Girls learning confidence and self-defense with guns

MINTURN, Colorado
"Stop! I have a gun. Leave my house," shouted the 11-year-old girl.

And with the words barely out of her mouth, Noel Smith opened fire.

Any intruder would be dead on his back, but this was just practice. Noel, along with seven other women, was practicing her marksmanship at a session of Girls and Their Guns, a summer-long program that teaches women how to shoot and about gun safety.

On the crisp Saturday morning at the Minturn firing range, shots echoed across the valley leaving the smell of gunpowder lingering in the air.

Noel cocked her head, squinted her eyes, placed one leg in front of the other and squeezed the trigger. Five women lined up next to her in variations of the same stance.

"I've always wanted to know what guns were like and how they were used," said Noel, who's been shooting for nearly two years and learned of the program from her karate teacher, Mathew Bayley, who teaches the gun class. "When I heard he was doing this, I really wanted to try it. ... I've been stuck to it ever since." . . .

Thanks very much to Matthew Ledyard for sending me this link.


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