My Response to an Anti Gun Article from a Feminist Website

In an article entitled “Women pack gats,” a feminist writer makes a variety of anti gun statements while lamenting the fact that more and more women are becoming gun owners.  In the process of doing so, she displays blatant racism and a lack of knowledge on the issue of guns.  Quoted sections of that article, and my responses, are below:

Just what we need, more white people with guns.

The above quote is the opening sentence of the article.  As we can see, the author didn’t wast time, and instead got right down to expressing her racist views.  I find it particularly sad that someone who holds themselves out as a feminist doesn’t seem to understand that discrimination, regardless of the race/gender it is targeted against, is inherently wrong.  The problem in our society is not people who dislike group X, but rather the fact that some people believe it proper to stereotype everyone in a given group then discriminate against the members of that group.  But, I won’t dwell on that point or get into a long discussion on discrimination in general, since I don’t wish to stray too far from the issue of guns.

However, it is worth noting that racism and opposition to gun rights often go hand in hand.  The first gun control laws were enacted after the civil war, and expressly forbid the recently freed slaves from having a gun for self defense against the race-motivated violence that was commonplace.  After civil rights legislation put an end to laws that facially discriminated based upon race, racists had to find a new way to prevent African Americans from owning guns.  Their solution was to ban inexpensive guns, which were the only guns that most African Americans could afford.  That approach worked for many years, and some of those “junk gun” laws are still in effect today. Fast forward to the present, and gun control is pushed by those who suggest that African American and other minorities are too irresponsible to own guns.  From day one, gun control has been a favorite of racists, and that trend is sadly alive and well today, helping to ensure that victims of hate crimes are unable to defend themselves against their racist attackers.

On the other hand, gun rights supporters can be found on the side of racial equality.  While the media and uninformed individuals may assume that the NRA and its members are racist, nothing could be further from the truth.  Instead, the NRA is this country’s oldest civil rights organization, and has stood up for the rights of minorities for decades.  Today, the NRA continues to stand up for the rights of minorities, spending its time and resources to do so when other civil rights organizations turn a blind eye.  In my personal experience as an African American, I can say that the many gun owners I’ve met so far in Illinois and Iowa are universally non-racist.  Instead, as I’ve noted before, gun owners seem to go out of their way to make me feel welcome.

According to the beloved NRA (barf) the use of firearms by women has gone up significantly. Yes ladies, why deal with your feelings (and I will ignore the sexist assumption that women are more *sensitive* then men) when you can shoot sh[*]t?

Firstly, I would note that the primary purpose of gun ownership (at least for me and the many gun owners I know) is not to go shooting as an alternative to dealing with our feelings.  For some people, myself included, the main reason for owning guns is self defense.  For others, it is hunting.  Still more enjoy target shooting as a competitive sport.  I also know some gun owners who rarely fire a gun at all, and instead view guns mainly as historical collectible items.

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Even assuming that target shooting or hunting was a person’s preferred method of blowing off steam, I don’t see that as a problem.  Both are safe, lawful activities that have the added benefit of helping to ensure that more citizens are well trained in the use of firearms, should they need to defend themselves against a violent criminal.

Complicated issues, yes. I for one sometimes do want a gun when I am walking in the streets at night and I feel unsafe. I won’t lie, but then I have to remind myself how much of what I feel of fear is real and how much is perceived or based on the media painting images of crime and what it looks like. But I don’t want a gun, I hate them . . .  I am going to guess that these women are buying guns to keep in their house (in the suburbs oooohhhh) for self-defense.

I had a glimmer of hope for this feminist author when I read the first two sentences quoted above, but that hope was quickly dashed by the next few sentences.

Here, the author seems to acknowledge that crime exists, and that women in particular are targeted by violent criminals.  However she then downplays the concern, suggesting that those fears aren’t real.  Allow me to assure her and those reading this article that those concerns are indeed valid.  Every day, women are raped, murdered, and otherwise victimized by violent criminals.  This stats page states that a woman is raped every two minutes, and that the 1995 US Department of Justice crime stats reported over 350,000 cases of rape.

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Why do so many women suffer at the hands of their attackers?  I would say that it comes down to the fact that as a matter of biology and cultural norms, women tend to be physically smaller and weaker then men.  Thus, when an average hight/weight man who has lived a violent life attacks an average height/weight woman, chances are the woman will lose – unless she has a gun for self defense.

When women are armed for self defense, they are in the best position possible to defend themselves, as a few examples I’ve written about before show: This armed woman was able to defend herself against a rapist who came back to rape her for a second time in a week.  This armed woman used her gun to fend off a home invader. This 85 year old armed woman held a young burglar at gunpoint and made him call the police on himself.  This armed woman stopped an attacker who tried to ambush her.  This armed pregnant woman used a shotgun to scare away two home invaders.   This armed female school teacher used a gun to save herself from a convicted felon who broke into her home, while this armed woman saved herself and her family from a pair of armed, kidnappers.  I could list more examples, but the point should be clear – crime victims, be they male or female, can and do defend themselves with guns every day.

I think they are awful (beyond the fact that half the kids in my classroom have seen someone get shot and I see the effect of such trauma).

Here, the author confuses guns with the intentional actions of criminals.  A gun is an inanimate object that, by itself, can do neither good nor ill. A common rebuttal to that statement is that guns enable criminals to commit their crimes.  To that I have two responses:

Firstly, criminals can and do commit horrendous crimes without guns.  As an example, this boy was set on fire, allegedly by a group of thugs that didn’t appreciate the fact that he called the police on them. Similarly, this disabled woman was slashed with a knife, allegedly by the same group of attackers who had just stabbed her dog to death.  As another example, this disabled man was tortured to death by a group of home invaders who were armed with knives.  As a final example, 7 people were killed and 11 were injured by a man who allegedly used his car and a knife to mow down and stab as many people as he could.  The fact is that violence has been around since long before the invention of gunpowder, and blaming one tool for violence is misguided.

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Secondly, criminals are people who by definition don’t obey the laws, meaning that a criminal who is willing to commit a murder/robbery/rape is also going to be quite willing to violate any gun control law. This fact is apparent in Chicago, which has had a gun ban since before I was born yet has no shortage of armed criminals who prey upon their defenseless victims.  Even countries such as the UK, which strictly banned gun at the national level, see no shortage of criminals armed with illegal guns.  Indeed, rather than decrease after the nation wide gun control laws went into effect, gun related crime doubled in Britain.  Until criminals start obeying the law, gun bans aren’t going to stop criminals from having guns any more than the law against rape stops criminals from committing that crime.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, it’s at least 20 times more likely that you’ll use your weapon to shoot someone in your home rather than using it to protect yourself from an intruder. “If you bring a gun into the home, it increases the risk of homicide by three,” said Becca Knox of the Brady Campaign.

Here we have yet another person quoting some variant of the long since disproven “statistic” that gun ownership is more dangerous than beneficial.  This myth was started by a Mr. Kellermann, in his flawed study “Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearms-Related Deaths in the Home.” There were numerous flaws with the study, the most important being the fact that it only counted deaths of criminals at the hands of homeowners and deaths of homeowners involving their own guns.  This is flawed approach because the overwhelming majority of the 2.5 million self defense uses each year don’t result in a shot being fired at all, and even when a shot is fired, the criminal usually doesn’t die from their injuries.  That means that that this “study” totally ignored most self defense gun uses, such as the ones where the criminal is scared away at the sight of the armed homeowner, held at gunpoint until the police arrive, or shot and merely wounded.  As a properly conducted study found, the true statistic is that 65 lives are protected for every 2 lives lost, which means that gun ownership is overwhelmingly safe and beneficial, both to the individual and to society. See Dr. Suter’s paper “Guns in the Medical Literature – A Failure of Peer Review.” Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. Published March 1994.

My thanks to Anders for pointing out the anti gun article.