San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a political action committee promoting Second Amendment rights, has announced that 190 women have completed its #NotMeSD mentoring program and another 100 women are current participating in a one-on-one mentoring program that is helping women begin the journey to protecting themselves with a firearm. SDCGO said that sign-ups are now underway for new program enrollees in 2021. The public is invited to participate.
#NotMeSD, launched by SDCGO in 2019, is a first-of-its-kind, non-partisan initiative 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.
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 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 community participation in the SDCGO’s #NotMeSD initiative 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,”
For more information about the #NotMeSD program, visit www.NotMeSD.org.
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 approaching 3,000 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. 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.