Last week, anti-gun group Moms Demand Action heavily promoted “National Gun Violence Survivors Week” on their website and on social media. The group posted tragic stories of those who have been affected by or survived gun violence. You’d have to be a robot not to flinch while reading them.
Yet, the women reading these stories should also be aware of an equally important demographic: those who have been the victims of crimes because they weren’t able to defend themselves by using a firearm. The latest Department of Justice crime statistics shows that while crime overall has declined, rape and other sexual crimes have increased.
In New York alone, rape has increased 22.4%—going from 1,467 in 2017 to 1,795 in 2018. Other types of sexual assault, like groping and unwelcome touching, have increased 8.4%, according to The New York Times. The Times also reported that rapes in New York City have risen for 16 consecutive months since the fall of 2018.
Those are disconcerting statistics in a city where it’s nearly impossible to obtain a firearm. As Darren Leung, owner of Westside Rifle and Pistol Range—a shooting range in downtown Manhattan—said in an NPR interview last year: “It’s very, very difficult to obtain a license, very costly.” The New York City Police Department has full discretion on who gets a handgun license and, unsurprisingly, the police look for reasons to deny applications.
Even if you do somehow manage to get a permit in New York City, you have to keep your handgun unloaded and locked at all times. As Leung noted in his NPR interview, New York City officials, “… don’t want you to have the ability to use the firearm in a situation.”
Those situations might include rape or sexual assault. Yet, despite the increases in these crimes, a Marie Claire magazine poll recently found women want stricter gun laws at a rate 8-10% higher than men.
Mainstream media coverage of this issue is certainly part of the reason for these general public opinions. These polls are also very open to interpretation; after all, if a person simply believes that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) needs to be improved, then they’d be counted as someone who wants greater restrictions on guns.
The mainstream media doesn’t often report that, for example, millions of Americans use firearms to protect themselves every day, most commonly without firing the gun. While there are differences in reported numbers, (Reason’s Brian Doherty has an article that’s worth reading on these figures) using firearms for self-defense is far more common than the media lets on.
Clearly, Moms Demand Action is showing one side of a story to push a dishonest agenda. They want people to believe that gun rights are a problem even though guns save lives every day. The Second Amendment empowers good citizens to live their lives freely—this is especially true for women, as a gun in the hands of a law-abiding citizen is an equalizer.
Moms Demand Action simply doesn’t want people to focus on the real problem, violent criminals, as the policy prescription for targeting bad guys, rather than our freedom, doesn’t fit into their real goals for control.