Ava Flanell, Firearms Instructor & Host of Gun Funny Podcast
Even though I only shot my first gun in 2012, I was raised around guns. My mom was a firearms instructor and assisted me when I shot my first gun. Thinking back, my mom was somewhat of a pioneer because even when I became an instructor in 2013, I was the only female in all the instructor credential courses that I took. As I started teaching my own classes, females made up for about twenty percent of the class. With each year, female attendance continues to grow. Now I have women coming up to me saying that my path has encouraged them to become an instructor.
Before I chose my current career path, I spent the first eight years of adulthood living in New York City. Owning a firearm was never a consideration. I lived in Manhattan with over twelve million people living on top of each other. I thought surely if anything ever happened there were plenty of people to help. What a small-minded thought. As I’ve grown older, wiser and have seen the reality of the world, I realize that not even law enforcement is required to protect you. Self-protection is our responsibility and right.
Learning how to protect myself has been one of the most empowering things I’ve done. I can live alone, go hiking, and go about my day freely knowing that if I’m ever in danger I’m equipped to have a fighting chance. When obtained lawfully, guns are a tool that level the playing field of surviving someone or something that you wouldn’t otherwise.
Training the next generation of female shooters, it’s important to emphasize that gun ownership doesn’t have an image. You don’t have to be a man or look like the next Laura Croft. Race, gender, politics, and religion shouldn’t deny or dissuade someone the right to protect themselves and loved ones.