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Black woman CEO builds successful national firearms company and gun clubs system

September 12, 2021   |  

Munson Steed

Munson Steed

Javondlynn M. Dunagan of JMD Defense, LLC (Photo provided)

After retiring from a stellar 25-year career as a United States probation officer in the city of Chicago, Javondlynn M. Dunagan used her power and prowess to launch JMD Defense, LLC in 2017. Only four years later, JMD has grown into a safety education business that empowers, trains and educates women about responsible firearm ownership. Dunagan’s entrepreneurial goals continued to grow thereafter, as she founded the Ladies of Steel Gun Club® soon after, growing its membership from 15 members to 500 in less than five years.


Dunagan shared her passion for guns and safety with us during an exclusive interview.

Briefly describe your area of work and how you contribute as a CEO and change agent.


I have a safety education business. I am the founder of the Ladies of Steel Gun Club®, which has grown from 7 members to 500 members in less than five years. The gun club has 99.9% African American women who attend monthly range practice outings and firearm education monthly meetings.

Name two social problems that you are dedicated to change.

I want to change the broken relationship between the police and the Black community. As a retired federal law enforcement officer and a sister with a master’s degree in social work, I want to do my part with helping law enforcement and the community understand one another. The other social problem is related to the unfortunate collapse of accountability in our community. As soon as Black on Black crime occurs, some individuals in the community remain silent, turn a blind eye, make excuses or harbor the criminal.

How does a Gun Club play a role in solving a problem in our society?

Children playing with guns is a major problem in the Black community. Gun club members can model responsible firearm ownership for their peers and family members. When our children learn to respect the role of firearms and observe responsible firearm ownership, we will see a decline in negligent shootings by children.

What motivated you to start your own gun club?

Throughout my career, I was afraid of guns. Although gun training was optional, I felt peer pressure. I finally overcame my fear, took the training and fell in love with guns and shooting. I founded the gun club because African American women shared my fear of guns and desired training.

Name two books and the authors who inspire you. Tell us why we should explore these books.

I highly recommend Nathan McCall’s Makes Me Wanna Holler and Chef Jeff Henderson’s book, Cooked. Both authors share their personal stories about deeply personal and destructive times in their lives and how redemption is possible. I would recommend that brothers in prison read both books for inspiration and motivation.

Why is it important for women to own a gun and be educated on how to use it?

Firearm ownership and training are top priorities for women as violent crime is increasing. Women are taking firearm education classes in record numbers as they focus on self-protection. Once a woman firearm owner becomes educated about responsible firearm ownership, she becomes empowered to protect herself and her family.

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