Members of The DC Project pose for a group picture at their Capitol Hill rally on July 12, 2019. // Credit: Gabriella Hoffman
The future of shooting sports is female and they are here to stay.
Meet the group of women who are helping to lead the charge: The DC Project.
I was recently invited to cover both their rally and their range day event.
The organization is nonpartisan in nature and strives to help “women to establish relationships with their legislators, and reveal the faces and stories of real gun owners.” It brings together women from all 50 states, at least one from each state, to Washington, D.C., each summer to lobby Members of Congress and share their stories about gun ownership. During this four-day flyover, the ladies dispel common myths about firearms ownership and persuade politicians and their staff to defend gun rights if they don’t already.
I was told, during their Capitol Hill rally last week, they had women from nearly all 50 states—just shy of a few. When the group first started several years ago, that wasn’t the case. Organizers believe the growth in participation is attributed to word-of-mouth and social media use.
Dianna Muller, a competitive shooter and retired police officer, was inspired to start the group after she met with her Member of Congress. It was there she recognized the need for women to meet with their legislators and share their stories—just as she had.
Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski spoke to her at length at SHOT Show. If you’d like a primer on her background, watch their conversation below:
Since 2016, interest in the group has grown and is expected to continue.
Lobbying Members of Congress
The ladies of The DC Project posted about their meetings with federal lawmakers. Here’s a snapshot of those meetings:
Mia Anstine, a hunting guide and outdoor writer representing Colorado, said, “We had great conversations with representatives from our state and others. The DC Project is doing great things.”
Lanny Oakley, another participant from Colorado, said, “I’ve met with a lot of politicians over the years to talk about a lot of different issues but I’d have to say that these were the most productive and positive meetings I’ve ever attended. It didn’t matter what political affiliation, we had productive and engaging conversations about the 2nd Amendment as well as firearms education and safety.”
Rally for Gun Rights
During this year’s rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, a group of about hundred or so ladies stood in the blistering heat to hear from guest speakers.
Several speakers addressed the rally, including a rape survivor, a competitive shooter, a gun-toting grandma, a gun rights advocate, a male competitive shooter battling Parkinson’s disease, and more.
Shayna Lopez-Rivas, a rape survivor and past campus carry advocate, addressed the rally to share her story of survival.
Lopez-Rivas told the crowd she previously held anti-gun positions, but said that life-altering event five years ago changed her perspective on them.
“My only experience with guns was what I saw in Hollywood, which I’ve since learned is pretty inaccurate,” she said.
At the insistence of a friend, Lopez-Rivas said she went to the gun range to see what they were about and was assured there was no pressure to pick up guns. However, Lopez-Rivas said after she fired a Glock 17 that day, she believes it would have been the equalizer she needed to repel her attacker.
She added, “While firearms are destructive weapons, by that very nature, they can also be protective.”
Another speaker, competitive shooter Beth Walker, also took to the podium and shared her story.
“One of the most impactful things about The DC Project is the ability to learn from women like yourselves every day,” said Walker.
“Due to our involvement in the project, we are all brought together and despite the unique backgrounds we have, we find commonalities in our dedication to the Constitution and the importance of the Second Amendment.”
Attendees also posted about their experience at the rally.
At the conclusion of the fly-over, members of the media were invited to train with some of the ladies of The DC Project at Wildest Expectations Farm near Winchester, VA.
Many attendees had left for their home states, but several ladies stuck around to lead instruction for or participate in range day.
Those ladies included DC Project founder Dianna Muller, competitive shooter Corinne Mosher, and former Marine Corps Drill Instructor Adda May “Amy” Dillon.
I primarily shot with Corinne, who refers to herself as @CorinneMosher.Shieldmaiden on Instagram.
All media members present boasted different kinds of experience levels. For me, I consider myself almost intermediate. I picked up target shooting for the first time nine years ago, but got more serious about it 5-6 years ago after moving to Virginia. I have a Smith & Wesson MP Shield and a concealed handgun permit (CHP), but don’t train as often as I’d like to.
Overall, I found the training to be top notch. We packed a lot of instruction, dry firing, and firing in about three hours.
Like the other instructors, Corinne helped me and several others improve our marksmanship using three types of firearms: handguns, 12-gauge shotguns, and AR-15’s rifles.
I specifically used a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, a Benelli 12-gauge shotgun, and a Lead Star Arms AR-15 rifle.
All of the guns we trained with and used were retrofitted with extended magazines—something that would have been banned had Governor Ralph “Coonman” Northam gotten his way during special session. Thankfully that didn’t come to fruition.
The firearms instruction I’ve received was conducted by men. Receiving instruction from fellow women, however, could be less intimating for newer shooters. Women instructors are more gentle in their approach and not as judgmental. They understand how fellow females think and what works best, especially with respect to firearms training and use.
For female (and male) gun advocates looking to get involved with the group, The DC Project hopes to offer that well-rounded experience for the regular gun owner and advocate looking to make waves. They have plans to visit state legislatures and to expand their reach. Definitely watch out for them.