Last week at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, I had the honor of catching up with world shooting champion, hunter, Army veteran, mother, author and Smith & Wesson team captain Julie Golob. Julie has won over 120 championship titles and wrote her first book, SHOOT: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition, in 2012. If you’re new to shooting or want to learn more about the sport, I highly recommend picking up her book. She also offers tips and tricks on everything from cooking wild game to shooting on her website. You can read part one of our conversation here.
KP: The economic impact of the gun industry gets lost [in the media conversation], especially on an individual level with people like you who have been able to thrive on so many different levels in the industry with your competition, with your blogging, with your book. Can you please explain a little bit how the industry has really provided you with an environment to grow and thrive in ways that you wouldn’t think are typical inside the industry and the gun culture?
JG: It is a very friendly culture to be in, it’s a very supportive culture and it’s a family unit. It’s like the biggest family ever.
KP: Yeah, it’s a pretty big family, that’s for sure.
JG: You know, if someone is sick or hurt or if someone needs help we all bond together and I think that resonates. Having that sense of community is very important. You know, you have your independence at the same time because you have this human right, this freedom, the Second Amendment movement, but at the same time, we’re part of something bigger and I think that the industry is part of that. Whenever somebody has an idea, especially a woman, they get embraced here, ‘How can we help you? How can we make you business grow?’ I’ve been very fortunate to have that.
KP: A lot of the time we hear this argument and see this disconnect between politics and a lot of people who just kind of want to shoot and do their thing and the argument that I hear is, “I don’t want to get political.” My counter argument has always been, “Well, you might not like politics, but politics likes you and if you like what you’re doing in the shooting industry you better get involved somehow.” So, what would say to people who kind of just sit back and think, ‘Well I won’t make a difference,’ or ‘nothing will happen so long as I don’t say anything?” Obviously you’ve been outspoken about new gun control measures because you understand how it impacts the industry but how do you think we can get that message to more people and help them understand they have to say something if they want to protect their industry and keep things they way they are now.
JG: You know it’s a flinch factor, ‘Oh I don’t want to say anything because I might be uncomfortable,’ or ‘Somebody might scold me or I might get into an argument,’ but in reality when you have the facts, and the facts are on our side, and you approach it in a way that you’re comfortable with whether it’s at a grassroots level in your community or just volunteering at your local club and trying to bring people in, being that real, personal representative of gun ownership is critical. Instead of just seeing certain talking heads that some parts of the media want us to see as, ‘Oh this is the person that we want to portray,’ when in reality, the girl next door, the guy next door, the woman, the single mom, all of these people are gun owners and if they can learn to open up and be just a little more comfortable about it…it doesn’t have to be crazy. You have to be aware because otherwise, it’s all going to go away.
KP: What have you seen change the most in the past five years and what do you see happening in the next five years in terms of the industry?
JG: I think the growth of women in the industry has been exponential and specifically the industry paying attention the gun needs of women. It’s not just pink products, it’s not just you know, feminine kind of merchandising, it’s actual feature based stuff because we’re smart, we’re smart buyers and we know what works and we know what we want and it needs to be something that we can use. We’re seeing more of that. I think in the next five years it’s going to be even bigger and better. You look at the number of things, women owned companies, the number of women VP’s who are running businesses in the industry, it’s not this picture that so many people think that it’s just this guy’s club where it’s guns, motorcycles and beer. It’s not that. It’s broader, it’s a really big world.
Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.