I mentioned the other day I recently returned from my first SHOT Show. I covered some of the broad strokes of what I consider some of the highlights, specifically noting that I intended on returning to cover some topics with more detail. I had the honor to receive an invite to the DC Project kickoff party that occurred Monday the 16th, and it was one such occasion I knew I wanted to revisit.
For those that don’t know, the DC Project is an all women’s grassroots group of delegates who engage with their respective politicians in Washington DC. The women involved in the organization are nothing short of inspiring and have been gaining traction on both the national and state levels. They are the exact opposite of Moms Demand Action, which is a group of women who subserviently do what a rich man tells them to do. The Teal Team Two ladies of the DC Project march to their own tune and don’t have a rich sugar daddy to tell them to speak only when spoken to.
The DC Project gathered some of the biggest names of who’s who in the Second Amendment community to celebrate the beginning of the convention. In an after action email, the DC Project said of the event:
A first for the DC Project, we hosted a party that we dubbed a “Celebration of the 2nd Amendment”. We had reps from GOA, NRA, NSSF, and many other acronym’d groups as well as individuals that do a lot of the heavy lifting in the advocacy space.
We had several special guests, one of which was Sebastian Gorka. He’s all about saving the 2nd Amendment to protect the 1st Amendment!
We raffled two Sig Sauer P365 Rose kits, as well as a Walther PDP-F and HD Gold glasses. Thanks to all our guests and supporters, but especially Sig Sauer for stepping up and giving such a generous donation!
Sig Sauer generously presented the DC Project with a $50,000.00 check to aid in their advocacy work.
What really makes the DC Project special though is the amazing women who volunteer and dedicate their time to rights preservation. Many of them not only are dedicated to serving the DC Project in their many roles, but are also accomplished authors, writers, instructors, media members, and business owners. The level of involvement and professionalism they bring to the table allows the work they do to flourish in ways the astroturf groups will never be able to.
The private party provided a couple of drink tickets for participants and everyone walked away with a DC Project t-shirt and 2023 SHOT Show patch. The 80’s cover band Spandex was headlining as the event’s entertainment and there was a photobooth for participants to grab some fun shots to remember the evening. The overall atmosphere was jocular as all walks of 2A life enjoyed each other’s company.
It was great having the opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones like those in the picture above (from left to right: Rich Yumul, producer of Gun Owners Radio, Charlie Cook from Riding Shotgun with Charlie, Alex Shay of Gun Owners of America, yours truly, and Dr. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center). The Second Amendment world, as big as it is, it’s actually quite small. So there were plenty of people that I’d had worked with in the past but not actually met who were in attendance. The experience was shared as the Olympic Rings of 2A groups converged together.
I chatted with a few of the DC Project ladies during and after the event to talk about what was big for them and or the DC Project in 2022, and what lies in the future through 2023.
Founder Dianna Muller expressed to me how proud she is of all the delegates and volunteers that are involved in the organization. She mentioned the headway many of the ladies made in their respective states as far as reaching out to policy makers and hopes that through 2023 the DC Project will continue to serve as an important counter visual to the pinko red shirted Commie Mommies (my words not Dianna’s).
A highlight to Muller in 2022 was having the group assemble in front of the Supreme Court. Of the event Muller said, “Having our rally in front of the Supreme Court was a very special time, a very special moment. Just being in front of the Supreme Court, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen women in front of the Supreme Court supporting the Second Amendment.”
Muller told me she was very pleased about the number of women who testified before Congress and their respective state legislatures on issues concerning legislation.
Kelly Ann Pidgeon the Northeast Regional Director speaking on behalf of the DC Project gave me a rundown of some of the group’s successful happenings from 2022:
DC Project really enacted the mission of Education, Preservation and Advocacy in 2022. We had:
- Earned Media – 185 events – TV, radio, news articles, podcasts
- Educational Events – 86
- State Capitol Visits – 28
- Federal, State and Local in-person testimony given – 39
- Federal meetings – 174
- State meetings – 42
- Local meetings – 10
- DC Project filed an amicus brief in Bruen and was mentioned by Justice Alito in his opinion in the case
- The NJ State Director contributed to the SCOTUSblog on Bruen
- Staged a counter-demonstration to anti-gun mob at NRA annual meeting in Houston
As far as what Pidgeon said of 2023, she mentioned some of the group’s goals in this new year:
- Grow the organization at the state level to have at least one woman in every voting district in every state
- Continue to influence legislation (or make a bigger impact) on all levels with in-person visits, email and phone campaigns
- Visit DC four times per year, three of which will be with smaller groups
- Complement other 2A organizations in advocacy and education
- Develop a stronger PR plan to educate our communities to the truth about gun ownership/safety
Pidgeon also confirmed her continued involvement in the group, “I will continue to support the DC Project in Planning, Operations, Logistics, and Finance perspectives, to help the organization continue to grow in safeguarding the Second Amendment.”
The backbone of the DC Project is of course the rank and file volunteers and respective directors/deletages.
I talked with the Florida State Director, Shirley Watral who was at the party. I did have the pleasure of hanging with her at the more quiet USCCA Media Breakfast a couple of days following the DC Project party and got to really prod her on what she was and intends to be up to. Watral is an advocate and also the author of Heels to Holster. This is what she told me about the successes of 2022 and goals for 2023:
One of my highlights for 2022 was going to DC with DC Project to meet with legislators. This year I have plans to go to Tallahassee with Florida DC Project delegates and meet with our legislators.
I am also going to focus on doing more promoting of my book Heels to Holster. My goal for promoting my book is to influence other victims of domestic violence to become their own protector. Walk through their fears and become a warrior for their life.
Amanda Suffecool, the Southeast Regional Director and host of the radio show Eye on the Target Radio and I talked both after the event and throughout the evening as she was handing out t-shirts and tending to the needs of party guests. Suffecool was excited to tell me about retiring from her “day” job to be able to focus on advocacy full time. She told me she had a busy 2022 with driving to events and training opportunities all over the country, “I put on the miles in 2022. Drove from DC to Michigan, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania for events, in addition to training in Ohio, Arizona and Georgia.”
Suffecool has big plans for 2023. She told me that she’s on the ballot for the upcoming National Rifle Association Board of Directors election and is hoping to better have a chance to serve the Second Amendment in such a role if elected.
Suffecool also said that “DCP Michigan is holding a fundraiser at Hillsdale college, so not all colleges are anti gun.” She told me about other event’s she’s planning on facilitating, “I plan on putting on several concealed carry fashion shows across the country, including in conjunction with the NRA in Indiana, one with Tommy Gun Warehouse in PA, and one planned with Illinois Armed Women of America, as well as several others under discussion.”
I talked to some of the content creators that showed up to support the DC Project and celebrate with them.
Jared Yanis from the popular YouTube channel Guns & Gadgets said of the organization:
It was important for me to support DCP because when people think about gun owners, they typically think of men. The fastest growing demographic of gun owners in the last 3 years is women. Female gun owners need to know their voices are valued and more importantly, needed, to push back the attacks on the right to keep and bear arms.
Braden Langley from Langley Outdoors Academy, his associated YouTube channel, and the founder of a new Second Amendment media site The Second Press, told me about why the group and supporting it is so important:
I was pleased to attend the DC Project party at SHOT Show this year. This organization does incredible work standing up to Congress. I have seen the women of the DC Project look Debbie Wascherman-Schultz, AOC, and Senator Blumenthal in the face and stand their ground. These women have courage, and I am pleased to stand with them in the fight for our rights.
What’s become abundantly clear to me is that this cadre of advocates are making waves and getting attention in a positive way. The DC Project party was not just a collection of the who’s who of the Second Amendment world, but also an important celebration of the important work they’re doing. People don’t just come out to support groups if they’re not really making a difference. Judging by the amount of zeal in the room that evening, I observe that the organization has certainly connected with the ball, now it’s just time to sit back and watch all the home runs these amazing ladies are going to continue to score as anti-liberty forces give them their best pitches.