes when a dynamic critical incident starts to unfold. Her company's Get A Grip™ program offers education for men so that they can become their family's first line of defense. They offer a program for women so that they can train with guns but also develop a survival mindset in case their first line of defense is at work when an invader decides to break and enter. There's also instruction for kids on real gun safety, for students who increasingly face violence in school and on campus and for professionals who want to understand proper concealed carry methods and what to do if there is an active shooter in the workplace.
It's a heady mission to take on and one of the best examples of true feminism that I can think of. I asked Nikki how she made the mental leap from owning a gun and simply target shooting on the weekends to learning how to gun fight and then teaching others to do so. She said that her first step was getting to the point where she was prepared for the legal and moral responsibilities of owning a gun. It takes great mentorship and also self-instruction on what it really means to pick up a gun and point it at another human being. Her friend and counterpart "Combat Mike" Rainwater told her that the best way to become mentally prepared was to first read as much as she could on this subject and Nikki advocates that all gun owning men and women do the same. She recommends The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker and Protecting the Gift by the same author.
Now – if you are thinking of pursuing concealed carry for your own protection, you'll want to get some instruction and it is true that if you want to learn to the level that Nikki Turpeaux has achieved it can get expensive. Nikki explained that one can offset some of those costs by going to Paneao Productions and streaming instructional videos on various topics. One can choose from a variety experts from around the world – including a library of videos featuring her.
Archangel Tactical also takes its instruction on the road quite a bit. They do come to Illinois from time to time and are available for groups of 8 people or more. They focus on instructing companies on workplace safety. They work with schools and educators or community and neighborhood organizations as well.
The Second Amendment is there to protect the right of all Americans to protect themselves. It's there no matter if you are a man or a woman, a Democrat or Republican. It's a little like napkins at a buffet. They are there whether you want them or not, and you can feel free to use them or use your sleeve instead if you didn't anticipate the possibility of needing one ~ Nikki Turpeaux
We will be continuing our series on conservative feminists in the next few days with an interview from Joy Pullmann of the Heartland Institute as she discusses the problems and challenges surrounding Common Core.