While a federal judge has temporarily blocked New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Sept. 8 edict suspending the constitutionally-protected right to bear arms in Albuquerque and the surrounding county, this threat is far from over.
Even though extreme gun control activists such as David Hogg, a survivor of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, and politicians such as Rep. Ted Lieu of California have denounced Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional power grab, they continue to push for measures that would leave law abiding citizens defenseless.
“I support gun safety laws,” Rep. Lieu wrote on the social media platform X. “However, this order from the Governor of New Mexico violates the U.S. Constitution.”
However, just over a year ago, Lieu was one of 217 members of Congress who voted to ban America’s most popular home defense rifle, the AR-15.
Instead of making it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect and defend themselves from the growing violent crime epidemic across the country, politicians should end the revolving door justice system which allows violent offenders to be out on the streets. The government’s inability to protect us is why millions of law-abiding citizens like myself are taking personal safety into our own hands.
One out of every five household purchased firearms during the pandemic, including more than 15 million first time gun owners. Today yearly gun sales are running at roughly twice the level of 15 or 20 years ago.
For most of my life, I protected myself by being hyper aware of my surroundings and avoiding people and places that made me feel unsafe. But as I got older and had children, I knew I needed something more.
Five years ago my father invited me to the gun range. It had been more than 20 years since I held a gun in high school Jr. ROTC training. I shot with a sundry of different firearms my parents had collected over the years. The last one I tried was my mom’s personal favorite, the Ruger LC9. After two full magazines, I was hooked.
My parents encouraged me to get my conceal carry permit and after buying my first firearm, I signed up for the class.
When it came time to qualify, the instructor reiterated the rules of being on the line and reviewed the commands. I watched as five gentlemen went up to the line to shoot, each one missing a few shots.
My anxiety was through the roof! After we were done, the instructor went to grade our sheets. When he got to mine and ran his fingers through the 3-inch hole in the center of the plate, he looked up at the class and said, “Don’t piss her off!” The gentlemen in the class all said, “Damn,” and then took a step back. I had never felt so proud and empowered all at once in my life.
That afternoon, my husband approached the instructor who had previously mentioned he was selling his business, and did something I never expected, he made an offer to buy the business. We took over a few months later.
In reflecting on the class, there were few women in it and in the coming months I noticed few, if any, women were coming into the shop to purchase firearms.
Feeling I needed to do something to get more women involved, I joined A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League as a Chapter Facilitator, became an NRA certified advanced pistol instructor and an instructor with the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.
Today I am the New Mexico State Director for the DC Project: Women for Gun Rights, a nationwide organization of women committed to safeguarding the Second Amendment.
As the New Mexico DC Project State Director, I engage every day with lawmakers telling them that safety and violence prevention are achieved through education not legislation. At the local, state, and federal level we already have tens of thousands of gun control laws on the books, many of which are not being enforced.
Let’s enforce what we already have before we start imposing new restrictions which will only make it harder for people like me and you to protect ourselves. Americans all want to live in communities where our children and grandchildren will be safe from violent crime.
The best way to do that is to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals and respect the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to protect and defend themselves.
Nan Barker and her family own and operate Ricochet Shooting Sports in Alamogordo, NM and is the State Director for the DC Project: Women.
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