Women from across the country, representing all 50 states, traveled to the nation’s capital last Monday to spend the week meeting with legislators to discuss firearms, self-defense, and cumbersome gun control laws.
The initiative, known as The DC Project, is a nonpartisan, grassroots movement that organizes women to share with lawmakers why they choose to own and carry firearms. Ages ranged from 11 to 76, and included students, moms, competitive shooters, and victims of assault.
After several days packed with meetings, the week culminated with a rally on the West Capitol Lawn on Friday where speakers shared testimonies and discussed the rising demographic of female gun ownership.
The DC Project Indiana Delegate Beth Walker, a 17-year-old student and competitive shooter, spoke about how severe concussions prevented her from participating in traditional sports. Competitive shooting provided a non-contact, detail-oriented sport for her to participate in.
Shayna Lopez-Rivas, the Florida delegate, spoke about the night she was raped on her college campus, and how she decided she would never be a defenseless victim again. After her attack, she went with a friend to shoot for the first time.
“I fired her GLOCK 17, and in the moment I fired it, I knew if I had that gun on that life-altering night, I would not have been raped,” she said.
“The man who raped me was bigger, stronger, and faster than I was. And he always will be based solely on our genders. But with my carry gun those factors don’t matter. You don’t have to big or strong or fast to defend yourself with a firearm.”
Dianna Muller, a champion competitive shooter, former police officer, and founder of the DC Project, said the women had positive meetings with both Democratic and Republican members.
Walker wrote on Facebook that their meetings were impactful and they were met with eager questions from members and staffers.
“Sometimes it’s not about swaying a person’s entire position on an issue, but sparking questions and realizations that there may be things that they have never even considered,” Walker wrote. “Thankful to have a team with me that truly believes and advocates for the Second Amendment. We all come from different backgrounds, but we find commonalities in our dedication to preserve our essential liberties.”