The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ladies-Only Shooting Clinic called 'empowering'


June 10, 2019


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Ironwood — The 15 women at a firearms training event Saturday expressed a variety of reasons for participating but said they were excited with the opportunity to expand their knowledge, gain some skill and enjoy the company of other women.

“I have a fear of guns,” said Tanya Thomas of Ironwood, who attended the fifth annual Ladies-Only Shooting Clinic at Superior Range Shooters’ Club in Ironwood Township, together with her mother, Debra Pate of Iron Mountain.

Thomas said she hoped that learning more about weapons would help her to overcome her fear.

“I’ve never shot a gun before,” said Jeanine Winkowski of Ironwood. “So many other people have them. Even the kids learn them at Camp Superior.”

Katie Fricker of Ironwood may have been an exception in saying, “I’ve always been a fan of shooting sports and, later in life, started hunting.”

Fricker, who threw an axe for a bull’s-eye on a target, said she hunts “pretty much everything,” including deer, turkey, duck, geese and said she shot a bear a couple years ago. She said she hopes to go out west to hunt elk.

“My dad and I plan to go moose-hunting,” Fricker said.

Jerry Edde, program director, welcomed Saturday’s group and explained that women now play a larger role in police work, FBI and military, but also have personal interests in gun knowledge, such as for hunting or protection.

The training was inspired by a grant from the Friends of the National Rifle Association and was made possible by the instruction and guidance of several different local club members, he said.

Saturday’s training included video presentations to enhance classroom instruction on long guns, including muzzle-loaders; handguns (pistols and revolvers) and even tomahawks. The women were also treated to lunch between the morning and afternoon sessions.

Club members and trainers Gary Lowe explained the operation and mechanics of various guns, and Gary Sell strongly emphasized layers of gun safety.

“Always keep a firearm pointed in a safe direction, even when it’s empty,” said Sell, adding that it is good practice even with toy guns. While illustrating a proper grip, he said to always keep the finger off of the trigger until intending to shoot.

When a gun is not in the hand it must be stored safely, he said. There are many lockable options including a mini-vault that can be kept on a bedside table, he said.

Lowe said that a gun’s safety mechanism always should be on unless it is in use.

Outside the classroom the women were provided safety goggles and earplugs, with the full aid and supervision of club coaches.

The women were given the opportunity to take about 10 shots from each of several types of weapons, including an 1866 Winchester rifle and a Civil War-era muzzle-loader.

Winkowski noted the heaviness of the weapons and said sighting them was not an easy task. “It’ll take a little more practice,” she said. “I’ll get there.”

Sell said gun knowledge is useful, not only for hunting and protection, but also for recreation and competition. Beyond that, he said, it is a constitutional right to own a gun.


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