From September 15 to October 15 each year, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the hispanic population in the United States currently represents approximately 17% of the U.S. total population, which is roughly 54 million people. The ever-growing population for Hispanic Americans may have a highly beneficial impact for the pro-gun community. In a recent study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), they found the Hispanic community has a positive interest in firearms and the shooting sports.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, competitive shooter and TOP SHOT contestant Gabby Franco shared with us her personal story on how she came to respect and love the shooting sports...
“I didn’t have a choice of place of birth but I did have choice to become a good and successful woman” –Gabby Franco
Life works in a mysterious and yet simple way. There aren’t great secrets to live a good life, but sometimes most of us prefer to avoid the reality. This is something that I have learned since I was a young girl in Venezuela. I was not born with riches or luxury, but I had two wonderful parents who taught me the value of hard work, education, responsibility, humility, love and more. These words are commonly related to: Jobs, Being good to others, being a good kid, being caring, etc. But at early age in my life I found the true meaning of those words at the shooting range. I was eleven years old when my father who was an avid hunter brought my two sisters and I to the shooting range for the first time.
Most people say that they fell in love with shooting once they started, but I cannot say that for certain, it happen so long ago that I barely remember. What I do remember was my determination to try to hit the bullseye of the target over and over with an old air pistol, a Feinwerkbau model 65.
My determination to try to shoot better made me work hard 6 days a week for almost 10 years, especially when I first became part of the National Olympic Shooting Team. Being part of the team was my first taste of success at the age of 16.
I shot throughout all my teenager years. I was allowed to bring my air pistol and my .22lr competition pistol home to do dry fire every day. I had a great responsibility for those firearms as well as my other two sisters who were as me part of the shooting team of the state of Lara in Venezuela. My parents definitely taught us well. I believe that all my hard work, my determination, the taste of success and the responsibility it was given to me, was what made me fall in love with the shooting sport.
Today I am proud to be Hispanic and Venezuelan, as well as I am proud to be an American. I embrace both nationalities with love and pride because both have help me forge the woman I am today. I love to teach my Texas husband to speak Spanish, while he helps me improve my English. I have line danced with my husband in Texas and he has danced Merengue with me in Miami. I love to travel the USA and explore the beautiful land and at the same time I love to share my Hispanic heritage with friends with my cooking (which is very good! You can ask my husband lol). I am passionate to protect the constitution of the USA because I know what happens when politicians start changing it, which is what had happened in my home country Venezuela for decades.
I am worldwide known for my participation in TOP SHOT where I was the only woman to reach the final portion of the competition. But I am also an Olympian (Sydney 2000), an author “TroubleShooting: Mastering your Pistol Marksmanship”, I am part of the Remington Arms shooting Team. NRA Certified Firearms Instructor, NRA Commentator and most recently host of the NRA Women’s channel “Tips and Tactics”.
You can say that I am an American that knows how to speak Spanish and dance merengue or you can say that I am a Hispanic that speak English and love the American flag. Either way you are correct!