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The Voice of the Black Community

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Shooting club takes aim at empowering Black women
Arming for awareness and protection
 
Published Sunday, July 19, 2020 6:27 pm
by Freda Freeman | The Triangle Tribune

PHOTO | FREDA FREEMAN
Joy Allen, co-founder of InHER Piece Ladies Shooting Club, demonstrates a pistol at a recent session in Raleigh.

RALEIGH – Defending yourself is not only knowing how to use a weapon. It’s the confidence and belief you are worth defending.


Two Raleigh women have joined forces and founded InHER Piece Ladies Shooting Club to empower African American women through firearms training. The club’s motto is “Peace of mind, one round at a time!”


“We want women to have confidence, knowing that, if you need to, you can defend yourself. When I first started teaching classes, I always asked the ladies to raise their hand if they were willing to kill for one of their children, and 99% of the ladies would raise their hand. But when you ask a woman, ‘would you be willing to kill someone else to save your life,’ they hesitate. “Women, particularly women of color, have always been taught and were raised in society to defend and to nurture everyone else. So, I found that through teaching firearms, we’re not only teaching self-defense, but we’re really teaching confidence,” said Joy Allen.


Allen is the owner of E3 (empowering, educating, and enjoying) Personal Defense and Safety along with Ebony Hartsfield-Thorne, owner of GuzNBlackRosez Firearms Training. Both women started shooting about five years ago, and each is a certified National Rifle Association pistol instructor.


According to the National African American Gun Association, about 19% of African Americans nationwide own firearms, and single black women are one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the black community who are buying guns for protection. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports a 77% increase in female gun ownership since 2005.


Hartsfield-Thorne said women should be armed and ready to protect themselves and their families, if needed.


“I feel all women should be armed, but, for Black women, I take it very personally because I am one myself and I’m raising one. We face discrimination for race and gender on a daily basis, and I just want to make sure they are armed with knowledge and awareness,” she said.


Allen started shooting as a hobby in 2015 after taking a class with Chris Tilley, a Winston-Salem native who’s a U.S. Practical Shooting Association grand master and a former competitor on the History Channel’s “Top Shot” marksman competition. She continued to develop her skill and became a certified instructor. Allen and her husband, Chris, who are both pastors, initially partnered with churches and nonprofit organizations to bring basic gun training to communities where people generally would not be able to afford it.


Generally, the starting price for a basic training course is $120.


“I started the company because as I was shooting at ranges and going to meetings and classes, there was never anyone who looked like me, never any other females, never any other African Americans,” Allen said.


Although more women are buying guns, Allen said very few shooting clubs cater to minority women. “What I hope is for women to come together and see themselves represented,” she said. “I preach all the time that representation matters.”


If we look through history, the reason people feel that they are subpar and that someone is superior is because that’s what they see,” she said.


Hartsfield-Thorne hopes the club will help women view firearms positively and, in turn, help others see women as skilled gun owners. “I hope it becomes a safe haven for women to come and feel comfortable,” she said. “I see it firsthand being in the gun world, men feel women don't have the proper knowledge when it comes to firearms. I hope this group will show women and firearms in a positive light, not negative.”

The shooting club, which is open to everyone and all experience levels, meets on the second Sunday of each month for safety seminars, range activities, and community outings at Eagle 1 Supply, a Black-owned firearms supply store and firing range in Raleigh. Eagle 1 Supply is also the home base for NAAGA-Triangle Chapter. The cost is $20 per meeting, which covers range fees and meeting materials.


Attendees are encouraged to bring their own firearms; however, gun rentals are available. Ammunition can be purchased at the range.

Comments

Thank you so much Joy for your dedication to the women who love the Shooting Sport! I am one!
Posted on July 21, 2020
 

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