June 9, 2012 will be National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day. This is a day where the importance of introducing our daughters to our sport is highlighted. This emphasis is important because when a girl is shown that guns and shooting are a fun pastime, they are more likely to keep at it into adulthood. More importantly, they learn that the stereotypes of shooters, especially female shooters, are hollow. Let's face it, boys are half expected to be interested in guns, and when a girl expresses an interest, she risks being labelled as strange by members of society that still cling to old stereotypes. As adults raising young women, we owe it to them to teach them that being responsible for themselves and enjoying a fun hobby is as normal for them as it is for their brother.
A girl can and and should be encouraged to shoot as well as or better than her brothers, and the first step is to get her to the range with someone she trusts so that she can get over the initial nervousness and start to enjoy herself.
But teaching your daughter to shoot and helping her to enjoy her time at the range has an even more important objective. I can sum it up by quoting from William Ross Wallace:
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.Our daughters are going to be mothers someday, and they will have an extraordinary amount of influence on the generations that will follow them. If mom is a shooter, or is at least comfortable with guns, then her kids and grandkids are more likely to be exposed to the shooting sports. If she believes that guns are dangerous and to be avoided, then the chances of her children learning how to safely use them and continue the tradition of gun ownership that our country enjoys are greatly reduced.
We've made a lot of progress in the past few years when it comes to gun rights, but the pendulum will eventually swing back the other way. Only by laying a foundation of young men and women who enjoy and understand the fun and responsibility of gun ownership can we hope to slow down and stop the inevitable shift away from our current success. Even with all of the progress we've made in integrating women into the sport, society still accepts little boys playing with toy guns while pigeon-holing little girls into the playroom with the dollhouse. My goal as a father is to teach my daughter that she can be feminine and still shoot out the X ring. This day gives us an opportunity to take our daughter to the range and continue that work.
I will be taking Girlie Bear shooting on June 9, and I encourage all of you to take your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, or whatever young girl is special in your life to the range. It will be good for her, and it will help to preserve our rights in the future.