Co-founder of Virginia Tactical Shooting Academy (VTSA) Firearm enthusiast and AR-15 specialist
10 year Army Veteran
Listen, because I have a story...
Eleven years ago, after tour #1, I coached recreational league football. It was a passion of mine. From teaching to nurturing I feel like I damn near raised some of those boys. They appreciated my coaching, discipline, and principles. I often reminded them a black man can be from the hood, raised in the hood, but not become a product of that environment. When I talked to those boys, it was the most fulfilling task of my life. So, imagine how embarrassing it was to be face down in handcuffs in front of the football field while all my players stood and watched...
I was pulled over for having an air freshener in my rearview mirror. The cop approached the car, and I told him that there was a firearm in the vehicle. I gave him my driver's license and military ID. The officer then asked me to get out of my car, he grabbed my pistol from my glove compartment, and asked me to place my hands on my head. I asked, “What for?”, and this is when the fun started. The officer shoved me to the ground, while forcing my arms behind my back into handcuffs. Another officer told me that I was being charged with carrying a concealed weapon
I told them, "You are making a mistake. The law changed 2 years ago!" Virginia law now states under Virginia VA Code: 18.2-308 Subsection J1, that while transporting a firearm in a vehicle without a conceal carry permit, that firearm must be in a "secure" compartment. The officers refused to listen to me.
Fast forward. I met with my public defender, who immediately mentions a plea deal before truly asking what my name was. I showed her the statute under VA Code 18.2-308, and she says "OH!" She was caught off guard that I knew the law, and decided to call the District Attorney’s office. The docket at court was full of people who weren’t as fortunate as me.
That brings me to the reason I'm here today telling my story. It’s the reason Hakeem and I founded VTSA. We desire to teach, educate and inform. We want to ensure Victory on This Side of America... Our side... So brothers and sisters like myself and others like me can properly understand how firearms work, what it means to be proficient with firearms, and most importantly, know the RIGHTS we have regarding the firearms we own.
You can call me Banks.
Co-founder of Virginia Tactical Shooting Academy (VTSA)
"The lady of the camp"
I refer myself as "LADY VTSA".
Was I always a gun enthusiast?, not even remotely close! I was raised as a country girl in Brunswick County around firearms, where the family would just go outside shoot at bottles and cans just to have fun, and hunt during the winter. When I married my husband Sean, I always felt that I could SOLEY depend on him to protect our son and I. Until one day he said to me "I won't be there with you and Quincie always; it's time for you to be able to protect yourself." From then on, that statement stuck with me and eventually had me think, How many other women are out there like me? Afraid to carry while with their children; Feel like this industry and the second amendment is not made for women; Feeling like a target or all eyes are on me when open carrying, or getting frustrated because our significant other is taking us to target practice and feeling rushed and misunderstood. I decided to take my protection needs more seriously. As I learned I became empowered. Shooting became training for self defense as well as a hobby that I enjoy.
I have came across many women wanting to learn but simply getting acclimated to the sound of a slide being racked without closing their eyes or cringing to the sound of an empty firearm trigger being engaged was a struggle. So, I started to take notice of how I would learn and absorb the fundamentals of a firearm. I saw the need of patience when learning about firearms. Once I became an instructor I also began to customize and tailor training programs for us, while giving them a voice and a place to be comfortable with their firearms.
I want to show that women can also learn and teach in this male dominant industry in a different way!