Skip to comments.Gun Training Class Offered to Abused Women
Posted on 04/12/2002 3:19:05 PM PDT by Tuba-Dude
In what appears to be a national first, a Portland gun group is offering free handgun training to any battered woman who wants it -- a defensive strike against homicidal men and what it sees as a growing push for gun control in Oregon.
Thomas "Lee" Anderson, a former community college philosophy professor who founded the Portland Firearms Training Team, says at least a half-dozen women have signed up for the daylong class, designed to teach even a tiny woman with shaking hands to take down her attacker at close range.
It's an idea that gets a big thumbs up from the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Sisters, a national organization formed in 1999 to promote gun self-defense for women.
"Like it or not, a firearm is the great equalizer," Anderson said. "A 90-pound woman can defend herself against a 300-pound (man)."
But critics, armed with an arsenal of research challenging Anderson's arsenal of research, call the offer everything from ill-considered to downright dangerous.
They also warn that a woman risks being prosecuted for murder if she kills her abuser without meeting the statutory requirements for justifiable homicide.
"From a public health perspective, that's certainly not the message I would want to send," said Nancy Glass, a professor in the School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science University who has researched intimate partner homicide. "In my view, arming people is a very short-sighted response to a public health crisis."
The debate comes in response to an examination by The Oregonian exposing flaws in systems designed to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. The story revealed gaps in restraining order procedures, federal prosecutions and the gun background check process and showed confusion about if and when police can seize an abuser's gun.
The story also found that in the past decade, roughly 100 Oregon women were killed by current or former partners using guns, a tally roughly on par with gang-and drug-related gun homicides.
Although some public officials are taking steps to address the issues, Anderson and others reject the findings, viewing them as the work of the gun-control agenda. Instead, they assert that the real solution is to give abused women the hardware and training to protect themselves -- as Anderson puts it, to bring out the "woman warrior."
"For years, our public officials have counseled women to obtain restraining orders and dial 9-1-1 in an emergency," Anderson, an NRA-certified instructor, said in a statement. "These choices have not worked. Violent crazed attackers do not obey laws, and it is nuts to think we need more gun control."
To counter what they consider a missing piece in the public discussion, Anderson's group plans to offer abused women a free four-hour beginner's pistol class, which ordinarily costs $35. It covers instruction on safe handling and storage of firearms, ethical and legal ramifications of gun use and an hour on the shooting range.
Students who pass get a certificate that can be used to satisfy educational requirements for a concealed handgun license, which Anderson strongly advises them to get.
Women also will be offered an NRA general self-defense class called "Refuse to Be a Victim," which is tailored to those who aren't ready to use a firearm or whose level of personal threat doesn't warrant firearms use. Together, the training will take eight to 10 hours.
We can teach a woman to be accurate at a defensive distance" -- within 7 yards or less, Anderson said. He advises women to keep the gun on them at all times, in a pocket or holster, so it's available but out of children's reach. Firing the gun will be presented as a last resort -- only if the woman's life or another person's is in immediate, unavoidable danger, he said.
There's little research about whether arming abused women increases safety. But there are voluminous studies about gun self-defense and the general population -- virtually all of it the subject of heated debate. Anderson and other gun advocates like the work of Gary Kleck, a criminology professor at Florida State University. In one widely quoted report, he estimates that law-abiding Americans use guns in self-defense 2.5 million times a year.
"If you have a woman who is willing to point the weapon in a threatening manner, I'd say, yes, (training for battered women) is a good idea," Kleck said Wednesday. "It's something a woman can do as well as a man -- it doesn't take physical strength."
But advocates working to reduce firearms deaths at the Washington, D.C.,-based Violence Policy Center bristle at the suggestion that increased gun ownership is an appropriate response to violence. They contend that for every time a woman used a handgun to kill an intimate acquaintance in self-defense in 1998, another 83 women were killed by an intimate acquaintance with a handgun.
Other skeptics say it's impractical for a woman to keep a gun with her at all times, raising safety concerns for children. They also question whether a day's training is sufficient and worry that guns in the hands of women under severe stress can place innocent bystanders in jeopardy.
"In my reading of the literature, it's hard to use a gun appropriately at the right time and not at the wrong time," said gun-injury researcher David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. "Even police officers who have lots of training can use their guns at the wrong time."
"More guns in these types of situations is flat-out dangerous," said Stacy Heyworth, head of the Multnomah County district attorney's domestic violence unit, pointing out that women's guns can be used against them. "I'm saying that because of my concern for the man and the woman."
All the same, Lisanne Dickenson, 36, of Eugene -- who was in an abusive relationship for 21/2 years -- likes her gun, a .32 Kel-Tec so tiny it fits in her front pocket. She got it for protection once her abuser was no longer in the picture.
"Women are traditionally afraid of guns, and they are scary when you don't know about them," she said. "But abusers are scarier. You can learn to control a firearm, you can learn to be good with them, but an abuser isn't controllable."
Now happily married, Dickenson has spent countless hours practicing at firing ranges, is studying to become a trainer for the Portland Firearms Training Team and considers armed self-defense an important option for her sex. The oldest of her three daughters is already learning to shoot.
"There are some women I wouldn't trust with a gun," she said, conceding that she might not have trusted herself back in the days of her abuse. "If I'm giving a class, and I don't think she's ready, I'm not going to pass her -- that's my responsibility."
Chiquita Rollins, coordinator of domestic violence programs for Multnomah County, considers gun ownership a personal choice -- one that probably only makes sense for what she thinks is the small percentage of women who are emotionally prepared to kill.
"Most women don't want to kill their abuser -- they want him to go away," she said. "Arming every battered woman isn't going to solve the problem."
For more information about the Portland Firearms Training Team, contact John McEnroe at 503-232-6918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Robin Franzen can be reached at 503-221-8133 or email@example.com.
Note that all the gun control advocates comments are full of lies.
That's because the VPC has successfully disarmed the abused women. I don't understand why the VPC doesn't issued a statement that they really believe in, that women are too stupid to use a gun.
Hey guys, either of you have a hand in this one?
Leftists consider spouse abuse to be "a public health crisis!" It's always a public crisis, because that justifies government involvement. And it's a "health crisis," not a crime, so the solution is a holistic effort on the part of the government, not a crackdown.
To the leftists, everything is a damned "public health crisis." They probably consider suicide bombings in Israel to be "a public health crisis."
EXCUSE ME! But a woman getting raped is NOT part of a public health crises. She is a victim of VIOLENT CRIME. Call it a HATE CRIME, idiot liberal nursing professor. Sheesh, I am ANGRY!
That is because their attackers were armed and they weren't ya dopes!
I don't understand why the VPC doesn't issued a statement that they really believe in, that women are too stupid to use a gun.
They must watch Lifetime. Does the poor victim use one of the many weapons sitting around the set? No! She runs or cowers in the corner. If by some crazy chance she manages to wound him does she follow through? No! She drops is and trys to run or cowers again. Stupid Twit!/rant
I have not taken gun training classes for many years, but I would guess they still stress that if you have not made the decision to shoot to kill in self defense, you may as well throw the gun away.
I have a few friends who I have advised NOT to get a gun, because they were not going to invest in training and had no other experience involving firearms.They just wanted one to "scare" an attacker.I think the training idea is a great idea.Some people,mostly women, just can't understand that once you take responcibility for your own self-defense the fear of attack is decreased.
Whether these women actually go on to own a gun or not, the intoduction to self-defense 101 will help them get over the victim mentality that allows abuse to continue.
The laws need to be changed. The abuser isn't trying to meet the statutory requirements.
That sounds exactly what they should be called. If you don't mind, I want to use that as much as I can.
EXACTLY with proper training a little lady could be weilding a 44 mag in no time in self defence!!!
As an older, small woman, I carry my weapon at all times. It's like my fire insurance--something I have that I hope I never need!
Bump for women everywhere being able to defend themselves!!!
Perhaps, Mr. Hemenway, if you read some "literature" other than Violence Policy Center press releases, you might actually find some verified research FACTS, like the one that shows that citizen gun owners actually do a FAR better job than police of actually identifying and HITTING the bad guy when using a firearm defensively.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.