Diane Sutton was a physician in her own private practice in Florida for over 20 years. She spent her time working as an OB/GYN and worked in psychiatry as well as teaching residents at USF and Bayfront Medical Center. After helping people, particularly women, over the years, Sutton wasn’t sure what to do with herself after back pain caused her to retire. Because she had spent so much time working with and helping women, Sutton wanted to continue helping women…but in a different way. She decided to share her interest and knowledge of shooting guns with other women.
It’s unfortunate the way in which Sutton first became interested in learning how to shoot. She had a couple of scary experiences that made her decide to take control of her safety and the safety of her family.
One of these incidents happened on Valentine’s Day 2008. She was walking into a grocery store after parking under streetlights with lots of other people around. But despite these common safe practices, she was still held at gunpoint right in the parking lot. A robber approached her, tugging on her purse several times, and waited for her to turn around when he held a gun to her head.
“I didn’t even notice the car screeching to a stop behind me. Today, I would have noticed that. I would have noticed the approach. As he pulled it on real hard the third time and spun me around, I would have knocked the gun. So situational awareness is probably the most important thing in self-defense.”
Not only did Sutton receive her concealed carry permit, but she also has taken empty-hand self-defense classes. Additionally, she has earned certifications as a U.S. Concealed Carry Association instructor and an NRA instructor. And in February of this year, she started the Pinellas chapter of The Well Armed Woman group. She says,
“Even someone like me who is pretty fragile and has lots of muscle and joint problems, there are some things I can’t do, but there are enough other things that I can do that I would be able to at least injure an attacker. In fact, I’d most likely be able to kill an attacker if there were several of them attacking me all at the same time.”
As we’ve mentioned before, The Well Armed Woman is a resource for women to “educate, equip and power you as a woman gun owner,” says owner and founder Carrie Lightfoot.
As a doctor, Sutton has worked her entire career to help save lives, bring new lives into the world, and help couples stay together and be happier and healthier. And she expresses how important it is to know that she has the knowledge and tools to take a life if it came down to that.
However, Sutton said that Carrie Lightfoot, the founder of The Well Armed Woman described it in a way that really affected her. She explains that even though an increasing number of women are deciding to get their gun permits, it isn’t about killing people. Women give life, and they are obtaining guns to protect life, whether it is her own or someone else’s, she said. Through helping other women learn these important skills and seeing their self-confidence grow, Sutton feels like she is able to serve again.
Leo Estevez is a member of the chapter of The Well Armed Woman of which Sutton is a chapter leader. She says that she continues to take classes to be prepared to handle any situation and to be in control of her own safety. She says,
“Women are not just an object who need a man to protect them. We can take charge.”