Recently I’ve been asked by friends and family what I think about concealed carry. More specifically, they wanted to know if they needed to run out and buy a gun.

Because I was previously a gun toting mama working in law enforcement, people tend to have  pre-conceived ideas of what I must think about guns, pepper spray, tasers, nunchucks, American ninja warriors, etc. Generally, they’re wrong.

My answer…if you want to learn about how to use, care for, and protect a weapon, go for it. If you want to go to the shooting range and release some aggression on a target, fantastic. If you want to take a ninja martial arts class to learn the latest kung foo skills while getting some exercise…you go girl!

Guns, tasers & pepperspray will NOT guarantee your safety

But if you think carrying a gun in your purse, owning a pink taser and pretty pepper spray is going to assure your safety…think again.

The reality is, if someone surprises you while you’re walking out to your car in a dark parking lot you simply will not have time to dig your gun out of your purse. Attacks like these happen in seconds and are much more rare than what the media (and multiple gun sellers) would have believe.

Even if you were holding your pretty pink pepper spray while approaching your car, do you really think you’ll have time to point, shoot and aim? Have you ever even tried or are you just hoping that when you push the button some kind of seriously nasty spray will lurch out hitting the bad guy in the face? After all…that’s what happens in the movies.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but television makes everything seem easier than it really is. Unfortunately pepper spray doesn’t work on everyone. It’s almost certain the laws of the universe will come into play, the wind will hit just right, and you will spray yourself. Of course it will always work on you, just maybe not the meth head who wants to attack you.

How about that shiny new Glock. Will it make you feel more powerful? Stronger as a woman? Maybe. Will it actually protect you in the event of an attack? Maybe. Maybe not. Much more goes into being able to protect yourself with a gun than going to the firing range once or twice. Do you know how to retain your weapon even when confronted by someone much stronger than you, who also has the element of surprise on their side? How quickly can you draw, aim, and fire? What do you do if you get a jam? Are you sure you’ll be able to pull the trigger without hesitation?

What I’m suggesting is that as law enforcement we train for literally hundreds of hours and fire thousands of rounds. We have muscle memory. Our arms know right where to go to find our weapon. We have it drilled into our heads not to hesitate. We take defensive tactics courses and know how to maintain our weapon.

It’s not political, it’s reality

Don’t get me wrong, this is in no way a political statement. It really doesn’t matter to me if you lean right or lean left. I’m not interested in political arguments about the right to carry a firearm. With that said, I firmly believe many gun sales, pepper spray wholesalers etc., who focus their marketing efforts on selling their goods to women, are simply attempting to profit off of fear. I do not believe what they’re selling will ultimately keep you safe.

Now, some of these products might make you feel more secure. But will they always work? At the end of the day you can only rely on one thing to stay safe…you.

What will keep you safe?

So what can you do to stay safe? I wish it was as easy has paying $500 for a gun or finding pepper spray that matches our bag. But it isn’t.

But don’t worry…you’re not a sitting duck in a land full of boogie men jumping out of bushes. First, try to find a reputable self-defense class. Preferably one taught by former or current law enforcement. You don’t need to know fancy kung foo skills. You only need a few basic self-defense tactics. Remember my comment above, if you love martial arts…you go girl (in fact get some exercise in for me too)! The same goes for guns. If you really enjoy going to the range and learning about weaponry, fantastic. But please understand a gun alone will not guarantee your safety.

The second part of staying safe takes a little more practice. You need to start to harness the strength of your intuition. I’ll have plenty more on this secret super power, but for now just know there is nothing secret about this power you already have.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts. I know this can be a controversial topic and I actually enjoy having this discussion with friends.

Until next time stay safe!

I talk a lot about women empowerment. In my opinion that has nothing to do with carrying a weapon. When we carry a gun we accept an added resposibiilty.

when the wind hits it just right and the pepper blows back in your face. How about those super cool fight scenes Wonder Woman throws a few punches and knocks out the bad guy? In reality, when you’re fighting for your life a two minute struggle will feel like an eternity. just like everything else, television makes things look easier than it really is. The unfortunate reality is that

By | 2017-05-12T11:49:40+00:00 May 5th, 2016|Safety|0 Comments

About the Author:

After 14 years of interrogating predators as a Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Heather Ryan founded Safe in the City. Now she travels the country spilling the bad guy’s secrets. Heather speaks to corporations, universities, and women’s groups about intuitive leadership, teamwork, sexual assault prevention and social media safety. Visit her website at to learn how she can help empower members of your organization to become strong, self-assured leaders.

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