The number of women applying for concealed carry permits has continued to steadily increase as more and more of them have decided to take responsibility for their own safety, as well as the protection of their families. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Beth Alcazar, a freelance writer and editor, with degrees in language arts, communication and education. Beth currently teaches college-level English, speech and critical thinking classes. She is a wife and mother of three and writes for the USCCA Concealed Carry Magazine as well as having her own blog, “Pacifiers and Peacemakers” on the USCCA web site. She just took another step in her journey to become more proficient in self-defense by attending the fourth USCCA Instructor Certification training course.
Q: What sparked your interest in self-defense? Was there a specific incidence?
A: I’ve always been a supporter of our Second Amendment rights, and my husband purchased a handgun many years ago, specifically for home protection. I would go with him to the range to shoot, and we’d talk about firearms and our family’s safety. But I think my eyes were opened when a gunman held five girls hostage at my daughter’s middle school, just 7 miles from our home. I realized that our preparations and precautions were simply not enough. And I decided that I wanted to know as much as I could about guns and training and safety… for my protection, but more so for the protection of my family. My husband and I have three children, and I am the one who is with them the majority of the time. It just didn’t make sense for me not to know more about guns, about self-defense, about firearms safety, and about the concealed-carry lifestyle.
Q: How did you get started working for Concealed Carry Magazine and what prompted your decision to start your blog?
A: I’ve been a freelance writer for 14 years, and I’d gotten in touch with the editor a few years ago about the possibility of writing for Concealed Carry Magazine. At that time, though, I didn’t have a clear goal or purpose for writing for CCM, so I wasn’t sure what I could contribute. After the incident at the middle school, however, I felt like I needed to write… to get some of my feelings and thoughts down on paper. It was a catharsis for me as a writer, but it was also a bit of an epiphany for me as a mother. I noticed that while a woman’s voice was out there in the firearms industry, it wasn’t always evident… and it wasn’t necessarily speaking to everyday moms, like me! That’s really why I pushed for the “Pacifiers & Peacemakers” blog. I was intimidated and frustrated by much of the “expert” information, and I wanted to be able to share a real-world, down-to-earth mom’s voice, a voice that’s learning and growing and experiencing the different aspects from the ground up, a voice that’s not smothered by fixed opinions and that doesn’t yet have all the answers, and a voice that’s honest and accessible… and imperfect. Essentially, it’s a learning experience as much as it is a sharing experience!
Q: What do you hope to accomplish through the “Pacifiers & Peacemakers” blog?
A: I want to inspire, encourage, and empower women – especially moms. I want them to know how to be a responsible gun owner or, at the very least, to know how to be safe around guns. My story is every mom’s story. I am not a survivor. I am not a hero. I am not a victim. I am not an expert. I am a mom. I love my family dearly. And I want other moms to know how they, too, can live safely with children… AND firearms.
Q: How do you answer critics that say that mothers should be against guns, not in favor of them?
A: I ask them to look at the condition of the world around us and consider the options. If my child were to choke, would I stand by and watch? Panic? Call 911 and wait? Or, as a responsible parent, would I do anything and everything I could to help protect him, to save his life? Similarly, if my child were to encounter a violent attack, would I run away? Hide? Call the police and pray? Or, as a responsible gun owner, would I do anything and everything I could to help protect her, to save her life? Of course I choose the latter. I’m a mother. And I realize that I am also a caretaker, a disciplinarian, a teacher, and a first responder. Too many moms are frightened and upset and have been turned away from guns by horrific crimes and accidents. But to help prevent these horrific crimes and accidents, and to better protect our families, mothers should not be against guns; we should be for them… and for their safe use, care, storage, and instruction.
Q: What did you learn from the Instructor Certification Course and how do you plan to apply it?
A: The USCCA is well known for all they do to promote, assist, defend, and instruct responsible gun owners. The wealth of materials and information they produce is stellar. When their Instructor Certification Course was offered nearby, I signed up right away. With my teaching background and experience, and with my growing interest and involvement in the firearms industry, I felt that the USCCA course was a significant next step for me to refine my knowledge and skills. It was a very thorough, hands-on, interactive three days! I met some great individuals and learned so much. As an avid learner, I look forward to more webinars, courses, certifications, and training. But since I’ve always been a teacher at heart, ultimately, now that I’m a certified USCCA instructor, I would love to be able to train other women – especially moms – about firearms. I want to be a positive influence, and I want to share my story. As author Edward Everett Hale stated, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
About the USCCA:
The U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) is the first and largest, member-owned association designed to educate, train, and insure responsibly armed Americans. USCCA members receive criminal and civil defense insurance protection through the Self-Defense SHIELD and have access to a wealth of industry information including expert advice, product information, and the latest news centered around the concealed carry lifestyle. The USCCA also publishes Concealed Carry Magazine, hosts the nationally syndicated radio program, Armed American Radio, and offers a resource for firearms and concealed carry instructors through the USCCA Instructor program.