Standing On Their Shoulders – A Tribute To Women Who Paved The Way In The Firearms Industry
By Julie Loeffler
We stand on the shoulders of the women who have come before us. There are a select group of women in the firearms industry who have made significant contributions that have paved the way for more women to enjoy all that shooting has to offer. Often times, these women are overlooked as the industry is searching for the latest and greatest developments. The American Woman Shooter is honored to spotlight these great women, have them share their thoughts and comments about then and now, and what they see in the shooting industry͛s future for women. We hope you enjoy learning about this extraordinary group.
In The Spotlight: GILA HAYES
Gila Hayes currently manages day-to-day operations of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, Inc., acts as their editor for the Network͛s online journal, is author of the books 1) Effective Defense, 2) Personal Defense For Women, and 3) Concealed Carry For Women. She has also been published in numerous industry magazines and columns, and served as women͛s editor for Gun Digest. She is an innovator in the industry, and we are grateful to be able to interview her for this issue͛s spotlight.
How long have you been shooting?
Since the early 1990s
What got you started?
I moved to Seattle at the height of the Green River killer͛s murder spree. It wasn͛t clear at that time that he targeted prostitutes primarily and the printing company where I worked a swing shift was right in the area where the women were disappearing. Everyone in Eastern Washington was on edge about attacks against women. Since it was not public knowledge how the young women were being killed, I decided the martial arts I͛d studied for several years might not be up to the challenge so bought a gun and learned how to use it.
What made you continue?
Carrying a gun for self defense is a serious responsibility and its not right to undertake without substantial training. There is always someone who shoots better than you, so it is a good challenge to keep working hard to improve personal skills. How has the industry changed as it relates to women? There is today a much better selection of concealment-sized handguns in reasonable self defense calibers. There are now a lot more women teaching and female students are common enough that they are not a novelty in classes.