A survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence, Marchelle Tigner Davis, carried and shot firearms as therapy. Fast-forward, she’s now a firearms instructor and the owner of My Sister’s Keeper Defense – known formerly as Trigger Happy Firearm Instruction.
“I’m comforted knowing that I don’t have to be a victim anymore because I know I can defend myself,” Tigner Davis told Shoppe Black.
A Florida native and current resident of West Bend, Wisconsin, Davis started her firearm instruction company in 2016 because she realized a glaring disparity in representation in the gun community.
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Anytime women troop into the range where she worked, Davis would feel “extremely uncomfortable” while their significant other attempted to teach them about firearms. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe you can do something until you see someone who looks like you in that position,” she was quoted by her company’s website.
For Davis, it is crucially important for black women to learn how to shoot and defend themselves as they are more likely to become victims of domestic violence, as she had been.
It is, therefore, no surprise women are said to make up 60 percent of the membership of the National African American Gun Association. (NAAGA). According to a 2014 survey, 54 percent of blacks in America believe owning guns does “more to protect people than endanger personal safety.”
“I thought when I initially started the organization that there’d be a lot more black men joining to revisit some of the social obstacles and challenges that we have in terms of firearms, but it’s been black woman that has been driving a lot of our growth, and that’s across the board,” Philip Smith, president of NAAGA, said.
“Every day, every week, every month, more and more black woman consistently, from a percentage standpoint, join our organization versus black men, and I really think it’s because of some of the issues that black women have to face specifically based on their position in American society,” he added.
Davis was inspired to venture into the firearms training business by the women who thronged the range and trooping to her to ask if she could train them. After teaching in her words “a ton of private lessons and group classes,” she was desirous of the ability to create her own curriculum and market her own classes.
“So I quit the range and started my business,” she told Shoppe Black. And she craves for a time when people will move away from associating genders to firearms, saying: “Choosing a firearm is like choosing a car, it really just depends on your preferences. The only way to decide what you prefer in a firearm is to take a class and then shoot different firearms.”