By John Petrolino
The world of everything guns has been rapidly shifting from male dominance to a symbiotic sharing between males and females alike. The accidental advocate, Amanda Suffecool, didn’t wake up one day and say to herself “How can I immerse myself in the Second Amendment and have my life revolve around it?” Like many, Suffecool’s answer of the call to become an advocate happened gradually and through happenstance. Recently, Suffecool announced she’s running for a spot on the National Rifle Association Board.
Suffecool took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about her journey in the firearms industry and as an advocate. When I say busy schedule, I don’t mean to diminish the work that any of us do, but she had to hang up on me during a call once to answer a call from her Congressman. She took it all in stride, calling me back to pick up right where we left off in our conversation.
Suffecool isn’t your ordinary Second Amendment supporter. The engineer often describes herself as “a woman of a certain age” which brings with it a certain mystique. She’s the holder of a patent related to her work in manufacturing, specifically on heat transfer in catalytic reactors.
The relation of Suffecool’s excellence in her former trade as an engineer and her work on Second Amendment-related issues has much to do with another strength of hers, her communication skills. The Kent State graduate holds a BS in Manufacturing Engineering and has spent her career solving problems.
Suffecool doesn’t have a “moment” that she can put her finger on when it comes to her journey. About being thrust into the world of firearms, she said that she actually decided to become a firearm instructor before her home state of Ohio enacted concealed carry.
She explained . . .
I was the plant manager of a window and door company…when the management of the company imploded. I found myself at a career crossroads. Rob [Campbell] (Suffecool’s brother, cohost of their radio show, and business partner in many things) took me on a road trip he already had to go on, and drug me along. We had four hours to chat. He told me that there was a career opportunity with Ohio standing on the edge of passing concealed carry. I told him there was no money in firearms training. He disagreed.
Initially she said that she took a few days to write a business plan to prove Campbell wrong. She crunched the numbers and proved to herself that the prospect of becoming an instructor was actually doable, and she thrust herself into the firearms training business.
Since going into business in the Second Amendment world, Suffecool has been all-in. In addition to training, Suffecool and Campbell had a gun shop, and then were pulled in new directions. More motivated her than making money and she rapidly immersed herself in everything Second Amendment.
The communication skills she used so well in business also serve her well in the world of gun rights advocacy. She told me that she had a knack for being able to bridge the gap between engineers and customers, sifting the jargon out and speaking to her customers in a language they can understand. She put those skills to work in the gun world, too.
When Suffecool and Campbell had an opportunity to appear on a radio show to answer questions about firearms, they were a natural fit. She leaned on her expertise in breaking down and simplifying complex concepts, and communicating them in a manner that anyone could digest. Campbell, her brother and partner in the venture, has a near encyclopedic knowledge of everything guns. The pair complement each other well when they share the airwaves.
That opportunity to answer a few questions about guns on someone else’s radio show eventually led to the duo beginning their own program, Eye on the Target Radio. Suffecool’s show is nationally syndicated and runs every Sunday for two hours. The show is also simulcast via Facebook, Youtube, and runs on the Opslens television network app.
A natural progression for Suffecool’s work involved the creation of a not-for-profit called REALIZE Firearms Awareness Coalition. REALIZE aims to . . .
…educate citizens as to the historical intent of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, to enable citizens to accurately relate and defend aspects of the U.S. Constitution, to enhance public awareness and support for responsible gun ownership, and to emphasize firearms education for women who facilitate the transmittal of constitutional awareness and gun ownership to succeeding generations.
Through REALIZE and with the connections she’s made, Suffecool has hosted successful concealed carry fashion shows, many featured at NRA Annual Meetings. Suffecool has taken her show on the road, showcasing the many different styles of carry and how an individual can build their wardrobe to more effectively carry and conceal their firearm. The show she hosts has been featured on Vice News, as well as HBO, and have been unveiled in several cities across the nation. Suffecool also penned a book on the subject.
To date, with different shows, programs, and personalities moving about and out of the industry, Suffecool is the only female host of a nationally syndicated Second Amendment radio show in the nation and the only woman seated on radio row at the annual NSSF SHOT Show.
Through her work in the industry and efforts to preserve the Second Amendment, Suffecool has amassed several honors. She told me that she was awarded the 2017, 2019 and most recently the 2022 Defender of Liberty Award by the Second Amendment Foundation. Suffecool also was awarded the Amm-Con Making a Difference Award. Amm-Con, or the Alternative Mass Media Conference, is an event hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation that brings Second Amendment media members together to learn from one another. In 2019 at a Gunsite class she was attending, she won the Challenge Coin for the 250 Class while shooting a SIG P365.
Suffecool’s is also is heavily involved with the DC Project. The DC Project is an all women cadre of volunteers who work to educate legislators in Washington, DC. The group has annual meetings with lawmakers and engage with policy makers in their own home states. Suffecool holds an Advisory Board seat as the Southeast Regional Director, and has been instrumental within the organization.
When I look at the future of the Second Amendment, I see more women on our side like Amanda Suffecool. Suffecool’s name was called at the 2022 Second Amendment Foundation Gun Rights Policy Conference to receive her third Defender of Liberty Award, and it brought into sharp focus how important women like her are to our cause.
If you were to stop Suffecool to sing her praises, she’d more than likely brush you off after a heartfelt thanks, then remind you that there’s more work to be done and suggest you keep your focus.
Suffecool and dedicated women like her are the advocates that are increasingly leading the gun rights movement now. She’s charted a course leading to success and has cast a mold which we can emulate in our work as advocates. When it comes to the successes she’s found in her life, Suffecool told me, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use, USCCA certified instructor, and NRA certified pistol, rifle and shotgun instructor. You can find him on the web at www.thepenpatriot.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thepenpatriot/ and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii