by Julie Golob, Captain, Team Smith & Wesson - Friday, February 19, 2016
Firearms are fashionable? Don’t let Marie Claire’s venture into the world of #womenandguns fool you. The fashion magazine teamed up with the Harvard Injury Control Research Center for a “survey” that says, “Most Americans favor stricter gun control, but women want it more.”
This survey, combined with 10 stories, is supposed to “shed light on what often goes unseen: how women feel about, live with, and die by guns.” From politics, victims, gangs and the so-called “gun lobby,” to addressing access, need, danger and the decision, each piece is meant to stand alone.
Yet when it comes to the “lobby,” the bias is notable. Words on the screen attempt to paint a picture of a detached and misleading NRA. “In a slick, well-produced roundtable discussion hosted by Susan LaPierre, NRA Women’s Leadership Forum co-chair and wife of NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, members sit together on plush leather couches and declare women the new face of the NRA.” In fact, 49 percent of women surveyed said gun ownership does more to protect people than endanger safety.
According to Gallup, Americans actually think favorably or mostly favorably of the NRA, but that’s not the vibe you’ll get from Marie Claire. I was disappointed that, to illustrate the NRA’s efforts to connect with women, the piece hyperlinks to a biased, anti-gun article from Slate.com.
Everytown for Gun Safety received special thanks for its help with research and sources. Not surprisingly, the exposé style of “reporting” was not used for the Bloomberg-funded anti-gun organizations that have exploited gun violence by inflating statistics. Marie Claire and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center instead dispute NRA so-called “claims” that are sniped with parenthesis of doubt over a supposed growing “cohort” of female gun ownership.
Meanwhile, according to the Pew Research Center, support for firearm ownership has increased. In 1993, just 23 percent of women supported gun rights over more gun control. In 2015 that number has grown, with 42 percent of women supporting gun rights. In fact, 49 percent of women surveyed said gun ownership does more to protect people than endanger safety. Getting personal, 76 percent of women would be happy or indifferent versus unhappy when asked how they would react if a member of their immediate family told them they were going to marry a gun owner.
Marie Claire’s last story focuses on the serious choice of whether or not to own or use a gun. That’s where the author claims that, “Politicians love to talk about how if more people owned or carried guns, we’d see fewer casualties in mass shootings.” Perhaps so many politicians love to talk about it because research shows that 50 percent of women think that if more Americans carried concealed, the United States would be more safe.
The fact remains that gun sales are at an all-time high. National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reports that participation by women increased in both target shooting (46.5 percent) and hunting (36.6 percent) in the last decade. And 61 percent of firearm retailers that responded to an NSSF survey said they saw an increase in female customers in their stores. Despite stats that more women are carrying concealed weapons, Marie Claire and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center would again have us believe otherwise. Am I supposed to think that 185,345 background checks on new firearm sales on Black Friday alone and the 3.3 million record in December must be all, or at least mostly, men? Perhaps so many politicians love to talk about it because research shows that 50 percent of women think that if more Americans carried concealed, the United States would be more safe.
“The Decision,” like most of the other stories, is a personal account. “Despite the ways in which I am forced to think about safety, despite statistics, despite the gun owners I have known and respected, despite politicians’ hypotheticals, I recognize that to own a gun, to keep a gun in my home, to carry a gun on my person means I am taking on the responsibility of using that gun. I am taking on the responsibility of being willing to take another human life.”
It’s not a responsibility to take another human life; it’s a responsibility to protect your own. I believe learning firearm safety is something everyone should do. Becoming proficient and confident with a tool that could save your life and those you care about isn’t something everyone is willing to do.
Personal accountability, self-reliance, discipline, perseverance, confidence and enjoyment are also side effects of safe, responsible gun ownership. Owning a gun and all the real responsibilities that come with it may not be for that author or some of Marie Claire’s readers, but it’s one I choose to bear—and do so seriously and proudly.
The NRA does indeed represent millions of gun owners in Washington, but the membership is a real grassroots representation of those dedicated to the Second Amendment. This wife, mother and daughter—among so many other women—is one of them.
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