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March 13, 2023 

Dear Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,

On behalf of Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), and Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC), we write to remind you that the Second Amendment right to carry a firearm outside the home for purposes of self-defense holds special importance for American women. 

In its amicus brief in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a brief cited twice by Justice Alito in his concurrence, IWLC provided data indicating that women remain at a relative self-defense disadvantage vis-a-vis potential attackers. For many women, who feel disadvantaged by relative size and strength, a firearm can be a great equalizer.

Below, as cited in our brief, are some of their stories: 

Theresa Kingsbury was driving north from Connecticut to New York in the early morning hours when two cars forced her to the shoulder of a deserted road. She was alone and had $5,000 in cash, transporting it from one ski shop to another. She appeared an easy mark. Two men approached her vehicle, one brandishing a hammer. Theresa raised her loaded handgun, and the men fled.

Peggy Landry was out with friends for dinner in New Orleans one evening. When they returned to their vehicle, a man shoved a revolver through the open window and pressed it against her friend’s head demanding money and jewelry. As the women began to pull off their jewelry, Peggy reached for her Smith & Wesson and pointed it at the man. He left. 

DaShana Street, a Black woman, bought her first gun in June 2020. She works in retail and began to fear for her safety when over 100 nearby businesses were damaged following the death of George Floyd. She was also worried by the circumstances of Breonna Taylor’s death. “You can’t even sit in the comfort of your own home,” she said. After purchasing her firearm—a pink Glock 43 handgun—DaShana took a firearms class and obtained a concealed carry permit. Now, she always has her firearm with her, either holstered to her belly band or on the nightstand. It has given her more job flexibility, allowing her to deliver orders at night in her side hustle. “It’s like my child,” she said. “It gives me a sense of safety and security. I was really nervous about the idea of carrying a gun. But now, it’s like the new normal.” 

Carmon Whitehead’s protective order against her ex-husband proved useless. Despite the order, he poured sugar into her gas tank, punctured her tires, and cut her telephone lines. When he showed up at her door one evening (again in violation of the protective order), she raised a .357 Magnum, pointed it in his direction, and fired beyond him. He hasn’t violated the order since.

These are just a few examples of women for whom the right to bear arms has been essential. For more information, please see IWLC’s Amicus Brief in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc v. Bruen.


Carrie Lukas

Hadley Heath Manning
Vice President for Policy

Jennifer C. Braceras