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RI – SELF-PROTECTION – ‘God forbid something happens’: More women become gun owners as firearm sales surge in 2020

The Newport Rifle Club’s all-women’s pistol class was supposed to begin at 9 a.m., but even before the start time, many of the women had already taken their seats. They flipped through the pistol shooting handbooks placed at each chair and looked curiously at a table full of unloaded guns. The front wall was peppered with little holes from airgun pellets. Dave Balasco, Newport Rifle Club’s chief instructor, kicked off the day with the basics of pistol safety. “When I was trained, it was just embedded, pounded into my head — pick up the gun with your finger off the trigger,” he said. “To this day, I pick up a Windex bottle [and] my finger comes off the trigger.” He gestured to a worn poster board and read aloud two other rules. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. And always keep it unloaded until you’re ready to fire. Some of the women started taking notes while others nodded along. Cheryl — who like most of the women, asked to be identified only by her first name — was sitting at the front of the class. She said she was excited but frightened to handle a gun, and she still couldn’t believe she signed up. “God forbid something happens, I hope I’d never have to use it. But I just want to protect myself,” she told me. Balasco said it’s common for beginners to feel nervous, but he warned that soon enough, they’d be hooked. Once you own one gun, you’ll eventually want to buy another, he said.  [full article]

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