Non-Stereotypical Gun Owner Interview: Joan


Joan has lived most of her life in Portland and bought her first gun at age 20. It was a surplus WW2 era 1911 that she still has. Even after many episodes of kitchen table gunsmithing it’s still reliable and she says, “I just like the feel of it.” Her most recent acquisition is a Ruger LCP .380 that she loves, but finds a challenge to shoot accurately. She shoots better with her S&W .45 ACP revolver. “Those moon clips are faster than a speed loader,” she says. A .45 LC cylinder is on the shopping list . . .

She started carrying a concealed handgun after 9/11 and got her Oregon carry permit a few years ago to make it legal. “I like to carry when I travel,” she said, and locally she carries when it feels like she may be going to a part of town where a bit of extra security is comforting. Typically she carries in her purse, but has a collection of holsters available. Driving trips also afford chances to find a deserted spot “and “blast away for a while.” She stopped flying a long time ago because, “I don’t like the way they treat you at airports.” Welcome to the club.


Joan complains that her Oregon License to Carry a Concealed Handgun “is not recognized hardly anywhere. I believe that’s because Oregon doesn’t recognize anybody else’s license.” She has considered writing letters to politicos about that but never seems to get around to it.

After serving in the Navy during the Vietnam era, she began a career as an electrical engineer and has been enjoying retirement for many years. As you may have guessed by now, she started life as a male and began the transition to female about ten years ago.

A couple of years ago she discovered the Portland chapter of the Pink Pistols which hosts occasional shoots in the hills of the Oregon Coast Range. She invited me to come to an annual range day with a group of cross-dressers and transexual folks. “Their biggest concern is what to wear,” she laughs.

Joan joined the NRA about two years ago and enjoys reading The American Rifleman each month.


Although she’s a member of the NRA, she isn’t a big fan. “Too much Obama-hate, I really dislike that hate attitude.” She’s voted for Obama twice, but has been pretty disappointed and the recent anti-gun frenzy annoys her. “I think they need to quit over-reacting after these school shootings,” which she notes are a tiny percentage of overall deaths.

Does she ever vote for a politician based on their gun rights position? “It’s a factor, but I look at all the factors. It’s the whole package. You have to take the bad with the good. Sometimes the politicians I would tend to support do have negative stances on gun ownership. That bothers me…the present President had so much promise, but his negative gun stance is one more strike against him.”

I asked for her feelings about the sudden change in the President’s gun control position after the election. “Although I did not expect it, I am not surprised at his anti-gun noises. It seems like a typical sleazy politician move, especially after assuring us folks earlier that he had no plans against gun owners. I hoped that he would be more active on issues more important to us ordinary folks in his second term, rather than using his time riding on the anti-gun emotional bandwagon.”