Women, Guns, and the Women’s March

Between 2005 and 2011, the percentage of women in the United States who owned a firearm jumped from just 11 percent to 23 percent — a 77% increase in less than a decade. According to Gallup, 2011 is also the year that self-reported gun ownership was at its highest levels since 1993.

Here’s another statistic for those interested: In 2016, production of the palm-sized .380 semi-automatic handgun was at a 16-year high. Indeed, sales of the small handgun — the perfect size for smaller hands and handbags — were booming last year while sales of large-caliber handguns and long guns were on the decline.

If all that sounds surprising, it shouldn’t. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), women are the fastest-growing group of gun owners in the U.S. In 2014, the NRA saw this growth firsthand. That year, more than 13,000 women participated in the NRA Women on Target Instructional Shooting Clinics — up from just 500 participants in 2000.

But don’t tell any of this to Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory, who claimed in a recent interview that the road to feminism and female empowerment is paved with — and only with — more gun control.

Maybe Mallory is simply unaware that more and more women are choosing to be empowered through their Second Amendment right to self-defense. But ignorance, as they say, is no excuse — especially when claiming to want “responsible” and “sensible” gun legislation.

What’s “sensible” about forcing women in vulnerable situations to jump through hoop after hoop just to exercise their Second Amendment rights? Was it “responsible” for gun control laws in New Jersey to force Carol Bowne to drown in paperwork and bureaucratic wait times just to get a gun permit? The fact that she was stabbed to death in her driveway by an ex after waiting for a permit for three months can answer that question: NO.

Or what about Kristi McMains? She was attacked by a man with a knife in a parking garage just last year. She is alive today because thankfully, she was a concealed carry permit holder who was able to access her firearm during the attack and shoot back.

Yes, these are only two stories. But they point to a larger truth that gun control activists refuse to confront: Guns are not the problem. Both Bowne’s and McMains’ attackers, after all, were armed with knives. And while many violent criminals do use firearms, the firearm did not cause them to become violent criminals.

We may never know the real motivation behind why Bowne’s ex showed up that day to stab her to death. What we do know is that Bowne was out-matched with her attacker; the playing field was about as unlevel as it gets. And the fact that she had a restraining order against him — and had applied for a gun permit — shows she knew her life was in danger.

The truth is that gun control laws harm those willing to follow the law more than they harm those willing to break it.

Not every woman in America will choose to protect themselves by owning or carrying a gun — and that’s ok. But when that choice comes under attack by the very people claiming to march for women’s rights? Or when those same people say that women must subscribe to gun control to be a true feminist? That’s when we have a problem.

Where are the women-focused gun safety and training classes from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety? Where are the safety and training events from the Brady Campaign? Or the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence? Or Moms Demand Action?

Maybe instead of marching in the streets, the aforementioned groups could work with the Women’s March to provide actual resources to the millions of women (and counting!) who are buying guns for protection.

But they won’t. Because for all their talk (and it is just talk) of “supporting the Second Amendment”, they don’t. We know it, and the millions of law-abiding gun owners in America know it. For women who make the choice to own firearms, want that choice protected, and want to be trained in safety and self-defense, they have one place and one place only to turn: The National Rifle Association.

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