Today’s Senate committee hearing on gun safety began with a surprise appearance by Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), grievously wounded during an assassination attempt two years ago that left six others dead.
“Thank you for inviting me here today,” she said. “This is an important conversation for our children, for our community, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important.”
She continued: “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.”
But later in the hearing, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) bragged about having an AR-15 at home.
“You could find yourself in this country in a lawless environment from a natural disaster or a riot,” he said… The Republican senator added that he would carry his assault rifle around his neighborhood in the event of “a law and order breakdown.”
And then it got weirder.
One of the witnesses at the hearing, Daily Caller writer Gayle Trotter, head of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, argued that limiting magazine capacity would particularly affect women, who she claimed believe the AR-15 to be their “weapon of choice.”
“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 that a woman has as she’s facing three, four, five violent attackers, intruders in her home, with her children screaming in the background, the peace of mind that she has knowing that she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened, violent criminals,” she said.
I’m almost 60 years old. I never had even one “hardened, violent criminal” attack me at home. Not one time. Do these people know how crazy they sound to most Americans?
Gun advocate tells Senate: AR-15 is the ‘weapon of choice’ for women with crying babies
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The fact of the matter is that more guns put women in danger. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center has found that states with more guns have more female violent deaths. Their research also found that batterers who owned guns liked to use them to scare and control their victims, and would often use the gun to threaten the victim, threaten her pets or loved ones, clean them menacingly during arguments, or even fire them to scare her.
Trotter’s organization, the Independent Women’s Forum, opposes legislation aimed at curbing domestic violence including the Violence Against Women Act.
UPDATE: Amanda Marcotte attempts to explain what Trotter’s unhinged testimony was about: Why Was An Anti-Feminist Organization Using Senate Time to Sell Guns?
Rape and domestic violence apologists and gun nuts have overlapping interests, it turns out. The gun industry needs people to be afraid of random, impersonal crime and rape/domestic violence apologists need to deny that interpersonal crime is really a problem. So, as we see, the gun industry works with anti-feminists to paint a picture of a country where bad guys are breaking in doors on an hourly basis, but inside those doors, there’s nothing but harmony and peace. A gun can plausibly protect you against strangers breaking into your home (though even that’s debateable), but it’s a terrible weapon to protect you from a lover or a friend that wants to hurt you. Despite all the silly wingnuts claiming to me on Twitter that women should simply wear a gun in the shower and in bed and at parties and while cooking dinner or while making out with a new guy they’re dating, most sane people realize that’s not going to be feasible. Most sane people realize that if one person in an an interpersonal situation decides to become violent—whether or not he’s a wife beater or a rapist—he’s probably going to be the one who gets to the gun first. As the evidence bears out.