NRA effort to attract women off target
I'm not trying to trigger trepidation among firearm enthusiasts.
But it seems that many preconceived notions must be overcome before the National Rifle Association attracts more women to its annual convention. Right now, it's about as popular among women as fly fishing competitions, cigar tasting events and public executions.
More than 75,000 Second Amendment celebrants are expected to descend on Pittsburgh next week for the NRA's signature event. If traditional demographics hold true, the vast majority of attendees will be men.
Nearly 80 percent of the people who went to last year's shindig in Charlotte were male, according to the NRA website -- this despite the organization's recent insistence that female membership is on the rise.
Last month, NRA officials credited Sarah Palin, the TV talking head and caribou-killing former Alaska governor, with helping the group add tens of thousands of women members over the past few years.
If those numbers are accurate, why are the people who will fill every Holiday Inn Express between here and Erie next week most likely to be male?
An NRA spokesperson failed to respond to messages on Tuesday. So I asked Bruce Piendl, the general manager of Anthony Arms & Accessories in West Mifflin, about the NRA convention's gender gap.
"That's not surprising," he said. "Firearm ownership has always been associated more with men than women, and the NRA has a reputation of being a traditional good-old-boys network."
The NRA seems to be attempting to alter that image. Its offerings at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center will include a ladies-only seminar teaching them how to become pistol instructors.
To most women, such a seminar probably wouldn't have the same appeal as, say, a holistic facial at the day spa. But providing people with relaxed, radiant faces isn't part of the NRA's mission.
It's just a theory. But I think that before more women start attending the NRA convention, more of them will have to be armed.
Will that happen• Though gun sales to females increased significantly in recent years, Piendl said, "Sales to women remain the largest untapped growth market in the industry."
The industry is unlikely to successfully tap that market until it conquers the pesky preconceived notions that likely turn off many females to the idea of gun ownership. Women likely won't consider packing pistols if they are concerned that:
-- Spending several hundred dollars on a serviceable handgun might leave them without enough money to get the full treatment at that next visit to the day spa.
-- Carrying a gun in a small purse would leave less room for more important items, such as lipstick or compact.
-- The baggy clothing required to successfully conceal most holsters would make them appear frumpy.
-- Gunpowder residue might stain the new Karen Scott blouse they just bought at Macy's.
-- The gunpowder smell when the weapon is fired could totally overwhelm the Chanel they're wearing.
-- Most firearm accessories come only in one boring color: black.
-- Target practice earplugs simply aren't sexy.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Frye: Figuring out deer dilemma
- History Center looks at Pittsburgh’s role in WWII
- Road Trip! Destination: The Greenbrier
- Pirates notebook: Is it time for Kang to head to Indy?
- Pittsburgh Dance Council to explore ‘reinvention’ in coming season
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Brewers, April 19, 2015
- Defense shines in Pitt football spring game
- U.S. Steel’s reality is small, like planned HQ
- Car dealerships turn advertising, sales focus to women