America has always had a complex relationship with firearms. According to a Pew Research study, 30% of American adults say they own a gun, and an additional 11% say they live with someone who does. One of the many reasons owners use for obtaining a firearm was for safety and protection. For one entrepreneur, it was her chance to use her knowledge of firearms to teach others in her community how to protect themselves.
Javondlynn Dunagan is the owner of JMD Defense, a company focused on workplace safety, firearm training, and safety education. She founded the security and firearm safety company in 2017 in addition to the Ladies of Steel Gun Club after retiring from her career of 25 years as a United States probation officer based out of Chicago.
“Then I married a police officer; so I was around guns all day. When we divorced, I called the job and said, “I’m ready to carry a gun now because I’m scared to be at home without protection,” said Dunagan in an interview with Rolling Out. “I was the only person in the class. After having this one-on-one experience for the entire week with an excellent instructor, I fell in love with firearms.”
One of the reasons Dunagan wanted to create her business was to give a space for black women to learn about concealed carry and self-defense. “When I started the business, initially I was just teaching concealed carry. That was my initial vision,” she said. “I said [to myself], “Whenever I go to the gun range, I never see other black women by themselves shooting or even in a group,” and that’s how the Ladies of Steel Gun Club came about.”
In addition to firearm safety, the company also offers self-defense classes and offers safety seminars for women.