Ann Y. Smith (left) is the Senior Executive Editor, digital, for American Rifleman. An NRA Life member, Ann joined NRA Publications in March 2001. Within a year she was named managing editor, then executive editor, of NRA’s Woman’s Outlook (2002-2006), NRA’s first Official Journal to address the shooting, hunting and Second Amendment interests of NRA’s female members. In 2007 she became the first editor in chief of NRA Publications’ newly formed E-Media department, overseeing the development of several award-winning web properties, including AmericanRifleman.org, AmericanHunter.org and NRAFamily.org.
Prior to NRA, Ann worked for the U.S. State Department (U.S. Information Service), at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. There she interfaced with the international community, and was responsible for aggregating a daily press kit of U.S.-related news for analysis by U.S. diplomats. She also coordinated official U.S. press briefings for a Brussels-based corps of international journalists, and helped to plan industry/corporate U.S. exchange visits for European counterparts.
Ann’s earlier journalism career included life in San Diego, Calif., where she was editorial coordinator for San Diego Woman magazine and the San Diego and Orange County Relocation Guides. She later joined the San Diego-based Firearms Marketing Group as managing editor for American Handgunner, GUNS Magazine and Shooting Industry. Prior to that she was an editor for a variety of east coast-based publications.
Ann fired her first handgun as a teenager in 1981 (a Colt Python), and learned to shoot skeet and trap during her college freshman year at the University of Maryland. She is active in most areas of recreational shooting, and is passionate about encouraging women to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Outside of NRA, Ann has trained at the Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Ariz., with some of the country’s most renowned instructors. She took part in her first official big-game hunt in 2003, harvesting a Texas whitetail buck, whitetail doe and a javelina, and has since hunted various North American game, including pronghorn, mule deer, turkey and a variety of upland birds and waterfowl.
Donna Worthy (middle) and her daughter Casey Jackson (left) own Worth-A-Shot Firearms and Training in Millersville, Maryland, which Donna founded after a line-of-duty injury forced her early retirement from the Baltimore Police Department. Having faced numerous life-and-death situations working in patrol, undercover drugs, as a raid team member, and firearm instructor for the Baltimore Police Academy, Donna became an NRA instructor, teaching pistol, rifle, shotgun, Refuse To Be A Victim, and Personal Protection both inside and outside the home. Donna has since added CCW permit courses for Maryland, Washington D.C., Utah, Florida, and Virginia, and trains beginner, expert and competition-level shooters in safe gun handling as well as how to improve their shooting skills. Donna is a certified gunsmith and an armorer for multiple pistol manufacturers, and her store has become Maryland’s No. 1 seller of Glock pistols.
While Donna was busy building her firearm training resume, she took notice that women were highly underrepresented in the firearm instructor sector, thus she founded Worth-A-Shot so that her students—especially women—would feel comfortable learning. She steered away from the drill sergeant mentality, and focused on the importance of safe gun handling and an understanding of the gun law’s in each student’s home states.
But it occurred to Donna that, after building a rapport with customers and making them feel comfortable both in the classroom and at the range, she was sending them off to other gun stores to make a purchase. Her clients admitted they did not always appreciate the way they were treated at gun stores, so they convinced Donna to make Worth-A-Shot a full-service gun store and training facility—one that would make the gun-buying experience pleasant for everyone, while empowering her customers with knowledge.
Casey Jackson, part owner of Worth-A-Shot, is working toward a college degree while she works side by side with her mom selling guns and training clients, while helping manage the business and its 10 employees. She is not a typical 20-year-old, having started shooting when she was 8 years old. She is now an expert-level handgun shooter, and recently initiated a women’s shooting group at Worth-A-Shot (with each class 100 percent filled). Casey, too, is certified Glock armorer.
Donna and Casey have been instrumental in facilitating the shooting portion of the 3rd Annual Ladies Pistol Project, recruiting this year’s group of shooters and conducting private lessons for the women who have little firearms experience. Their goal is to invite women into the fold and highlight their importance in the fight to maintain their Second Amendment rights. They have assisted in presenting the findings from the first American Rifleman Ladies Pistol Projects at the NRA Annual Meetings in Atlanta and Dallas, as well as the first NRA Carry Guard Expo in Milwaukee. They were also the panelists at a special session in Dallas, “Women and the Gun Buying Experience,” in which they shared their knowledge on educating women and gun store staffs everywhere on how to make the gun-buying experience a positive one.
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