Sunday, May 22, 2005


If You Are a Blogger, Read a Blogger, Love a BloggerHelp them to keep the FEC outta their business. Red State tells you how. It only takes an e-mail, and I know for a fact you're already at your computer.[05:17 PM 20-May-05 Mary Katharine Ham Comment]

Shoot It, Sister!

Just saw Sandy Froman speak. For those of you who don't know, that's Sandy Froman-- a Jewish native of San Francisco, graduate of Stanford undergrad and Harvard law, and President of the NRA. She said she gets this reaction a lot: "What's a nice girl like you doing involved with guns?"

And she admits she might not have been involved with guns had a 3 a.m. break-in not forced her to get involved. Froman was a 20-something lawyer in L.A. when she woke up to a strange noise at her front door. She looked through the peephole and saw a strange man crouched with a screwdriver at her lock. She pounded on the door and screamed, thinking surely he would leave once he knew someone was home.

To her horror, she saw him stand up, look through the peephole back at her, and bend back down to go to work. She called both her nextdoor neighbors. No one answered. She called 911 and they told her to lock herself in her bedroom until the police got there. She told them she had no lock on her bedroom door. She ran around the house turning on every light, the stereo, the TV to draw attention to the house. She checked the peephole--he was still there. Between the last time she looked and the time the police got there, the man finally fled, unable to bust the lock.

"The next day, I was a woman on a mission," she said. She said she went to a gun store, which was quite an achievement for this West Coast-dwelling, Ivy League-educated lawyer, she said. She told the gun store guy (what are they called? 'Clerk' sounds too delicate.) she needed a gun. When he asked which gun, she said "any gun." He promptly suggested she get some firearms training first, which she did.

"I found that shooting a gun wasn't that hard, and it was fun when I hit the bullseye," she said. She became a great shot pretty quick, practicing every weekend. After diving into her new firearm hobby, she noticed people she knew (some of whom were her fellow lawyers) thought anyone who owned a gun was a dangerous criminal. After asking some of her range-friends why some of her lawyer-friends thought that way, they suggested she join the NRA to learn about the politics of the 2nd Amendment.

Since then, she has served as a board member (in an organization of mostly men, she got a higher vote total from members around the country than any other board member ever has), Second Vice President, First Vice President, and now NRA president (the second woman to hold the job).

Froman, elected in April, said her two big issues for the year are encouraging the NRA's self-defense classes, particularly for women. The Second Amendment was written for the preservation of liberty-- when it is threatened by a foreign power, a domestic faction, or by a criminal on the street, she said.

"Every woman is entitled to such security," she said. "Everyone is safer when the criminals don't know who's armed."

Her assertion is supported by the sharp drop in gun violence in every state that has adopted a concealed-carry law (38 so far!). She also pointed out statistics that show concealed-carry permit holders are, on average, some of the most law-abiding of any citizens. Her second big issue is the federal judiciary. Judges who understand the 2nd Amendment are crucial because all the good legislative work that is done for gunowners can be undone by an activist judge's one ruling, she said. And Supreme Court justices are the ultimate guardians of the meaning of the 2nd Amendment.

Froman took a few questions, urged young women in the audience to give firearms a shot and decide for themselves if they like them. They're not necessarily for every woman, she said, but it's senseless to decide how you feel about them before you even touch one. She also encouraged college women to bring together like-minded women on their college campuses for shooting clinics and safety classes. Froman said she finds many more women are curious about firearms than are hostile toward them, regardless of their political beliefs.

The President of the NRA was without a gun today because she was speaking in the District of Columbia, where, as I've said before, you can't carry a handgun. Luckily, another D.C.-dwelling woman, Kay Bailey Hutchison has proposed the D.C. Handgun Ban Repeal. She's getting an assist from Sens. Cornyn and George Allen, and has gained sign-ons from 26 Senators, two of them Democrats. Allen cited his reason for supporting the bill--
Allen explained that the city's homicide rate is up 200 percent since the ban was enacted, compared to a national rise of 12 percent. Hutchison said Washington had 248 homicides in 2004 and the highest per capita homicide rate.

Despite the stats, Mayor Anthony Williams and some relatives of murder victims are opposed to the legislation.

"I am incensed by any proposal that is an insult to the memory of the people who have died in this city due to gun violence, in particular the three children who have died from gun violence this year," Williams said.

Well, I am incensed by a ban that is an insult to the people just trying not to be made into memories in this lovely little "gunless" town, Mayor Williams. In the meantime, I sure am glad to know that you'll be protecting my memory from insult after I'm gone. [03:04 PM 20-May-05 Mary Katharine Ham Comment]

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