RANCHO SANTA FE — Firm believers in the Second Amendment, a group of Rancho Santa Fe women meet monthly at an indoor shooting range and exercise their right to bear arms. Known as the Lady Shooters, the group comprises members of the Rancho Santa Fe Republican Women, Federated and is led by Jody Bray.
Bray created the Lady Shooters in the 1990s with a group of teachers. It disbanded and restarted a few times before its most recent revival in Rancho Santa Fe in 2008. Since then, Bray said, membership has grown to include about 35 women. On the second Thursday of the month, six to eight of them — although not always the same ones — make the trip to the American Shooting Center on Ruffin Road.
Some, like Bray, own their own weapons and go to hone their skills. “I’ve shot rifles, but I want to become more proficient in handguns,” she said.
Others, like two recent newcomers, have never held a gun. For them, there is Bruce Ruff, an associated member of the Rancho Santa Fe Republican Women, Federated who is now retired after a 30-year career in law enforcement. He accompanies the group to the shooting range to offer basic instruction and hands-on training.
“I know issues of the Second Amendment are of concern with the invasion of our nation by criminal illegal people,” said Ruff, one of four candidates for San Diego sheriff. “We have a need for people to defend themselves. I want them to handle weapons safely so there are no unintentional injuries.”
Bray said the Second Amendment is “what keeps free people free.”
“The more the public understands that gun owners ensure freedom, the better,” said Bray, a Texas native who recalls shooting her first gun when she was probably younger than 10. “I grew up with guns hanging on the wall,” she said.
Her current collection includes a .22-caliber Browning automatic long rifle and a .22-caliber Smith & Wesson. During her most recent visit to the shooting range, Bray tried a .38-caliber handgun for the first time. She said she likes it because it has much more power, but the .22-calibers are less expensive and easier to handle.
Bray said the only time she’s had to use a gun for protection was to shoot a rattlesnake — directly in the mouth — while hiking in the mountains. “I’ve never had to use a gun (on a person), but I want to be able to do it safely if I ever have to,” she said.
Although she used to shoot dove and quail, Bray said she no longer hunts. “Killing things is not my style,” she said. “Guns are for protection. If, in the process of protecting, you have to kill someone, that’s what it’s for. Better them than you.”
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