In celebration of International Women’s Month, San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a political action committee promoting Second Amendment rights, has announced more than 345 local women have applied to participate in its #NotMeSD mentoring program that helps women begin the journey to protect themselves with a firearm.
In addition, SDCGO reports more than 275 women have completed the #NotMeSD program that is designed to end sexual assault and domestic violence by educating women about firearms and helping all women everywhere with purchasing a firearm, receiving firearms training and obtaining a permit to carry a concealed firearm.
SDCGO officials said sign-ups of new enrollees are continuing at a steady pace in #NotMeSD, a first-of-its-kind, non-partisan initiative launched in 2019. All women are invited to learn more about the #NotMeSD program at www.NotMeSD.org.
According to Wendy Hauffen, SDCGO chief operating officer, the #NotMeSD initiative consists of three simple steps, beginning with getting training from certified trainers to help prepare women to properly handle and store firearms. The next step is free information and advice about selecting and buying a firearm from reputable, licensed dealers, followed by assistance in obtaining a concealed-carry weapon (CCW) permit, if desired.
“Our goal is to empower women everywhere and enable them to become their own first line of defense,” said Hauffen. “Becoming a gun owner can feel like a complicated and intimidating process, and we want to provide a safe space for women to ask questions of other female gun owners. That’s why we created this program for women, by women. We are here to promote the safety and security of women through concrete action and we oppose anyone who tries to belittle, criticize or silence women who want to protect themselves.”
Hauffen said the information and mentorship are free, although there are costs for participants related to training, firearms purchases, and licensing fees. Grants may be available for those who may need it.
“There are many ways to prevent rape and domestic violence and there are many experts from other fields, such as legal, legislative and mental health. But #NotMeSD is our area of expertise and our way to help,” Hauffen said. “SDCGO is proud to do our part to champion women everywhere.”
In 2020, SDCGO responded to the growing participation in #NotMeSD with the hiring of Desiree Bergman as #NotMeSD project manager.
“We have open slots available and mentors ready to help interested women become their own, best personal protector,” Bergman said. “Guns can be scary, but we are here to mitigate the fear of firearms and empower women with the knowledge, comfort and confidence to handle firearms safely and confidently,”
Founded in 2015, the San Diego County Gun Owners is a registered political action committee (FPPC ID #1379388) and advocacy organization focused on organizing the gun industry and community and protecting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. With a membership of more than 2,500 individuals, the PAC provides news and information on new gun laws and Second Amendment advocacy. Its sponsored events include gun safety classes, small gun shows, sporting clay shoots, social gatherings and pistol, rifle and shotgun experiences taught by professional instructors.
Based on its membership size, SDCGO is believed to be San Diego’s largest registered political action committee (PAC), as well as San Diego’s largest civil rights organization, according to Michael Schwartz, SDCGO executive director. SDCGO features a diverse and inclusive membership with representatives the LGBT, Latino, African American, Asian and Pacific Islander communities. While every U.S. state has a Second Amendment PAC, along with several nationwide gun rights PACs, the SDCGO is believed to be the America’s first, strictly local, countywide Second Amendment advocacy organization. For more information, visit www.sandiegocountygunowners.com.