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In the swirling cauldron of the national debate about guns one recurring meme is that women are a rapidly growing segment of the gun owning population. Historically guns have been seen as a male thing. Men went out hunting. Women took care of the house. The protection of women and children was a male responsibility. Now organizations like the NRA who think that more guns are the obvious answer to gun related violence are promoting gun ownership by women as an essential means of self protection and personal security.

There has been significant media attention focused on the issue. This is a good example of coverage which unquestioningly regurgitates the NRA's propaganda.

There is a new trend among women and it has nothing to do with high heels or hemlines. Conversations about caliber and kick back are swirling as across the country, the number of female shooters is on the rise.
"More and more women are coming into gun ownership and the number of women participating in recreational shooting has risen exponentially," said Rachel Parsons of the National Rifle Association, which will hold its annual national convention April 29-May 1 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. Included on the schedule is a women-only NRA Pistol Instructor Training class. (Registration ended Friday.)
There are sites which promote gun ownership and training which take a more thoughtful tone. Women and Guns is a site that seems to be presenting gun ownership as a choice for women concerned about self protection, with protection from sexual assault being high on the list. Concurrent with public discussions about the gun culture we are also having a discussion about the rape culture. Personally I have no problem accepting the notion that we live in a society that is geared to concealing rape. We have very plausible research that one in five women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. This is an atmosphere that creates constant tension and insecurity for most women. Certainly there are women who chose to own a gun as a means of protection against sexual assault.  

There is another trend among women that fits more closely with a traditional picture of feminist activism.

Women's Groups Lend Muscle To Gun Control Effort

Gun control has not traditionally been considered a "women's issue." But in the wake of one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, women's rights groups are joining forces with gun control advocates to lend some major political muscle to the effort to regulate assault weapons.

"MomsRising hasn't previously been engaged in this policy area, but we are now, because our members are asking us to take action," Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of advocacy group MomsRising, told The Huffington Post. "They're very, very concerned about the current state of gun safety and our children and our families and our communities."

Women as mothers have concerns about guns that go beyond the dramatic murder of children in incidents like Sandy Hook. A much more frequent cause of injury or death for children are accidents or incidents of domestic violence using family owned guns.

I'd like to share a thoughtful article that makes an effort to examine the media hype about the rush of women to become gun owners.

Women and Guns: Hype vs Reality

You know all those stories about how women are ‘the fastest-growing group of new gun owners’? Well, we took a closer look.
A Gallup poll from last October showed a dramatic a spike in the percentage of women who report that they personally own guns. The poll is often cited in recent reports about trends of female gun owners. A record-high of 43 percent of women in the telephone survey reported having a gun in the household, and 23 percent of women said that they personally own a gun. Only 15 percent reported owning a gun in 2010.

But Gallup Poll Managing Editor Jeff Jones says that this large shift in the numbers does not necessarily mean that more women are actually becoming gun owners. The survey's random sample of 1,005 adults could have included "a slightly higher proportion of women gun owners than in prior years," Jones said in an email. While the percentage of women who report owning a gun might have gone up, Jones suspects this year's poll might be skewed a bit high.

There are other reasons not to jump to big conclusions about Gallup's findings. The General Social Survey (GSS), run every two years by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, paints a radically different picture of women's gun ownership. According to their 2010 survey, 8.9 percent of women reported owning a gun in 2010. That number has hovered around 10 and 11 percent for the last ten years.
I've always been fond of the saying. There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. One of the great problems in exploring the issues of gun ownership and gun violence is that the NRA has successfully blocked government funding of serious research into the issues.  Is the war on women driving women to take up arms en masse? We really need more than a couple of opinion polls to conclude that a major change is under way.

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:02 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Get a load of Heather, the Hillbily Gun Goddess. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bleeding blue, side pocket

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:05:25 AM PST

    •  partial transcript as best I can understand her (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Azazello

      ...So we're fixin to have some effin fun all right? OK basically what ahm gonna dew...is, ahm goan put mah finger in here, ahm oh have it like this, ahm oh...instead of pulling going klink klink klink klack, I'm just gonna pole the gun forward and with every recoal gun make it go thump thump thump thump thump....

  •  The NRA can't promote guns with happy kids anymore (3+ / 0-)

    Ever since Sandy Hook, the air's gone out of the "Out Shooting With Grandpa" meme.

    So they're doing their best to do it with frightened women.

    While at the same time, demonizing smiling kids for not fighting back, or at least for "Acting as political props".

    Cute.

    I'm just waiting for them to roll out Eddie Eagle again, this time as Eddie the anti-rape Eagle!

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:07:52 AM PST

  •  Women represent an untapped market (4+ / 0-)

    It all comes down to sales. The NRA will use any rationale as a marketing ploy. I doubt they give a rat's ass about women's safety.

    IIRC, women are 5 times more likely to be murdered in a household with guns than a home without.

    •  Many of the politicians (5+ / 0-)

      who are beating the drums for the NRA are also the ones making seriously stupid comments about women and rape. There is a serious disconnect there.

    •  How many NRA crazies are also pro life crazies? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not honestly sure, but I would guess the two groups overlap quite a bit.  Anybody know?

      I am all for women packing guns. I think it should be mandatory....... (SNARK advisory).....

      Guns + stand your ground laws make excellent birth control, and would be a great way to avoid those unholy abortions due to rape that the repugs find so, well, repugnant. A sort of night before pill, if you will.

      In addition,  think of the tax savings:
      No more rape kits. No more need for police harrasment of the victim. No more need for expensive forced vaginal ultra sounds. No more court cases to hopefully prosecute the rapist, let alone pay for his incarceration. It's a huge savings for the tax payer, and frankly, I think we owe it to our country.....
      (End Snark)

      The problem is, that if women really did start packing guns in any great numbers, I expect the NRA , and Paul Ryan, and Cantor, and the Christians, would start passing laws to prevent it.  It will be interesting to see how far they take a women's gun campaign.

      On the other hand, they are stupid enough to want to arm teachers...  after cutting their pay and pensions and destroying their unions..... So maybe they are that dumb.

      I'm going to go make some popcorn... This could be entertaining

  •  I love chicks with guns. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, JayRaye, Azubia

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:25:00 AM PST

  •  Having a gun would not have (4+ / 0-)

    helped me when I was raped.
    Unless I would have shot him in the back as he walked through the door.
    After my ordeal I wanted revenge but, strangely, I didn't think about getting a gun. I thought about self-defense classes and that's what I did. I know of women who managed to hold off attackers with guns and I am happy that worked for them.
    The discussion, however, is not about hand guns for protection but rather military styled weapons in the hands of civilians.
    My fear of guns: I (am still) married to a man who loves guns and has quite a collection. In the last six months or so before I left him, I took to putting a chair against each of my two bedroom doors at night. Not that it would have prevented him from gaining entrance if he really wanted as he is a mixed-martial artist, but just to give me fair warning. He had taken to wearing a gun which he never did before (or I wasn't aware of him doing) and quite openly brandishing it around in my presence. He knows I hate guns and would always respect my wishes not to display them when I am around. Even though he had never physically abused me, I just didn't know what was going through his head as he knew I was leaving.
    I feared for my life and that's putting it mildly. Guns are weapons of terror and those that are especially designed for war should not be allowed on the streets.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:25:27 AM PST

  •  A familiar apology (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    klompendanser, buddabelly
    But Gallup Poll Managing Editor Jeff Jones says that this large shift in the numbers does not necessarily mean that more women are actually becoming gun owners. The survey's random sample of 1,005 adults could have included "a slightly higher proportion of women gun owners than in prior years" ....
    This reminds me of those Republicans who discounted the polls showing that Obama was ahead of Romney, because the survey included too many Democrats.
  •  There is a place probably many called (5+ / 0-)

    girls with guns.   There is a biker community down here in Florida and since the NRA wants to arm everyone from 80 year old grandpaws to the alligator that swims in the swamp, then they are pulling out all the stops.

    I personally think these Annie Oakley types are not much different than the super charged Rambo want a be.
    Fun to shoot.  That is what we hear.  Well.  Solve that problem.   Make them with such a kick that it knocks down male or female and then it might not be so much fun.   Seriously, this is not the old west and if everyone wanted to be armed then why even have a police force?
    Why depend on professionals?   The argument is the people who are shooting because it is fun has not the first idea of what an aftermath of a kill would be  Ask any combat vet who killed.   The guilt is pretty bad for most.
    Defensless children and other including cardboard never shoots back..

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:41:33 AM PST

  •  guns will (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Calamity Jean

    not solve the problem of MOST sexual assaults. Most rapists use women or children they know. The police and prosecutors refuse to believe most rape victims anyway. Unless a woman wants to spend 20 years in jail she needs to come up with a better plan to prevent rape than shooting the guy(s). I think women should start with "don't date Republicans, the sons of Republicans"

  •  WHile most rapists, according to RAINN, (0+ / 0-)

    don't use guns to commit the rape---I would love to see a study of how many sexual harassers and rapists own guns. It might prove interesting.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:36:17 PM PST

    •  An interesting question (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, annecros, irishwitch

      would be the extent to which an unarmed man intent on committing rape would be deterred from doing it if a gun were pointed at him.

       

      •  Another interesting question: (0+ / 0-)

        How do you figure out how deterred he'd be,if he's dead?

        The woman had better intend to shoot him and drop him, if she is going to have the gun at all. Can we give her that much credit?

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