Britney Starr is a part owner, operator and social media guru for Starr & Bodill African Safaris - an all service operation based in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. When not tweeting about her time taking down springboks, cape buffalo and wildebeest, Britney contributes and article or two to the Women's Outdoor News.
Nikki Goeser - Photo Courtesy of Michael Ives
She recently sat down with 2012 NRA Sybil Luddington Women’s Freedom Award
winner Nicole “Nikki” Goeser of Nashville, Tennessee. Take a look:
Shooting Starr: Nikki Goeser on life, death and the Second Amendment
Britney: Congratulations on being awarded the NRA’s Sybil Luddington Women’s Freedom Award. Thank you for all of the hard work you have been doing; you are most deserving of the honor. What does receiving this award mean to you? Can you tell us about your background and what you want people to know about you?
Nikki: I feel extremely honored to receive this very prestigious award from the National Rifle Association. It means a great deal to be part of such a powerful organization that puts everything they have into trying to prevent innocent people from being helpless victims. I have a firsthand account of what that feels like. I have worked very hard to educate others about the importance of our right to keep and bear arms for our own self defense and it is nice to be recognized for that.
The award is named after Sybil Ludington, who traveled by horse on dangerous trails to deliver her message to the Patriots that the British were about to attack. I’m sure that girl was scared to death and I gotta tell ya’, I was scared to death flying in all those airplanes to go testify and speak at events around the nation. I have always been terrified of flying, but I just grabbed my seat white-knuckled and sweated it out. After a few years of flying terrified, I eventually got over it. I would always tell people, guns don’t scare me … airplanes scare me. It was just something that I felt compelled to do in honor of my late husband, Ben, and to perhaps let our pain be someone else’s gain. If our story can help others take the steps to arm and defend themselves when they need it the most, the horror we went through was not in vain.
I graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a Bachelor’s in psychology. I would like to go to law school at some point in the near future. I am a conservative voter, but I try to listen to both sides of any argument.
Britney: You played a large part in the changing of restrictions on restaurant carry in both Tennessee and Ohio. What did that process entail, aside from the white-knuckle flights?
Nikki: I don’t know that I can claim a large part, but I did try my best to show the importance of the legislation in both Tennessee and Ohio. I had the ability to take a horrible situation and try to make it something meaningful for others. I had to develop thick skin quickly in order to speak about Ben’s murder and what I was forced to witness. Talking about it became a new kind of normal for me. To this day, when I share my story with people, the horrified looks and tears from those I am talking to are a reminder that there are still good, decent and loving people in this world despite the cruelty Ben’s killer brought on us.
Before Ben’s death, I was one of those people that sat back and thought, “Ya’ know, somebody should fix that.” After I lost Ben, I then realized – I am somebody. It was at that point when I started to focus on legislative change and became involved in politics. I have learned a great deal from both Democrats and Republicans on the hill. Most people don’t realize that many of these lawmakers are actually friends outside the chamber floor. They may get into an extremely heated debate with red faces and clenched fists, but you would be surprised to find them out having dinner together later that night. Then they will be back at it again the next day.
Read the rest of Britney's interview of Nikki Goeser on the Women's Outdoor News.