Women, we are told, should not own guns. Women, we are told, are more likely to be injured by their own guns than to fend off an attack themselves. This "fact" is rooted in a fundamental assumption of female weakness and vulnerability. Why should a woman not be every bit as capable as a man of using a firearm in self-defense?
And yet the reality is that millions of American women--somewhere between 11,000,000 and 17,000,000--use guns confidently and competently every day. Women are hunting, using firearms in their work as policewomen and in the military, shooting for sport, and arming themselves for personal security in ever-increasing numbers. What motivates women to possess firearms? What is their relationship to their guns? And who exactly are these women? Crucially, can a woman be a gun-owner and a feminist too?
Women's growing tendency to arm themselves has in recent years been political fodder for both the right and the left. Female gun owners are frequently painted as "trying to be like men" (the conservative perspective) or "capitulating to patriarchal ideas about power" (the liberal critique). Eschewing the polar extremes in the heated debate over gun ownership and gun control, and linking firearms and feminism in novel fashion, Mary Zeiss Stange and Carol K. Oyster here cut through the rhetoric to paint a precise and unflinching account of America's gun women.