Bill's Gun Shop has ladies locked and learning
|Teresa Reiter offers a straight-talk approach to handgun safety.|
Last weekend, the popular shop and range held its third "Girls with Guns Gala and Expo," offering attendees a thorough makeup of gun safety and applicable handgun instruction.
This was the third time in the past 15 months that Bill's has held the event, and given the popularity of the two-plus-hour course and adjoining expo (jewelry, cosmetics, apparel) more like-minded seminars are soon to come.
"Speaking from a woman's point of view, I think women are more empowered now," says Bill's office manager Chelaine Palmgren, who oversees the Gala. "In today's society, you need to feel a little safer, so that you can walk the streets, so you can be alone. And there are a lot more women that are alone--single mothers, women getting married older. They don't have that man around--they chose not to. For themselves they're feeling, 'I have to learn to be safe.' From the shooting aspect of the class, they're feeling safe for handling the gun and on the other hand once they do it they say, 'My gosh, this is so much fun.'"
"The Arizona shootings: that's why a lot of the women are here," Palmgren says. "They're here because they really want to understand what gun safety is all about. They want to be able to recognize a gun. Is it a real gun? Is it not a real gun? The [reports] mentioned that the shooter in Arizona used a Glock--which is a 9 millimeter--when he shot the congresswoman. People are like, 'What's a Glock?'"
The event begins with an hour-long basic safety course, during which instructor Teresa Reiter offers a straight-talk approach to an overview of handgun safety, description of ammunition, and the proper way to both handle a handgun and align one's body. Knowledge of the subject matter usurps politics here, and Reiter keeps the session moving with a steady flow of conversational instruction peppered with cultural reference.
"Please forget everything you've learned from a Hollywood screen," Reiter tells a captivated audience of more than 30 women of varying ages in the day's third and final session. After Reiter moves through a taut syllabus, the women will move to the range, where they'll fire three handguns: a .22 caliber, a Glock 9, and a .38 caliber.
While some of the women are familiar with handguns, for others, this will be the first time shooting a gun.
"I've done shooting in the past, but I also know that I have bad habits so I wanted to learn from the bottom up again," said Gala attendee Kathrine Hill. "I do have a couple of new guns that I want to get started with, but I want to get started with them correctly. I call them 'Bubba' and 'Maxine.' Bubba is made in Minnesota, an Arctic Panther rifle. Maxine is a Wilson 45."