Women & Guns
Placing aside reproductive rights and similar issues which, obviously, only directly affect females, the discussion of women and guns is quite a polarizing one. Almost automatically, women are placed in an opposing category in relations to firearms, their ownership, and the handling of them. Society doesn’t immediately associate women positively WITH firearms. Why?
Firstly, female homicide victims are more often than not killed with a firearm. The Violence Policy Center’s study, “When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2010 Homicide Data,” states that when the murder weapon was known, the majority were indeed guns. Along with that, the study also states that the female victims overwhelmingly knew their attackers to the tune of 94%. Is it safe to assume that these women also were at least remotely aware of the existence of the gun which took their life? I believe it is.
Secondly, women as a whole are seen to be anti-gun. Not just because of their opposition to them in society, but because they are seemingly uncomfortable and unfamiliar with them. Name your adjective. Have you seen a woman portrayed in entertainment with a firearm? It becomes a kitschy connotation. It is so incredibly opposite of the supposed norm that it is humorous. A woman with a gun? Surely, you must be joking.
Thirdly, woman, many of whom are mothers, are largely backers of gun control. They don’t want their babies shooting other mothers’ babies, so they ban together in an effort to fight the evil firearm which became the sole reason for the pain and anguish they now feel. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, as quoted in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, “To the extent that, as the president has said, the only way we’re going to create change is if the American people demand it, the voices of women and mothers in the safety of our nation have to be among the most important voices.”
Can you see how much women in general are a monumental force for change, either pro-gun or anti-gun, in the United States? This is a fact that cannot be denied. And it is a fact that is recognized by both sides in astonishing fashion.
After the recent Newtown tragedy, gun control became a topic of even more frequent, and more fierce, debate. On January 30, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on gun violence welcomed those such as Gabby Giffords, the former U.S. Representative injured in a shooting two years ago, who pushes for stricter gun control, and Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, and a gun rights activist. With a panel of mostly men before them, these women shared their perspective on the issue of guns. Ms. Giffords gave only a short statement, her speech still affected from her horrific injuries only two years ago.
“Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.”
Gayle Trotter spoke of a scenario where a gun might be the only protection for a woman:
“An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon. And the peace of mind she has…knowing she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened violent criminals.”
I empathize with Gabby as she was just a woman serving her country, and suddenly became the victim of a shooting. I understand Gayle’s feelings as she herself is a mother (of six) and is passionate about 2nd Amendment rights. However, virulent attacks after the hearing were aimed at Gayle Trotter. One woman commenting on a news story of her appearance, “She is a disgrace to our gender.” Still another, “She does not speak for me. Women want PEACE.” Now, please forgive me, but how is defending yourself or your family disgraceful or violent at the core? It is a basic human desire to care for you and yours. How utterly false this liberal mindset is.
Both sides can and have used women to make the point that guns, and control of them or right to use them, is indeed an issue that is not just to be discussed by men. Women, as United States citizens, have the privilege to bear arms. An estimated 15 to 20 million ‘disgraceful’ and ‘violent’ women exercise this right, count themselves in the discussion, and demand to be heard. Not as mothers or helpless females, but as those who choose the responsibility of owning a firearm.