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Celebrating Mothers as First Responders

“Always have a plan”

by Jill Slayton McDaniel

I don’t remember the day my mother stared down the barrel of her .410 lever action single barrel shotgun and took aim at a threatening stranger in our driveway, but I will always remember what I learned from that day. It’s a story my family has told hundreds of times and shapes who I am today.

My father, a police officer in our southern Virginia rural farm community, was followed home that night by a man who had mistaken him for another officer who had ticketed him earlier in the day. The angry man become vulgar and loud. My mother, who was inside at the time with me and my brother, heard distress in my father’s voice and saw he was poised to reach for his sidearm. Her first instinct was to protect her home and family.

My mother took action. She went to the gun cabinet, retrieved her shotgun and took aim at the threatening man in our driveway. She pointed the gun out a living room window, sight locked on the man, and waited till he left. Fortunately, my father was able to diffuse the situation and no one was hurt. After that my ma was known around town as Annie Oakley of the OK Corral! We all had fun with that, but, my mother took her responsibility to protect her family seriously.

Because of my father’s shift work, mother was often home alone with three small children. She was often our family’s first responder. When I was 18, my father passed away and that responsibility took on even more weight. I watched as she pushed aside her grief and carried on as our family’s protector.

Though my father bought me my first BB gun, a pink Daisy, and taught me how to use it safely and responsibly, I credit my mother with instilling in me the “why” behind firearms. Growing up, she’d sit us kids down and talk to us about the need to always have a plan to protect ourselves. There has never been a time in my life I didn’t have “a plan.” Now that I am a mother, having that plan brings me peace of mind every day. I know that if I need to protect myself or my family, I have the skills and training to do so.  

On this Mother’s Day I want to honor my mother for the lessons she taught me, through word and deed. Her example has instilled in me the knowledge that I am capable of and responsible for being my own first responder.  As a Second Amendment advocate, I am frequently asked why I am so outspoken in my support for gun rights. It’s because my mother taught me that my life matters.  The life of my child matters.  She taught me to protect myself by whatever means necessary.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow mothers who are their family’s first responders. You are your child’s hero.

Jill runs a popular Second Amendment website, Moms-at-Arms and lives in Southern Virginia. She is also the Virginia State Director for  The DC Project, an educational, nonpartisan group of women from all 50 states who travel to Washington, DC each year to advocate for Second Amendment education over legislation. 

The DC Project
 is an educational, nonpartisan group of women from all 50 states that advocate for Second Amendment education over legislation. These women gun rights advocates know that gun rights are women’s rights and every woman must be prepared to be their own first responder. They are women gun owners who care about making firearms safety and education a top priority.


1 thought on “Celebrating Mothers as First Responders”

  1. What a Great story, Jill. Thank you for sharing the stregnth & courage your Mom had to protect her family. Respect goes to her, and your Dad, for instilling in you the strength & wisdom to do the same for yourself and your family. Happy Mother’s Day. God Bless.

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