Guns Make Some Women Feel Safe, From What?

Guns Make Some Women Feel Safe, From What?

Gun Rights

Janet Paulsen poses for a portrait at her Acworth, Georgia, home on Sunday April 21, 2019. Her estranged husband shot and paralyzed her in 2015. At this year’s National Rifle Association annual meeting, President Donald Trump invited some special guests on stage. The first was a young mother from Virginia, April Evans. “One night in 2015 she was alone with her two-year-old daughter when an intruder broke into her home violently,” said Trump. “April took care of it.” The crowd swooned. Evans told them she shot the man twice and held him at gunpoint until police responded. Stories like hers reinforce an idea both the NRA and the gun industry have emphasized for decades: Guns keep women safe in an unsafe world. Decades ago, researchers found evidence that the presence of a gun in a home increased the risk of violence in that home. Since then, studies have consistently confirmed that guns are linked to heightened danger for women in particular. Nevertheless, self-defense is still the main reason women own firearms. For many women gun owners, it may not matter that crime stats don’t line up with how their guns make them feel. The Equalizer There’s a commonly held idea in pro-gun circles that guns level the playing field between the strong and the weak. “There’s all these kinds of mantras and phrases,” said University of Arizona sociologist Jennifer Carlson. “And then there is one that’s some version of: ‘God created man and woman, but [gunmaker] Samuel Colt made […]

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