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The popular media image of a National Rifle Association member"a male, beer-bellied, redneck-type wearing coveralls"doesnt fit Sandra S. Froman 74, she says. But in fact, asserts the partner with Snell & Wilmer in Tucson, "I am the typical NRA member."
Whats typical of the 2.8 million-member group that she is in line to serve as president in 2002, she says, "is theyre well-educated taxpayers who are law-abiding, respectful neighbors."
Froman, elected in June to serve two years as second vice president of the NRA, will, if tradition holds, assume the mantle of leadership after two more years as first vice president.
While the top job, currently filled by actor Charlton Heston, isnt a sure thingboard members could change their mindsFroman believes she has their confidence despite the divergent views they hold.
"I think Im viewed as a consensus builder," says the civil and labor litigator, who also chairs the Grassroots Development Committee of the NRA and is president of The NRA Foundation, a tax-exempt entity separate from the main organization.
If all goes as planned, Froman will become the groups second woman president. She hopes women leaders (12 of the 76 board members are female) will attract more womennow 10 to 15 percent of membersto the NRA.
Prior to Tucson, Froman was a litigation partner at Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles and a law professor at Santa Clara Universitys College of Law.
An attempted nighttime break-in to her L.A. apartment prompted her to visit a gun store the next day. "That experience is what made me realize the world isnt as safe as I thought it was and I had to take responsibility for protecting myself," says Froman, who was in her early 30s and living alone at the time.
She bought a .45-caliber automatic pistol and took a gun safety course to learn how to use it. "Quite frankly," says Froman, "if that hadnt happened I wouldnt have taken up shooting."
Other reasons have since kept her involved with the NRA. "I believe the NRA is the premier civil liberties organization in this country: it continues to fight for personal liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rightseven though its unpopular with some people."