The Women of Dallas Are Armed and Dangerous, Thanks to Mama Jeanie

Her own shooting career derailed, Jeanie Almond has become Dallas' go-to teacher for shooting's fastest-growing market: women.

The Women of Dallas Are Armed and Dangerous, Thanks to Mama Jeanie
Danny Fulgencio

Her rhinestone-studded sunglasses shading her from the harsh July sun, Jeanie Almond purposefully paces the range, hands clasped behind her back, her short blonde hair tucked behind her ears. She's watching her 16-year-old granddaughter, tall and blonde with purple streaks, shoot International bunker trap — an Olympic game with 15 traps that send clay targets bursting into the sky at about 90 miles per hour. They fly up and out over the property of the Dallas Gun Club, the gun enthusiast's mecca in Lewisville. Grandma does most of her work at a different range, but granddaughter prefers this version to the slower-moving targets of American trap, and Dallas Gun Club is the only place nearby that offers it.

The teenager, McKenna, gracefully raises the gun to her shoulder before squeezing the trigger — bang! — and moves to the next station, where she repeats these movements methodically. When the girl hits a target, Jeanie nods and slightly purses her lips, smiling only on the inside. She's 61 now, and has been coaching McKenna for only about four months, since she started a shotgun team at Marcus High School. But Jeanie used to compete herself, winning state and national championships, so she respects the quiet of the sport as her granddaughter shoots. After several rounds, she crosses her arms in front of her over the embellished design of her shirt — black, with a rhinestone heart framed by two pistols — and nods as the shots continue.

Jeanie's daughter, McKenna's mother, watches from a shade tent nearby. Shellee's also an accomplished shooter, though she prefers handguns to shotguns. Back in the day, Jeanie's now 81-year-old mother was a great shot herself. That's four generations of lady shooters.

Jeanie (left) and the Lipstick and Lead instruction team. Yes, that's her pink truck.
Danny Fulgencio
Jeanie (left) and the Lipstick and Lead instruction team. Yes, that's her pink truck.
Jeannie's granddaughter is a competitive shooter, too.
Danny Fulgencio
Jeannie's granddaughter is a competitive shooter, too.

This is no time-passing hobby, either. In 2007, Jeanie and Shellee founded Lipstick and Lead, an organization whose mission is to teach women to shoot and protect themselves. The slogan: Educate, empower, reload. Shellee is the lead handgun instructor and handles media and promotions. Jeanie's title is "Mama Jeanie — Mama of Everyone — CEO." This, in other words, is a family business.

And business is booming. Concealed handgun permits are on the rise among Texas women, growing nearly four-fold from 2001 to 2011. Local gun retailers say women across all demographics are buying more guns, both for sport and for protection, if not from the scary world depicted on the local news, then the even scarier one depicted by cable TV's punditry. And when these women show up looking for a gun or trying to shoot one — at Ray's Sporting Goods, Beretta Gallery or any number of similar places in the DFW area — employees often recommend they pay a visit to Mama Jeanie.

The core tenet of Jeanie's instructional philosophy is that women and men learn differently, so she uses a woman's strengths to coach her to accurate shooting, whether it's a stranger looking to blow off steam or, on days like today, her granddaughter following in the family footsteps. She teaches men too, but she calls it her "ministry" to teach women.

"Look at the bird, see the bird, nice and smooth," Jeanie tells McKenna. "Let it move you." McKenna raises her gun for each shot in a swift and fluid motion, all the while thinking of Jeanie's three-step instructions, which she recites easily: "One, raise the barrel, two, straight out, and three straight in, so this part [the butt of the gun] goes right into your shoulder pocket."

McKenna approaches a shot, setting her feet the way her grandmother taught her and leaning forward. Then she does what feels natural. "It's just a really homey feel to me. It's cool; it's really cool," she says. At the state competition this year, the first time her school competed, she finished fourth overall among high-school girls.

She's even considering a shooting career, and a couple weeks after this lesson, her grandma and mom will drive her to Colorado Springs to watch the National Trap Championships to get the lay of the land before next year's competition. It's one in a series of steps that could lead her to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where she can potentially pick up where Grandma should have left off at the 1984 Los Angeles games. Maybe then Grandma can finally retire that half-true excuse she's used for three decades.


Mama Jeanie's kitchen feels like a Food Network set, but with talk-show conversation. She chops cilantro, dragging the knife toward her in the smoothest possible motion, and slices the green onions into perfect diagonals. We're at her home in Denton to trace her family's trigger-squeezing lineage, but the focus, for now, is on her beloved Chinese chicken salad.

"The original recipe is made with pheasant," she says. Pheasant that she shot, naturally.

Plates of fresh vegetables line the counter, awaiting her attention. Her daughter, Shellee; her 81-year-old mother, Connie; and a Lipstick and Lead instructor, Tiffani, stand around the kitchen island, keeping her company. These are the women who have dedicated themselves to Elm Fork Shooting Sports, the northwest Dallas gun range owned by Jeanie's son, Scott Robertson, himself a world-champion shooter. Jeanie is the pretty, peppy face of the range's events and education program, where she's recognized by her pink camouflage pickup truck, matching golf cart and rhinestone belts, always rhinestone belts. But anyone who knows her understands that the pink and sparkles are decorative, not defining, a candy-coated shell to her tough guts.

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25 comments
A Ft. Worth-O-Plex Music Page
A Ft. Worth-O-Plex Music Page

hmmm, preparing to fight back in the war on women, like, "you can have my birth control pills when you pry them from my cold dead hands?"

loxas1
loxas1

myrna - so if guns kill people, then was it a spoon that made you a fat-ass??? maybe we should have an anti-spoon rally and ban all the spoons in the country to solve the obesity problem.... typical leftist libtarded hypocrite....

gdruzek
gdruzek

I hope that people realize that Jeanie Almond isn't the only lady instructor. The NRA's "Women On Target" teaches classes at various gunranges. The Second Amendment Sisters started right here in Texas. On the West coast are the Liberty Belles. All of these organizations teach responsible, safe gun ownership which is sadly lacking due to the media and hollywood.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Nothing sexier than a woman with a gun.  Unless "she BIG". Then you just have her load the rifle. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Another mass gun murder.  This time in New Jersey.  Guns kill people.

JM64
JM64

Leslie, I don't know if you selected the headline, or the editor who did so, but it is quite misleading. The women who are being taught to shoot by "Mama Jeanie" are NOT ARMED AND DANGEROUS in the classic, criminal sense. These women, and any others who learn to properly handle firearms are dangerous ONLY to those people they intend to shoot, if/when necessary.

 

The implication of the headline is that women with guns are a danger to anyone/everyone around them simply because they have guns. I respect the article's overall neutrality concerning guns, but the headline is poorly written.

JM64
JM64

Myrna, obviously you have never seen a gun that didn't terrify you, except for those in the hands of 'trustworthy, well-trained' LEOs, such as the NYPD, who wounded NINE innocent bystanders in shooting one armed criminal. Of course, such twits as you would call that 'collateral damage'...

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

This is clearly a paranoid man-wannabe with a gun fetish and an Annie Oakley complex.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Just what we need.  More guns killing more people.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

Thank you for this article. I have taught several people to shoot pistol and rifle. I've been looking for professional instructors for those who I do not have the skill to teach. This has given me an instructor to recommend to them.

azlefty
azlefty

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz   So the gun fired itself you idiot?

You do realize  the  largest non-terrorist related mass-murder in the  US did not involve any guns? 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @jmelton6414 I was on here bashing the cops for doing that after it happened, and I was invidiously excoriated for doing so by the gun fetishistas.

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Empower women, but only if they are women who behave in a proper, progressive-approved, liberal fashion?

 

How very Republican of you.

BANE
BANE

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

 So a strong, independent, empowered woman is now a man-wannabe in the eyes of the tolerant left?

gdruzek
gdruzek

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

 What we don't need is so-called liberals empowering more and more criminals to prey on law abiding citizens. Typical liberal "crime" control: 1. create gun laws that only effect law abiding citizens. 2. Do away with the death penalty and harsh penalties for criminals. 3. create victim disamament zones that only effect law abiding citizens. 4. Give guns and hand grenades to Mexican drug cartels. 5. Disband police forces due to "budget cuts". 6. Supply police forces with military hardware and at the same time reduce training hours to due "budget cuts". 7. Jail law abiding citizens without trial due to "national security". 8. Allow the media to hero worship any gunbanger who's stopped from robbing, murdering and raping. 9. Create no questions asked "gun buybacks" that allow gangbangers to dispose of their murder weapons witihout ballistic tests. 10. Encourage the media to publish statements from anti-gun organizations.[Asking the antigun brady bunch to comment on guns is like listening to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers comment on a NASCAR ruling.]

oboudet27
oboudet27

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Do we have to go there again? Is it not getting old already?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @BANE An independent, empowered woman would not need to run around shooting guns in order to be independent and empowered.

dmd-123
dmd-123

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  @BANEAnd why not? You are clearly threatened by this, as you put it man-wannbe. There is nothing wrong with sport shooting and certainly nothing wrong with personal defense.

 

oboudet27
oboudet27

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Its funny how "guns" kill people. But yet Chicago who has one of the most restrictive gun laws is on the edge of declaring marshal law due to so many killings.

 
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