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Ohio shooting range empowers women in gun use
By Celeste Baumgartner 
Ohio Correspondent

OXFORD, Ohio – It’s Saturday, and A Girl & A Gun (AG & AG) is in full swing at Mayday Gun Range. There’s coffee, donuts, and laughter, lot of laughter. But make no mistake, while there are guns and fun aplenty, Scarlet Day, owner of Mayday, makes sure that safety rules the day.
A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League is a national ladies-only organization established by women shooters for women pistol, rifle and shotgun shooters. The league is designed to take beginners to whatever skill level they wish to achieve and provide experienced shooters with more opportunities.
At every Oxford AG & AG meeting, Day presents a mini-lesson on a different topic. They have questions and answers, and they always go over gun safety. Then they head out to the range and practice. Day, who holds many shooting instructor certifications, watches and offers suggestions.
“My husband and I started doing Tuesday night date nights shooting and then from there it grew,” Day said. “For me, it grew into self-defense and it grew into shooting sports which I love. I compete.”
Eventually, Day and her husband, Jeff, both National Rifle Association-certified instructors, fulfilled a dream when they opened Mayday (Jeff passed away last December).
Day was looking for a women’s shooting organization for the range. She found AG & AG. The national organization got started about 12 years ago when founder Julianna Crowder, a firearms instructor, wanted to gather a group of women for a good time at the gun range.
“We thought this was just a fun thing that was happening and it just grew,” said Robyn Sandoval, executive director. “We host A Girl’s Night Out at about 350 ranges across the country. We train about 40,000 women a year. We host local virtual and destination events.”
They have events for pistols, rifles, shotguns, and “everything in between,” Sandoval said.
“We’re finding that women think this is so much fun to get out and shoot with the girls,” she said. “A lot of them shoot for defensive reasons but some ladies just want to do something different and fun. It surprises us every day, but I am so grateful. I have the best job in the world.”
Day opened an AG & AG chapter at Mayday. “It kind of took off from there,” she said.
They started with trying to empower and educate women on how to use firearms for self-protection and sport, Day said. A few women began with that and they moved on to basic handgun skills.
“As they improved we branched out into competition,” Day said.
“We have some women that are hunters,” she said. “Our biggest thing as a group is education. We are exhausted with going to the gun counter and the salespeople always looking at the male in our presence first when oftentimes we know more than our husbands or boyfriends. We’re tired of that; we want to be taken seriously.”
The women in the Oxford chapter all want something different and fun, and their reasons for being there are as varied as they are.
PJ Bush had never shot. Then she watched a trap and skeet shoot and knew she wanted to do that. She took lessons. She and her husband got into trap and skeet shooting and that led to bird hunting. He had hunted all his life but not birds. They got bird dogs. Now they hunt for their Thanksgiving dinner.
“I like being out with the dog and the challenge of trying to hit the bird,” Bush said. “I like the smell of shotgun shells. It’s fun. I like watching the dogs work and bringing the birds back to you.”
But it was her CCW stuck in her purse that brought her to AG & AG. She decided she wanted to get better with handguns.
“That’s what brought me here to AG & AG,” she said. “I had my CCW but I just stuck it in my purse. I never was good at it. I had a friend who came here and she brought me. I want to be better with my handgun.”
Lori Crout has been in AG & AG for five years. She learned to shoot for self-defense. She wanted to learn more and wanted to learn and shoot with women. Now she shoots competitively.
“I was a long-distance runner and my husband and son would be out of town for long periods of time,” she said. “My husband said there was no safety plan for my running when he was out of town. I said I would fix that. I went and got my CCW. That was what started my journey.
“I don’t know how I ended up here. other than I was seeking to gain knowledge and I wanted to do it with women,” she said. “It sounded like a good time. Never in my life did I think I would be a competitive shooter yet here I am.”
Mannette Shea is a newcomer to the group and shooting. She and her husband live on a farm and he wanted to learn how to shoot. She never liked shooting. A friend was going to teach her husband to shoot and encouraged her to try. Shea resisted. Her grandson said, ‘come on Grandma.’ She tried, hit the target, and watched “the metal spin.” She never looked back. Her husband promised to buy her a gun of her choice for Christmas.
Pat Bostick has been shooting at Mayday since the range opened. She has the simplest explanation for why she is in Ag & AG. “It’s just fun,” she said.