Conference Update: Armed Women of the Last Few Years

As energy builds for this year’s conference, it’s important to take a minute and think about what the last few years have meant for America, for firearms and for you as a woman. You may have already heard these statistics, but how has it made the Armed Women of America even stronger?

COVID hit in March of 2020 and firearm sales for self-protection rose 60%. According to the National Shooting Sport Foundation (NSSF), twenty-one million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm in 2020. That topped 2019’s totals of 13.2 million. They also  estimate that 8.4 million people bought a firearm for the first time in 2020 and 40% of those sales were women. We were here. The organization came together and adjusted the structure of meetings to allow members to continue to meet safely or in a virtual space. This allowed for continued growth and showed a need to continue with the annual National Leadership Conference. So we went completely digital and not only did our sponsors and speakers rise to the technological challenge, but you, the Leadership, showed up online with enthusiasm. As our second best attended conference, Leaders took important discussions and training tips home to chapters.

In 2021, 33% of the 5.4 million first-time gun buyers in 2021 were women, according to survey results again released by the NSSF. Additionally, nearly 47 percent of first-time gun buyers in 2021 inquired about training and 43 percent signed up for training. Our membership grew substantially and many new chapters were formed. With the rise of the Delta variant, we understood that while many were ready and able to be together in person, many wanted or needed to stay connected from their homes and local communities. We were prepared! Our annual National Leadership Conference, held in Asheville, North Carolina, was an incredible display of creativity from sponsors and speakers. We were able to provide exceptional educational content virtually and maintain the energy of gathering in purple.

2022 was a shift for the whole world as we tried to get back to “normal”. But what did normal look like now? We’ve all changed! A fresh brand and more focused training and education at regional levels sounded like a great way to ease back into national level gathering. Southwest, south and midwest Roundups were successful and a real catalyst for expanding the accessibility of the AWA education and camaraderie to reach more members and even the public.

Challenges from the last few years didn’t drain us. This year, the Armed Women of America Board of Directors chose “Plug-In. Recharge. Energize.” as the theme for what is building to be the largest in-person conference yet. Using incredible sessions, spaces, service and sponsors, we will draw power from each other. We will PLUG-IN and connect, RECHARGE batteries with the collective energy and ENERGIZE skills and training. This is an inviting call not only to experienced leadership, but everyone from longtime members to all the new-to-firearm women. Join us in Branson, Missouri…and don’t forget the one stop shopping for all the latest gear, accessories and apparel from the best brands in the industry!

The conference is open to all AWA members! And, we are still looking for partners and sponsors. Click the button below to learn more about our 2023 National Conference and Leadership Summit! 

AWA Conference Site