As adamant defenders of our Constitution, us conservative women know that it is our constitutional right to “keep and bear arms” under the Second Amendment. Thanks to this privilege, we have the opportunity to conceal carry, which is arguably the ultimate equalizer for women to defend themselves. But while you may respect others’ decision to conceal carry, it is certainly a serious decision and weighty lifestyle change to commit to this yourself. For these reasons and more, you should by no means feel obligated to undergo this process if you are uncomfortable. Yet, if you’re even considering it and would like to have an inside perspective at the benefits of this option, six women divulged their thoughts and feelings as they took this step to protect themselves and their loved ones:

Brenna Spencer:

“I grew up around guns, I have a few family members that served in the military so I’ve always been around them. I didn’t really consider carrying one until my father got his carry permit. He definitely encouraged me to carry a gun when I was legally able to. When I moved away for college, I knew that I no longer had my father around me 24/7 to protect me, at this time I still was not old enough to legally carry so I only had pepper spray. My junior year of college (2016) I moved into an apartment building that wasn’t the safest and wasn’t in a good area. We had armed robberies and, In fact, that same apartment has had 2 shootings so far this year. So pretty much instantly after I turned 21 I decided to get my carry permit. There were so many times on campus where I felt so unsafe, I knew that if something happened I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. It was the worst feeling. College was a turning point for me. It taught me how I have to rely on myself for protection. And just in the past couple of years my reasoning for carrying has developed even more. After my viral photo in 2018, the amount of hate and death threats I received was terrifying. People tweeted my address of where I lived at college as well as my parents home in Nashville. So this gave me even more of a reason to carry. I knew I would receive hate but I never guessed that I would have so many people wish death upon me. It was such an eye opening experience. Carrying my gun has been the most empowering experience. I don’t carry out of fear, I carry to be vigilant. I carry so that I protect myself and the people I love. And, I put myself out there so that I can encourage as many people, like myself, to carry and protect themselves.”

Kallie Barley:

“One of the main reasons I want to start working towards my CHL at the start of the year is my own personal protection. I work at a university that has about 40,000 students and am living alone, and have the desire to protect myself if something were to happen. As a survivor of abuse and being a small person, I know there is only thing that will protect me should someone try to mess with me, my handgun. With my CHL, I will be able to protect myself anywhere I go; from the dog park to my job to traveling to see friends and family. Being able to protect myself is one of the greatest things I can do for myself, and I cannot wait to start the process.”

Anna Stenberg:

“I grew up in the country with two former military parents and a grandfather in law enforcement, so gun ownership was a normal way of life for my family. I always felt safe at home knowing that one or both of my parents could protect and defend us if it ever came to that. My dad taught me how to shoot and taught me everything I know about guns, and my parents also taught me a healthy respect for firearms. For as long as I can remember, I looked forward to turning 21 so I could get my concealed carry permit. Moving out and living on my college campus left me feeling incredibly vulnerable at times, especially one year when a string of break-ins happened on my block. Although I wasn’t allowed to carry on campus, once I got my permit I started carrying everywhere I could. One of my jobs after college was working for a presidential campaign in a different state. I was living all by myself and sometimes driving multiple hours per day and arriving home very late at night, but knowing I had my gun with me always gave me peace of mind (and gave my parents peace of mind too). These days, my husband feels reassured by knowing that I’m carrying when I go somewhere alone. He carries too, and I feel extra safe whenever we go somewhere together. We live in a scary world and you truly can never be too vigilant. I highly recommend that every woman consider carrying. If you familiarize yourself with shooting, practice practice practice, and get comfortable with whichever gun you decide to carry, then carrying will become like second nature to you. Remember that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy (or gal) with a gun!”

Natalie from www.elegantandarmed.com,:

“Thanks to my Dad, I got my concealed carry permit well before I decided to use it. As a Christmas present, he arranged for our entire family to attend a CCW class together. It turned out that we were the only people in the class, which made it much more fun. I was happy to take the course and expected to pick up some good safety information but didn’t plan to actually carry a gun.

After college when I moved out of my parents’ house permanently, I started feeling uneasy. I had no roommates and I was no longer under the protection of my parents’ roof. It took me a while, but I finally realized I was uneasy because I was now responsible for my own safety at a whole new level. That’s when I started carrying a firearm and began making choices that enabled me to go from feeling helpless to empowered.

A friend once shared that she thought it was being paranoid to carry a firearm. I read a quote recently that I feel addresses this concern perfectly. “It’s not about the odds, it’s about the stakes.” I believe self-defense is not just about having a set of skills, it’s the mindset that you and your loved ones are worth being protected.

I acknowledge there are people in this world who have either the intention or willingness to harm others to get what they want. Because of that, it’s essential for society to have people who are willing to stop violence (police, military, firefighters, concealed carry permit holders, etc). That’s why I continue to carry. As I strive to be a responsible gun owner, I hope those around me will be at least somewhat safer because of it. It’s possible I’ll never need to use my gun (I hope that’s the case!), but I’d still like to be prepared.”

Lucy Kate Harrill:

“I would like to preface this by saying that I grew up around guns. My father taught me very early only that guns were not toys and he took me to safety classes so that I could learn about the proper way to handle, care for and have guns. I decided to carry because I honestly feel safer around guns. On my mom’s 45th birthday, her father [my grandfather]’s gift was a handgun carry class. We took the class together on a Saturday and made a girls day out of it. In the end, both she and I felt comfortable and protected. I am not naïve to the dangerous of the world around me. By carrying, I’m executing my constitutional right and feeling safer. My advice to anyone carrying, don’t let anyone try to deter you from your decision. If it works for you and you feel comfortable, go for it! And my second piece of advice would be to take a class with a friend or multiple.”

Jennifer Schoewe:

“I decided to start carrying as a way to heal after I was sexually assaulted in college. I’d felt like a victim when I wanted to be a survivor. One important step in this transformation is taking back control of your life. I viewed firearms as equalizers between men and women and vowed to take every precaution I could to never be victimized again. Buying my first firearm was indescribably empowering, and no one can take that from me.

By the time I made the life-changing decision to exercise my Second Amendment right, I was already a member of the NRA. I researched and shot different types of handguns and eventually chose one that fit me well. Immediately after, I enrolled in the NRA course for Conceal Carry permits in my area and was further trained on my skills and responsibilities. Since then, I have found an immense amount of healing in going to ranges and working on my precision.

I made peace with the fact that a gun would not have stopped my assault, as I was under the legal age to purchase a handgun. But I carry today because I have taken my safety into my own hands. I aim to protect my own life and the precious lives of those around me. I look to the future with hope in my heart and a holster on my hip.”

Lucy H
CABINET MEMBER

Lucy Hutchinson is a proud Pennsylvanian and daughter of Christ. She is a junior at Washington & Jefferson College and she aspires to attend medical school through the military to eventually become a dermatologist. When she’s not advocating for Israel, sun protection, agriculture, or GMOs, she’s probably studying or waiting around for her 21st birthday so she can obtain her concealed carry permit. (Not sponsored by Chick-fil-A but should be.)