Got Your Tickets to the Gun Show? Renee and Paige Wyatt on Women’s Gun Education
Mother and daughter stars Renee and Paige Wyatt of the Discovery Channel’s ‘American Guns’ speak out on gun education for women
16-year-old Paige Wyatt shot her first gun when she was 8- a pink .22 Chipmunk.
“The story is that Paige went hunting with her dad (Rich Wyatt, a master firearms instructor) and her older brother Kurt shot a peasant down. Paige told dad, ‘I wanna shoot a peasant too!’ but he told her she was too little for such a big bird. So Paige thought about it and then proposed, ‘Okay Dad, you shoot the peasant and when it’s down I’ll shoot it again with my Chipmunk!’” Paige’s mother, Renee Wyatt, says.
Definitely not the kind of daddy-daughter bonding that I did when I was 8! But the Wyatts aren’t your typical family next door, as seen in the newest Discovery Channel series American Guns. Premiering on Monday, October 10th, the series focuses on the family-owned firearm facility Gunsmoke located in Wheat Ridge, CO, a small town right outside of Denver. Mom Renee works to help train women in the world of gun safety while daughter Paige juggles her high school education with her unique and—yep, I’ll say it—badass after-school job at Gunsmoke.
“Our shop has caught on like wildfire with women and the business here is getting really feminine.” Renee says. “We’re turning into a real girly girl shop. One of our customers wanted to get Swarvoski crystals embellished into her gun and I definitely knew how to do that for her!”
Paige, a high school senior who dreams of becoming a model, loves working at the family business. “It’s a lot of fun and my girlfriends do come to visit. They didn’t get it at first though; it was like, ‘A gun shop? That’s so scary!’ but then they got used to it and think it’s really cool.”
And what about cute guys? “I don’t have a boyfriend right now,” Paige confesses, “but I have a lot of guy friends who come and visit. Guys are always like, ‘Your dad owns a gun shop, is he gonna shoot me?’ Nope!”
Along with her mom, Paige is working to end the stereotype that women are afraid to be around firearms: “We’re both extremely educated in working with guns and I know how to handle them,” she says. “There’s the stereotype that guns kill people. That’s not true. People kill people. A gun can save your life! Girls are at a much higher risk when it comes to their safety- we need to have guns.”
In Wheat Ridge, you need to be 21 years old to carry a concealed weapon with a permit, and 18 just to keep one in your car without a permit. Renee carries a pistol in her boot at all times, adding that she does so for the sake of her family– not just for Kurt and Paige, but also for her two youngest daughters, Brooke and Ginger, who are 4 and 2 years old respectively. “It’s my ultimate responsibility to protect them,” Renee says. I’d rather have the gun and not need it than the other way around.”
Even though Paige works at Gunsmoke, she’s still learning while she’s there. Her parents handle the training and shooting courses offered and work with historic weapons available for purchase. But Paige is allowed to keep a small pistol on her hip in the store while working.
Is it loaded? “Of course! What’s the point of carrying a gun if it’s not?” she laughs.
The Wyatt ladies also want to make one other trigger-happy stereotype clear: they are definitely not rednecks. “We are super girly girls, we carry our dogs in our handbags, and we’re big fans of BettyConfidential too!” Renee says.
Why, thank you, ladies! Any advice for women looking to educate themselves on weaponry?
“Come to Gunsmoke!” Paige says, “We provide an experience here. With us, it’s like becoming a part of the family. My mom hopes to make a pink gun the accessory for women everywhere!”
American Guns premieres Monday October 10th at 10PM ET/PT on the Discovery Channel.
Heather Taylor is BettyConfidential’s L. A. correspondent.