Johnette van Eeden is used to being the token female at the gun range and on hunting trips. But you won’t find her wielding any pink guns. The 47-year-old CEO of Star Wellness USA, a growing medical screening and corporate wellness program company, is an avid target shooter. Some of her bullet-ridden targets can be found hanging on display at her Euless-based company’s headquarters.
A fifth-generation resident of Bedford, van Eeden says she grew up hunting and shooting at empty cans along the creek bed on her family’s homestead. She names pistols as her favorite type of gun, but her collection includes everything from rifles and ARs to 12- and 20-gauge shotguns. “The main one I use is a little .22 long rifle,” van Eeden says. “It’s pretty heavy, but it’s very accurate.”
A regular at Fort Worth’s Winchester Shooting Gallery, she is considering joining a tactical shooting club to switch things up. “You have a spotter and a guide, and you actually have pop-up targets that you shoot at,” van Eeden says of tactical programs.
Her two children, a son and daughter who are both in their early 20s, also grew up shooting a variety of firearms. “Statistically, women are better shooters than men,” van Eeden says. “My daughter, the first time I took her, got a bull’s eye—her first shot. … My son has a really nice custom tricked-out, camo-green AK-47 that I gave him for Christmas when he was 20. Every 20-year-old needs an AK-47!”
Don’t mistake her enthusiasm for shooting and her enjoyment of the sport for lenience when it comes to gun safety. “I think you have a responsibility to make sure that children, especially, don’t have access,” van Eeden says. “We taught our children respect for guns, just as my parents taught us and my grandparents taught them. You don’t play with a gun.”