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Great Plug for the Second Amendment Sisters


NES Member
Feb 27, 2005
Plymouth, MA
Feedback: 11 / 0 / 0

Women with weapons

By Elizabeth Dinan
[email protected]

Jenn Coffey is a nurse, mother of a 12-year-old son and owner of a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson she bought because she likes the way it fits in a purse.

Coordinator of the N.H. chapter of the Second Amendment Sisters, a national women's gun-advocacy organization, Coffey shot her first round in the back yard of her husband's former Kentucky home and has enjoyed target shooting since. Pistol shooting has become her favorite, while launching a mission to protect the Second Amendment -- the right for a "well-regulated militia" and to keep and bear arms.

The national Second Amendment Sisters was formed in 1999 in response to the anti-gun Million Mom March.

"Crime happens everywhere," Coffey said, while citing national statistics saying unarmed women are 10 times more likely to be raped.

"I don't want to be raped. I don't want to be robbed, " she said as her reasons for having guns and a permit to carry them concealed. "I don't know a single person who looks forward to confronting a criminal. A simple showing of the gun is ordinarily enough to make them turn tail and run away. And criminals are always looking for easy targets."

Making women less-easy targets is one of Coffey's goals as New Hampshire's Second Amendment Sisters coordinator, a position she assumed in December. One reason women are joining the local chapter, for which Coffey doesn't have membership numbers, is to participate in women-only gun instruction classes.

"I think women empower women," she said. "We're more comfortable together."

Coffey suggests women first take a basic pistol class to learn about firearms and firearms safety. When it comes to buying guns, it's a matter of trying many out and personal preference, she said.

"Some prefer revolvers, some prefer semiautomatics. It depends on the shape of your hand and what you feel comfortable with. ... I would always recommend you shoot a firearm before you purchase it. Try it out and see how it feels to you."

Coffey also advocates teaching firearms safety to children, not necessarily to encourage shooting, but safety in a state with many hunters.

"I teach my kid to be safe because you just don't know," she said. "I don't know of a parent who ever asked me if I have firearms in my house."

Genie Jennings is Maine's Second Amendment Sisters coordinator, a chapter which co-hosts firearms clinics for women with the Kittery Trading Post. A ski instructor, Jennings took a firearms class for her hunter husband after the couple shot at tin cans with a .22 and she enjoyed it.

Last year, Jennings searched for an instructional class for women and the closest thing she could find was in Massachusetts, hosted by Second Amendment Sisters. After learning there was nothing like it in Maine, Jennings, who said, "I don't join things in general," started a Maine chapter.

Since the last Kittery Trading Post women's firearms clinic, membership in Maine's chapter has increased 500 percent, Jennings said, bringing it to a grand total of six members.

"If you're in the gun movement, you've heard of us, and if you're in the Million Mom movement, you've heard of us," she said, adding she hopes other women will join with time.

"Self-defense is a basic human right," she said. "Women are smaller and weaker. We need something else for protection."

But why a group exclusively for women?

"It's an answer to that female voice that says, Oh my goodness, get those things away,'" she said. "We feel that being all female gives us credibility when we say guns are a tool and we want this tool available to us."

Some women take the class because they're "terrified of guns," she said. They start with .22s because they're easy to handle, don't have a lot of kick, and don't make a lot of noise.

"As women get exposed to that type of tool, they lose that terror," Jennings said. "There's so much publicity about how terrible these things are, that you'd think they drop off tables or out of drawers."

At the last class, women "ran the gamut" from teens to grandmothers, she said.

"It's a matter of choice," Jennings said. "There are women who've made the choice that they're going to defend themselves and their families."

In New Hampshire, Coffey said her organization is willing to offer instruction to women across the state, if they provide a host site.
It was a good article, but it was missing some real important info:

- How about stating in the article HOW to reach these state coordinators of SAS?

- How about providing the URL for each state's org so folks can join if they want to?

I met Genie and her Husband at last year's SAS BBQ in MA. A very nice lady (and Husband) who I enjoyed meeting and talking with. I did tell her about this forum, but I don't think she ever joined.

It's a shame that in a year she doesn't have more than 6 total members! However, since you can't actually join the local chapters, you must join the national org instead and they notify the chapter local to you, it's not as easy as it should be. This also explains the remark by the NH Coordinator who said she doesn't know how many members she has.
I think one of the issues up in Maine and NH is that they really don't need SAS in that shooting isn't as threatened as it is here in MA. I know that the MA chapter is one of the more active ones, as is Ohio and one other 'rights-infringed' state, it might be New Jersey or Maryland.

I just know that it is a lot of work to startup and run any org. To only have 5 other members a year later takes sheer stubbornness to keep at it! I admire her.
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