Spotlight: DC Project Taking on Washington, DC – Dianna Muller
"Moms Demand Action has been effective over the past 10 years. We're behind the curve, and it's important for us to start showing up and being visible. We cannot afford to be silent any longer."
Meet Dianna Muller, a retired 22-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, professional competition shooter, and two-time national 3-gun champion. She's also the founder of the DC Project, a grassroots organization bringing women to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators and advocate for the Second Amendment on behalf of gun owners.
The DC Project is shaking up Second Amendment advocacy in a big way. I spoke with Muller to get more insight into her work, and here's what I learned.
Guns.com:You've been around firearms all your life. Did you start shooting competitively at a young age, or did that come later in life?
Muller: It's something my dad got me into when I was young. We went deer hunting, which is hard for a kid with ADHD. It's painful to sit there waiting, and I don't like being cold. I ended up killing Bambi's mom, and I didn't like it.
My dad really wanted me to do something with firearms, and since deer hunting didn't work out, he turned his attention toward competitive shooting. He took me to a pistol match, and I took classes, including a one-on-one class with J. Michael Plaxco, who was a professional shooter sponsored by Smith & Wesson. We'd go to competitions occasionally, about once a month, but we were horse people, so our time and attention revolved mostly around horse shows.
It wasn't until 2009, when the United States Shooting Academy was built in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that I thought, "Dianna, you should go just to practice." And that's when I found and fell in love with 3-gun. I used all three platforms at work and knew I needed time practicing behind them. I think shooting sports is a fantastic way to become familiar with firearms. It may not be tactical training, but any time you spend behind your gun, you're becoming more intimate with it. And that definitely translates into the tactics world.
Guns.com:You're one of the top shooters in the United States. Did you retire from law enforcement to become a professional shooter?
Muller: Yes, I did. The transition happened around 2010. At first, I dabbled in pistol because I spent most of my hobby time barrel racing. Then I fell in love with the people in the shooting sports.
In 2010, I realized I was shooting about 50 percent of my hobby time. And then, in 2011, it changed to 70/30 toward the firearms side. That year, I pulled the plug on my farm. I sold everything and moved into town because competitive shooting was becoming lucrative. People were sponsoring me and paying me to do these things.
I think, honestly, it was a God thing that he turned my heart toward this industry and my advocacy work, which I had no idea was coming. I have been a horse person all my life, so to just sell everything and turn around and walk away from horses was a huge change.
Guns.com:What does the Second Amendment mean to you as a woman?
Muller: The age I've grown up in is about women's empowerment and taking care of ourselves. Throughout history, many women have fought for our rights and gotten us to where we are today. I believe the Second Amendment is part of that movement, and it means independence and freedom to me.
We know men have traditionally been the defenders and protectors. And now we see that women can take on that role as well. I don't have to rely on the police or anyone else to protect me. I can be my own first responder.
Guns.com:What motivated you to start the DC Project?
Muller: I had no intention of doing anything like this. It was a God thing. I was a tourist in Washington, D.C., and a friend said, "Do you want to meet your congressman?" I was totally apathetic about taking the meeting, but I figured that's what you did in D.C.
So, I took the meeting, and it was a lightbulb moment of, "Hey, is there something that we should be doing as professional shooters to educate people in this building?" I knew women could have a stronger voice when speaking about the Second Amendment because we don't look like traditional gun owners. We break the stereotype. That meeting planted the seed.
I realized I needed help because I only had contacts in the state I lived in. Then I looked for one woman from every state who would go to Washington, D.C., with me and meet our legislators. Fast forward to 2019, when we saw Virginia change from top to bottom, governor on down, and I realized the fight is in the states.
I asked those women who came to Washington D.C. with me to return to their respective states and do the same work at the state level. And now we're hitting our niche as a counter-visual and counter-voice to Moms Demand Action.
I was honored to testify in a House Judiciary hearing in 2019. We knew Moms Demand Action would have a significant presence, so they were on our radar. We'd seen them around D.C. and realized their effectiveness. Knowing they'd be in the gallery, we wanted the same visual presence.
That's when I came up with our teal-colored shirts that say, "Educate, Not Legislate." I had about 10 ladies sitting behind me wearing those shirts with blazers. That was the beginning of me realizing we were powerful and could speak to Moms Demand Action. They are demanding we restrict constitutional rights, and the DC Project demands that you don't.
Guns.com:It can be intimidating to speak out as pro-2A, especially for women. Any advice for bravery?
Muller: I have no special education or talent for what I'm doing. I just saw a need to step out of the silent majority, and I believe anyone can do the same.
It's going to be tough and rough, and you're going to get beat up. You may not have all the answers, but you can educate yourself. If you can't articulate your point in 10 seconds or less, you've lost the argument and potentially lost influence in your circle.
The DC Project has a one-page document with talking points to help educate our endemic crowd. It's so crucial for all of us to learn and then have those conversations because we don't have mainstream media, social media, or Hollywood on our side.
America is being flooded with anti-gun messages. It's more important than ever for our side to be able to have one-on-one conversations and give speeches. Put yourself out there and have the conversations. Talk to people at your church, book club, or wherever you can get them to listen.
On the DC Project website, we have a section of stories from women who are standing up for the Second Amendment, and I think those may help anyone needing a little bravery.
Guns.com: There's strength in numbers. How can women get involved in the fight for our rights?
Muller: They can join the DC Project if they don't want to trek out alone. When they click "Join Us" on our website, they'll get added to their state directory and connected with their state director. This helps us on our mission to build an army of women who will be the counter-visual and counter-voice to the anti-gun side.
I'd love to see women wear teal to rallies, festivals, and hearings so we can recognize them. Concealed carry, for example, is done with discretion, so we don't get to experience the reality that gun owners are normal and good people. That visual connection is essential.
We're also here to help. Several of our ladies have provided powerful testimony in gun-related hearings in the state, judiciary, and House Judiciary. Part of my focus is helping prepare people to tell their stories, give testimony, and run for office.
As Muller stated, and I've heard from other 2A advocates, we're behind the curve and need to start showing up. The anti-gun side has record numbers and funding, and they're coming for our rights. We cannot afford to be silent any longer.