Guns for women: How women can safely use and keep guns Q&A)

Heather Larson

A new book coming out in June 2013 gives women the ammunition they need to learn to shoot. Written by National Rifle Association NRA) certified instructor, Lynne Finch, the book concentrates on the basics: How to buy your first handgun, firing fundamentals, dressing to carry a concealed firearm and safe storage.

Finch, who lives in Northern Virginia, also is an adjunct instructor with Innovative Defensive Solutions and the cofounder of National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day. This annual, nationwide event promotes gun safety along with family bonding through the sport of shooting.

guns for womenIn her book, "Taking Your First Shot: A Woman's Introduction to Shooting and Personal Safety," Finch says that while shopping for a gun, you use the Goldilocks approach and find the one that is "just right" for you. Different-sized hands and various levels of hand strength determine which handgun you can comfortably use.

Finch even gives recommendations on what to wear to ensure your weapon is concealed its holster or purse pouch: prints hide better than solids, side ruching gathers), layers and a jacket or cardigan make effective camouflage.

According to the Insurance Information Network of California, a homeowner's or renter's insurance policy typically will cover theft of a firearm stolen from the premises and liability due to the accidental discharge of a firearm causing injury up to the limits of the policy.

At this time liability insurance isn't required if you own a gun. However, with the surge in recent gun violence, several states have introduced legislation requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance. Predictors say lower premiums will be assessed on those who take gun safety classes, use gun locks and store firearms in secured safes. asked Finch about how women can safely use, store and carry guns.

How women can safely use and store guns

Why did you write this book?

I noticed all the books about shooting for women took the scary approach. They all focused on victimization. I made it my mission to take the fear out of guns and convince women that shooting can be fun and relaxing, almost like having a pedicure. Giving them the basics along with the accepted terminology would serve as a nonthreatening introduction to the sport.

What can you expect to pay for your first gun?

A good defensive handgun costs between $400 and $700. The limit for firearms, under a homeowner's insurance policy, is typically $2,000 for theft or damage from a covered loss like a fire or windstorm. If your guns are valued higher than $2,000, then you need to add an endorsement to your policy to increase the property limit.)

How do you find the right instructor when you first begin shooting?

I strongly encourage first-time shooters to begin with formal training. You will learn safe gun handling, the fundamentals of shooting, how to stand, how to hold a pistol, how to use your sights and how not to develop bad habits right off the bat. The NRA seems to represent the gold standard for vetting teachers. You can search on their website for ones in your locale. The person you choose needs to understand the safety rules and be able to convey them to you. Whether you prefer group classes or individual sessions depends on your comfort level.

Are there classes on how to protect yourself with a gun?

You can find a course in just about anything having to do with shooting. I recommend NRA's First Steps and then taking advanced training in the specialty you want. FIRST stands for Firearm Instruction, Responsibility, and Safety Training. You can learn about personal protection both inside and outside the home. All classes require outside practice at a range to improve your accuracy.

How should your firearm be stored, especially in a home with children?

You want it available, but not accessible to children). Keep your gun in a locked container, bolted to the floor or the wall, so the responsible person can get to it, but the kids can't. I prefer a combination lock over using biometrics like a fingerprint) to open the safe. If you're nervous, you might have to swipe your finger more than once to make it work. With a combination lock, I know I can get my gun quickly.

Should you teach your children gun safety or just not tell them there's a firearm in the house?

I tell my students that I when I was young I could always find all the Christmas presents in the house no matter how well they were hidden. Inevitably your kids will find the gun, so it's crucial that it be in a locked box. Teaching them about gun safety will give them the knowledge they need should they encounter a firearm anywhere else.

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