ATASCADERO —The mission of the Santa Lucia Sportsmen’s Association is to provide the community with a safe and controlled environment to learn and practice shooting sports. This mission includes offering programs specifically designed for women interested in the proper use and care of firearms. Women interested in learning can enroll in classes specially designed for them or go to the SLSA range and progress at their own pace.
Organizers find many women are hesitant to venture to the range alone. An exception is Brenda Weatherby, the Director of People and Culture at Weatherby, Inc. Brenda decided to try to learn about various firearms on her own.
“I started going to the range alone, learning about various guns and how they worked,” Weatherby said. “I found this to be really challenging and fun. It allowed me to learn at my own pace, in a very controlled environment, and that gave me a lot of confidence.”
Today, Weatherby is a strong advocate for introducing women to the shooting sports. She has become a champion for inspiring women to investigate with confidence the positive use of firearms for competition, hunting and self-protection.
A flagship program offered to women at SLSA is the Women On Target Pistol Clinic, sponsored by the National Rifle Association. It is an introduction to the use, storage and care of handguns. The most recent class was held on a rainy Saturday in March. Thirty eager women gathered at the SLSA range to participate in the program. Certified NRA Range Safety Officer and volunteer coach for San Luis Sportsman’s Association Guns and Ladies program, Lori Wingfield, presented basic elements of gun safety, knowledge, skill, attitude, and addressing questions like: How do guns and ammunition function? What methods are used for checking a firearm for a safe condition? What are range safety rules? What are my responsibilities as a potential gun owner or participant?
After the class work, the women were provided with safety glasses and ear protection and individual instruction. They were given the opportunity to participate in a practical application using several types of handguns and a variety of firearms: .22 semi-automatics, .22 revolvers, .38 Special, Springfield M&P, Glock .40, and a classic .44 Magnum.
Under the supervision of Wingfield and SLSA range safety officers, the women learned the importance of eye dominance, procedures for live firing, lead contamination, eye and ear protection, first aid and emergency procedures and the importance of no food, beverages or smoking on the firing line.
Participant Dr. Jennifer Kang-Montoya, D.D.S., said, “I came to the class because I was lacking confidence and I was seeking knowledge and clarification. I had all my unknowns answered. I feel confident to go to the range alone to practice. I didn’t realize the tremendous resources provided by the Santa Lucia Sportsmen’s Association located within our community. What is the next step? When is the next class? I’d definitely go!”
The Santa Lucia Sportsmen’s Association encourages women of all ages to join the organization and have the opportunity to learn the shooting sports with confidence in a controlled and safe environment. The next Women on Target introductory class is scheduled for Oct. 6.
For more information, contact Jim Bermann at (805) 461-5624 or visit the SLSA website at santaluciasportsmen.org.