Beca Hafer said she had never felt more helpless in her life than when she learned last summer that Donna SeilerHer husband had shot her dead outside her house on Longmeadow Road.
Seiler had been in her Hafer’s Armorer store west of Hagerstown two days earlier hoping to buy a handgun to protect herself, Hafer said, but she couldn’t because she didn’t have a handgun license , which may take five weeks to obtain.
Hafer doesn’t want something like this to happen again.
The shop is sponsoring a local #NotMe day on behalf of Seiler on Saturday, where women with and without experience can fire three shots from a handgun at a target symbolizing: I am empowered, I am prepared and I will not be a victim. .
“That way they can start to familiarize themselves and start training and acquiring their first handgun,” Hafer said. “I hope they never have to use it, but they will be prepared and they will never be a victim.”
Participation is open to women only from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North American Rod & Gun Club on Belvedere Road off Jefferson Boulevard east of Hagerstown.
There is no cost, but donations will be accepted for the August Tears nonprofit, an organization founded by Seiler’s family to fight domestic violence, Hafer said.
Protective gear and .22 caliber semi-automatic pistols will be provided, Hafer said, along with official targets from The Well Armed Woman organization that will be used at #NotMe Day events nationwide.
“There are a lot of women who want to know, but are afraid to move on or don’t know where to start,” Hafer said. “It gives them a starting point and a starting point to shoot that first round.
“And you will be among like-minded people, women who believe in the Second Amendment and believe in their right to protect their lives and families and are ready to train and educate themselves to do so.”
Hafer hopes for a good turnout.
“I expect more than 100, but I would like to see 500,” she said.
Warm weather is forecast, but the shooting range is under a roof and canopies will be installed to provide shade, according to Hafer.
She said the small arms used were chosen for their low recoil and low noise, which would be easier to handle for novice shooters.
Participants will shoot 5 meters at 8-1 / 2-inch by 11-inch targets, which they can take home, according to Hafer.
At this distance, beginners are likely to hit part of the target even if they don’t hit the three circles labeled I’m Empowered, I’m Prepared, and I Won’t Be a Victim, Hafer said.
“They need this first time to thrive,” she said.
Seiler’s death in August accelerated Hafer’s plans to start a local chapter of The well-armed woman.
“When all that happened, I said, ‘This is more important than anyone thinks’ and the time is right,” she said.
A welcome meeting at the store in March drew 33 women, and that number has already grown to 68 members, Hafer said.
“We are growing by leaps and bounds which is fantastic,” she said.
The four-hour meetings begin with an hour of training and then onto the North American Rod & Gun Club shooting range, where everyone has a chance to shoot, according to Hafer.
Anyone wishing to register can go to https://thewellarmedwoman.com/ and click on the “find a local chapter” link at the bottom of the home page. Contributions cost $ 50 a year to cover liability insurance, Hafer said.
The chapter can also be found on Facebook by entering TWAW Hagerstown.
“Every woman I can help and say she’s ready, I hope that’s one less statistic,” she said.