Peggy Ray knows firearms and she knows people. By day, she works full time as a nurse and part-owner of Interim Healthcare of East Tennessee.
When that’s over, she moonlights as a certified National Rifle Association instructor.
Because of that, she knows there’s a lot of older people who are learning how to fire a weapon and are getting their concealed carry permits.
“People need to watch out for these little old ladies they might think aren’t carrying,” she said, laughing.
Ray, herself is certified in six different disciplines of shooting. She’s a chief range safety officer, a basic pistol instructor, a basic shotgun instructor, a basic rifle instructor and she’s an instructor for “Personal Protection in the Home” classes, as well as a regional instructor for “Refuse to be a Victim” classes.
She is a state certified concealed carry instructor.
Her personal emphasis is on teaching women firearm instruction and safety.
She has shot firearms most of her life, she said, but it wasn’t until she reached her 50s when she got serious about shooting. She said her husband saw an article about women and firearms.
He encouraged her to get more involved.
“It’s very intimidating sometimes taking classes from men,” Ray said.
Once she started taking classes, she never looked back. She found she enjoyed them.
Ray emphasizes that it is important to go beyond just taking a handgun carry permit class. She said it’s important to know more than just the basics of shooting.
She said she also says it’s important for people to know how to carry a firearm at any age.
“I trained my 80-year-old mother,” she said.
One class, in particular, that is near and dear to her is her The Well Armed Woman group that meets monthly. She said it’s open for any female shooter, but there are a lot of older women who participate. The class meets at East Tennessee Gun Club and the days it meets varies, she said.
She said she posts the meetings of the groups on The Well Armed Woman Lakeway Region Facebook page.
The first meeting is free, but afterward there is a charge for joining the group. The group learns different aspects about firearms and also goes beyond that with sometimes holding fashion shows of gun holsters, she said.
“It’s really empowering for a woman to take safety into their own hands,” she said.
If anyone has questions about classes or joining The Well Armed Woman, they can contact Ray at 865-898-2896.