I can't help but sit here and shake my head at some of the things I hear on the news. I intentionally keep this space free from discussing my views on current events, not because I don't have an opinion but because that's not why SMT was created. I want you to feel inspired and encouraged when you come here. However, when I hear public figures preaching the exact opposite of what the mission of SMT stands for I tend to get a little defensive. I believe whole-heartedly that women (and all people) have the right to defend themselves and that women don't have to sacrifice their style to be self-reliant. And in this case, they don't have to sacrifice their style to carry a gun.
So when I saw the news clip of former FBI Director & current CNN Analyst, Tom Fuentes, my exact thoughts were "You got to be kidding me." You can google it if you want to see the clip, I refuse to give CNN the clicks, but here is the the full quote of what he said in the clip:
“One of the things a lot of people don't talk about, a lot of these schools—Sandy Hook had an all-female faculty, from principal to teachers. And for a woman, where are you going to hide that gun during the day? You can't put it in your desk drawer; somebody might steal it, and you can't get to it. You're not going to have it in a safe in the principal's office; you can't get to it. On your person, hiding it. If you wear a dress, if you wear a skirt, are you going to have to wear a jacket everyday with a belt and a holster, the way a detective on duty would do? It’s not a real practical solution even for a variety of reasons much less the being adept..”
I think it's real rich that this guy, who obviously has no freakin' clue about women nor probably even spoke to any women (that carry concealed) on this, gets on national TV and implies that it's not practical for a woman to carry. Specifically, if our clothing choice is a skirt or dress or that our only option is a holster, belt, and a jacket. I'm not here to bash this guy but my goodness. He's a former FBI Director?! I would hope he would know better.
For those of you that might also be misinformed, let me enlighten you a bit.
As people, we have the right to defend ourselves in any matter we choose. I have various tools from pepper spray, a stun gun, or edged weapons. But ultimately my choice is a gun. Why? Because I know that evil exists. I know that there are crazy people in this world that want to harm people. While I can't control them, I can be prepared in case those threats find their way to me. That mindset of preparedness has always been within me which is one of the reasons I started Style Me Tactical. I knew that other women shared that mindset too but also there were women who did not. My goal is for women to start thinking about their own personal protection and what they could do to start being responsible for their own safety.
My personal protection journey led me to start carrying a firearm and I was determined to not let carrying a gun change my lifestyle. I wear skinny jeans and ankle boots on date night and guess what, I also have a gun concealed on my body. I have never cared for wearing skirts or dresses (unless it's a party) but when I have worn them, I've got my Chanel bag on my shoulder, Manolo's on my feet, and guess what I also have a concealed gun on my body.
I surely don't look like a detective, Tom.
Sure, not every single piece of clothing I own works for concealed carry but I make adjustments. I have always worn blazers, sweaters, vests, and little jackets. In my pre-concealed carry life they were a great accessory. In my concealed carry life, they still are great accessories but also now double as my cover garment. For those not familiar with the term, a cover garments is just another layer you wear over your shirt to help conceal the handgun even more. Sometimes I wear a tank top under my tops which also help to minimize printing (the gun's outline showing through clothing) as it smooths out the gun. The tank top causes the outershirt to not gather around the gun or settle into the grip between the gun and your body. I wear peplum style tops, printed tops, or tops that have ruching around the waist area to help distract from any printing of the gun. These are tricks of the trade that as women we have learned from other women carrying concealed and from our own trial and error.
You won't find me wearing clothes two sizes too big so I can conceal. You won't find me wearing the dreaded "fishmerman's vest" just so I can conceal. You will find me wearing my own clothes that fit my lifestyle and when I do buy new clothes nowadays, I go in with a different mindset. In the past, I would normally gravitate to something because it was cute. Now I also have to consider what type of concealment it can or can't provide.
For Tom to suggest that women are incapable of carrying due to our garment of choice or that we aren't adept is absolutely absurd. The market is being flooded with many holster options to accommodate different carrying positions for women and gun manufacturers are creating carry-friendly guns which are easier to conceal. Additionally, there are lots of female-focused classes and training programs all over the country that specifically train for concealed carry (Sig Sauer Academy, Tactigal Inc., Defender Outdoors, Gunterest). For anyone who thinks that women can't carry because of what we wear or because we don't know how to use a gun I invite you to go check out all of these amazing women below who have chosen a gun as their personal protection tool, who know how to properly use it, and guess what, they also fit the gun into their lifestyle and clothing choices. You'll find plenty of empowered skirt and dress wearing women among this group.
@alexoathletica | @armedalys | @beautybrainsandbrass | @bluelaunch | @bridgets_beef | @brass_and_beauty | @bullets.n.bows | @concealcarrygirl | @concealedcarrywoman | @concealed_carry_woman | @conceal.carrie | @concealedcarrymary | @concealedwoman | @cuteandconcealed | @gunsandapples |@katosborn25 | @jesikaguns | @pinotsandpistols | @tacticoolmom | @tactigalnyc | @2ndtononeblog | @alysiashot | @guard_glocks_and_gold | @sharpshooterliv | @stephaniebradley_ | @kingsstylenguile | @rachelbee333
And if that's not enough, then check out my Style Me Concealed series that showcases what I wear and how I carry along with helpful tips for women to help navigate this lifestyle. In addition, feel free to listen to a podcast that Amy Robbins and I recently launched, called Not Your Average Gun Girls. We have interviewed leading women in the industry who have years of experience with carrying and shooting a firearm and we talk about some of the challenges women face when carrying, mindset, and other topics related to self-reliance that don't involve a gun. All the women above and including myself, take the responsibility of owning a gun very seriously. We all train and practice in our own ways so that if that day comes when our life might be threatened, we know how to properly handle it.
So while the misinformed "experts" try to suggest to the world that women can't carry, don't know how to, or are not properly trained, I'm here along with all of my fellow #StyleMeConcealed women to prove them wrong . Our clothing isn't going to prevent us from defending ourselves and no one is going to tell us that we can't defend ourselves.
Updated 3/1/18: Based on this article, Amy Robbins, Tiffany Gwen, Alysia Burrows, and myself decided to get online and chat about this. You can check out the full video of our discussion on this my YouTube channel here.