Off the Clock: GMU-TV Director Confronts Stereotype, Adopts a New Hobby

Posted: August 30, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nicholas Zinzer

Susan Kehoe
Susan Kehoe
Creative Services photo

Susan Kehoe grew up with guns. She was exposed to recreational shooting and hunting through her brothers and father, who consider guns a part of their lives. However, Kehoe, director of GMU-TV, never fully embraced the sport the way other members of her family did.

That changed two years ago when she received an e-mail invitation asking her to take part in locally taught gun classes. “I signed up for the class and got hooked. We learned about gun safety and the aspects of owning a gun,” says Kehoe.

Kehoe got involved with the gun classes through an organization called the Patrick Henry Foundation, a nonprofit group that seeks to educate women about gun safety and gun laws.

She has taken an intermediate pistol course and an advanced pistol course. “I try to shoot once a week. The intermediate course is about shooting, aiming and getting a rhythm down, while the advanced class is about accuracy.”

Kehoe shoots at the National Rifle Association (NRA) headquarters indoor range in Fairfax, Va. In addition, Kehoe attends gun shows and enjoys meeting fellow gun owners. Both Kehoe and her daughter are members of the NRA.

The Illinois native considers herself a moderate-to-liberal politically and was initially skeptical of gun owners, who she says are generally perceived as both narrow-minded and very conservative. Kehoe believes enrolling in the class was a way for her to confront her stereotype of gun owners.

“These people are normal, average people who enjoy a sport like some people enjoy archery, football or basketball. I think we have to push ourselves because bias comes out of ignorance. I am confronting a lot of stereotypes I’ve had.”

Kehoe owns a pistol, a Glock 9mm that she bought herself, and a shotgun, a Wingmaster 870 that was a gift from her brother.

Kehoe says people give her a hard time about her hobby. “My colleagues laugh that I shoot, and my husband says I live my life to shock and surprise people.”

Kehoe has been with George Mason for 18 years. Before she joined the university, she was a reporter with KPOM-TV in Arkansas where she covered former President Bill Clinton, who was governor at the time.

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