Person of the Week: Sandra Froman

ByABC News

April 22, 2004 — -- Sandy Froman is a crack shot, and this week she is the new president of the National Rifle Association.

The nations' 4 million gun owners, represented by the powerful NRA, believe their constitutional right to bear arms is constantly being threatened. The NRA is one of the biggest lobbying groups in the country, and Froman speaks their language.

"When you look at the criminal use of guns, it's a small fraction of the firearms that are used everyday by peaceable Americans for lawful purposes, and that's what I'm here to talk about," Froman said.

As president, Froman won't run the day-to-day operations of the NRA. But like her predecessor, Charlton Heston, she will use the NRA's pulpit to spread her message.

Froman is only the second woman to be president of the NRA in its 130-year history. She wants to reach out to other women, but it may be a tough sell. Less than a year ago, the NRA worked hard to end a ban on assault weapons, while a majority of women across the country wanted tougher gun laws.

"I have women coming up to me all the time," Froman said. "They've thought about having a gun, they're not sure. They're very curious, and I want to be in a position to respond to that curiosity to give them information."

Froman has already had a minor misstep. After a school shooting on an Indian Reservation in Minnesota last month, Froman was reported as saying consideration should be given to any method that might make a school safer -- even arming teachers. She said her comments were taken out of context.

"I certainly never advocated arming teachers as a national policy, and I don't advocate that now," said Froman. "But I also recognize that individual schools have to look at what works for them and I would respect the local school's decision about that."

Froman, 55, is a lawyer and a widow who lives in Tuscon, Ariz. Her husband was a law enforcement officer.

"He encouraged me and inspired me," she said. "He thought that there was something that I could bring to this cause."

There were no guns in Froman's home growing up. But that changed one night, 25 years ago. She was living alone and someone tried to break in.

"It was a rude awakening for me to realize that here was someone trying to get into my home in the middle of the night," she said, "and I realized that I didn't have any way to protect myself."

The next day, Froman bought a gun. She worked hard to make it legal to carry a concealed weapon in her home state of Arizona. Today, Froman always carries a handgun in her purse.

"It feels as natural as carrying a Palm Pilot or cell phone -- for me at least," she said.

Froman is an avid hunter of quail, hogs and deer.

"I like being in the outdoors," she said. "I like the connection to nature. I like the solitude."

Froman knows she has a big job ahead of her, spreading the gospel of gun ownership. While she will reach out to those who disagree, she says she will never compromise her defense of the right to own a gun.

"I believe there is evil in the world," Froman said. "And I think that good people need to protect themselves from harm, from criminals who seek to deprive them of their life or their liberty."

Elizabeth Vargas filed this report for "World News Tonight."

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