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A Woman's Perspective

Written by Martha Cotton
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martha hannahI am a very typical Texas wife, mother and grandmother married to a very atypical native Texan.  We met when we were twelve years old, grew up one street apart, have been married for over 39 years and we have two sons.

  We are active with our church, Bay Area First Baptist Church in Friendswood, Texas and other organizations.  Our two sons are grown now and we have one granddaughter, Hannah, and a grandson "Hank."  Of course, our grandkids are the most beautiful in the world, no matter what other grandparents may claim.

My husband Charles is an attorney and he started shooting when he was four years old.  He's been politically active all of his adult life, but I have never really gotten into politics.  In 1980, Charles wrote a bill that would have created a concealed handgun licensing system in Texas, but the bill wasn't introduced in 1981, because someone murdered John Lennon in December, 1980.  Charles tells me this set off a nationwide anti-handgun movement, but I really don't recall.  He finally got the bill introduced later in the 1980's, but again I can't recall when.

 In the mid-1980's, Charles formed a group of Houston attorneys to push for what he called "concealed-carry." He met TSRA's Legislative Director "Doc" Brown and began coordinating efforts with the TSRA.  As is often the case, the attorney "group" quickly became just one attorney, Charles.  But he didn't mind, it was a labor of love.  I couldn't begin to count the number of trips he made to Austin to work with the sponsors of various CHL bills, or the number of hours he has worked on many gun bills since 1980.  I do know he had a big part in writing and passing the concealed handgun law in 1995 and in many of the improvements to that law since 1995.  He was also heavily involved with the Castle Doctrine,  the Motorist Protection Act he just calls the car-carry bill, and the Texas range protection bill last session.

In 2001, Charles was nominated to the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association.  Neither he nor I expected him to be elected on his first nomination, but he was, to our surprise.  A couple of years later, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund.  He is on a lot of NRA committees and spends a lot of time at the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.

Charles has also been a competitive shooter since we were kids and he currently runs the IDPA matches at PSC, along with younger guys he credits for saving the match.  Charles has been a firearms instructor for many years.  He teaches NRA classes, the CHL class, and other courses I don't know much about.  I suspect they are based on the training he has received over the years, including many classes at Thunder Ranch. He is a fanatic about training and he almost had to force me to go to Thunder Ranch the first time.  I hate to admit it, but I loved Thunder Ranch and we have gone there many times over the years.  Charles does a lot more related to guns and gun rights, like public speaking, giving interviews on radio, TV and to newspaper reporters, but you get the picture.

Now that I've described my husband let me say that's not me!  To me a gun is just a tool for self-defense.  While I have carried a gun for many years, and have used a gun twice to defend myself from attacks, I don't view them as works of art and I don't care to own one of each kind of gun ever made.  I have six pistols and one rifle and that's more than enough for me.  I don't like competitive shooting; I've never shot in a match and I never will, no matter how hard Charles tries to get me to "just try it once."  I go to the range a few times a year to practice, but not near as often as Charles would like.  Even he admits that I can shoot very good and it doesn't matter to me that he's a lot faster, more accurate, or just plain better than I am.  I'm good enough for my needs.

Another disagreement we've had for years is my choice about how I carry my gun.  I wear a holster when we go to Thunder Ranch because I have to wear it.  On rare occasions I'll wear one at the range, but I don't carry my gun on my person and I'm not going to start.  This is probably the biggest area of disagreement Charles and I have about guns.  He can't stand the fact that I carry my gun "off-body" as he calls it.  Too bad, holsters are uncomfortable, they don't go with my clothes and I look and feel funny wearing one.  Men can wear just about any kind of holster they want, wearing just about anything they want, but it's not that way with women.  I am a Realtor and I have to dress for my clients.  Charles occasionally reminds me that Realtors have been killed by clients, but I always have my gun with me, just not on me.

I probably sound like I'm bitter about Charles' commitment to guns, training and gun rights, but that's not the case at all.  I'm very proud of what he has accomplished and his commitment to "the cause" as he calls it.  I even appreciate the fact that he doesn't just shrug his shoulders and give up trying to convert me, because I know he does it because he loves me and wants to protect me.  I'm married to a crusader and I think it's wonderful, but I sometimes wish he would take his armor off at the door and just be a normal husband when he comes home.  But that's not who he is and I know it.  He will be a crusader until the day is dies and that's okay.  He just has to understand that we disagree on some aspects of self-defense with guns.

So girls, don't despair if you have a husband, boyfriend or father that drives you crazy trying to make sure you can protect yourself.  You can still learn to shoot, practice and carry a gun, even if it's not exactly the way they want you to do it.  But don't get mad at them either.  It's better that they go a little overboard trying to keep you safe, than to simply not care.

Martha Cotton

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