Shirley Hedge of Leesburg, Florida, believes wholeheartedly in her right to bear arms. A member of the Pennbrook Pistoleros shooting club, she recently spoke with the Orlando Sentinel about the reasons she’s become a gun enthusiast — and detailed her quest to obtain a concealed-carry license.
It wasn’t until she was widowed that Hedge, also known as “Shotgun Shirley,” realized the importance of self-protection.
“My husband died three and a half years ago and I realized that, except for a friendly dog, I really have no weapons of defense at my ready if someone should break in,” she explained.
“I believe that it’s important to have the opportunity and the right to bear arms…I never want to shoot anybody, but I want to know how to safely handle it,” Hedge continued.
The widow believes that it is important, especially for women who live alone, to be schooled in self-defense. In addition to home attacks, she highlighted that parking lots are also known as areas in which women could fall victim to an attack.
She has applied for her concealed-carry license to protect herself when she’s out and about and in potentially vulnerable situations.
Importantly, “Shotgun Shirley” noted that, in her concealed carry class, participants were encouraged to do whatever possible to avoid shooting someone. While many critics would argue that increased gun availability is a recipe for more recklessness and violence, Hedge claims that she was explicitly taught to avoid dangerous situations.
“The last thing they want anybody to do is to shoot somebody,” she said of her two-day concealed-carry class she took.
Watch Hedge speak about her experience, while also firing a gun, below:
(H/T: Orlando Sentinel)