The gun control debate has once again come to the forefront of domestic politics in the wake of the terrible tragedy which occurred in Newtown, Connecticut.  People on both sides of the argument are spouting their usual litanies of talking points in anticipation of a renewed “assault weapons” ban which will likely be debated next month on Capitol Hill.  President Obama has expressed support for the proposed bill and has also made public comments suggesting that he would like to see tighter restrictions on handguns as well. Mission creep has a way of working itself into even the modest limitations placed on personal freedom for the sake of “public safety.” This is something everyone should be anxious about, but in particular women should be especially concerned.

I work in the gun business.  I have coached many women as they fired a gun for the first time in my store’s gun range.  I have also sold a lot of them their first firearms.  Their primary reason for deciding to purchase a gun is usually the same: they don’t want to be easy targets. It is sadly ironic that Nancy Lanza was killed by her own son with her own firearms, but it doesn’t change the fact that guns are used defensively millions of times a year according to a widely cited study conducted by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck. Nancy’s situation was anomalous.

I have become acquainted with many women who protected themselves and their households with a legally owned firearm. Just a couple of weeks ago a would-be home invader tried to break into the home of a young housewife I know.  She yelled at the man and told him to go away, but he completely ignored her.  His pants were around his ankles and her daughter was sleeping in the other room.  Her husband was also asleep and did not hear her screaming. She fetched her nine millimeter handgun and pointed it at the perpetrator through a window. The man quickly fled and was later caught by the police. The moral of the story is that it is unwise to threaten a mother and her children when she is holding a Glock.

The Newtown massacre is a horrific and unusual counterexample of that situation. All of the victims were unarmed women and young children. This is the kind of situation that sickos like Adam Lanza usually look for. They want easy targets and high body counts. Texas Governor Rick Perry pointed this out when he suggested allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons. Perhaps this solution is too extreme for a majority of Americans, but I personally wouldn’t have a problem with it. It wouldn’t have helped Nancy very much, but it might have saved the lives of many of Adam’s other victims. At the very least I would argue that placing more armed security guards or police officers in schools across the country might be a step in the right direction.

Like most murderers, Adam Lanza was a man.  In fact, most violent crimes are perpetrated by men.  That means women involved in violent crimes are, of course, usually victims.  Unfortunately, women are more often than not at a natural disadvantage in physical confrontations with men.  Fair or not, it is the truth.  Nevertheless, the playing field is quickly leveled when a woman pulls a concealed handgun out of her purse and points it at her would be attacker in self-defense.  It is a very effective way to turn the tables, and it at least means an even fight if the attacker is also armed.

I am confident that almost everyone reading this knows at least one woman who has been the victim of a violent crime (i.e. assault, battery, rape, murder, etc.).  Women who survive violent crimes are often left with heavily damaged psyches, and aggregately this undermines efforts to create any kind of social equality between the sexes. Guns empower women with the ability to defend themselves against violent attacks, which is why the right to bear arms is a critical women’s rights issue.  Sadly, there are still too few American women out there who realize this. In many countries around the world women are brutalized and sometimes even murdered with near impunity on a daily basis.  I wish every single one of those poor women could shoot their attackers dead, but they don’t have a “Second Amendment” which makes that possible.

If the headlines are any indication, single women are uniquely at risk of becoming targets for would be attackers.  Their assailants often include jealous ex-boyfriends, creepy strangers in bars, stalking coworkers, and the like.  A beautiful, intelligent single lady named Heather recently informed me that she decided to purchase a firearm from my store after her ex-boyfriend began stalking her, even after she’d applied for a restraining order.  He followed her home one evening and accosted her as she was trying to enter her apartment.  Heather barely managed to ward him off with a knife, get inside, lock the door and call the police.  He was gone by the time they arrived.  The news is chock-full of stories like this that didn’t end quite so fortunately.  Personally, I am elated that Heather is now a gun owner.

Liberals deride conservatives for waging an imaginary “war on women” that is centered mostly around access to free birth control and abortion services.  That is, to quote Vice President Biden, a bunch of “malarkey.”  Conservative men do in fact care deeply about women, especially when it comes to their safety, and certainly believe they should be empowered.  I know this is true every time I see a loving husband, boyfriend, father or brother bring his wife, girlfriend, daughter or sister to my gun store to obtain a concealed carry permit or buy a gun.  I know this is true every time a female shooter smiles at me when, after heeding my patient tutelage, one of her bullets rips through the bullseye of a paper target for the first time.  If you ask me, liberals seem to care more about evading the potential responsibilities of parenthood than empowering or protecting women.

Banning rifles with certain features, which is by itself a feckless endeavor, will likely be the first of many steps the left will attempt in order to gradually implement a de facto ban on firearms in the United States.  Liberals make little effort to hide their intent to accomplish this.  One need only look at gun laws in liberal bastions like Chicago or New York City, places which have no shortage of violent crimes involving guns despite comprehensive restrictions on gun ownership, to see what their ultimate goal is.  In the end this leaves American women at the mercy of an overburdened criminal justice system instead of empowering them to defend themselves and their children with firearms that they are constitutionally entitled to own.  Politicians in Washington have all the armed security they will ever need thanks to taxpayers. Most women in this country can’t afford such a luxury.