Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar created a firestorm with his recent comments about woman and guns. During a debate last week, he argued that allowing firearms on college campuses won’t make people safer — but his words raised some eyebrows, particularly when he discussed the issue of rape. Salazar subsequently caught the ire of victims who found his views overtly offensive.
On Wednesday, NRA News host Cam Edwards spoke with Amanda Collins, a woman who was violently raped in 2007 at the University of Nevada. Aside from lambasting Salazar’s statements, she defended concealed carry and proclaimed that a gun would have stopped her attacker.
Before we get into her response, let’s take a quick look back at the politician’s controversial arguments, which were made last Friday during a gun debate and hearing in his state. Salazar said:
“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble and when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop — pop a round at somebody?”
During the NRA interview, Collins, a 27-year-old wife and mother, noted that her own story contradicts many of the claims made by Salazar. She also expressed a more general frustration with politicians’ continued claims that, in her view, aren’t based on practical terms.
“It is so frustrating, because — and I wish that I could sit down with each one of these policy makers and just have a face-to-face conversation with them and tell them my story,” she said.
Collins dismissed emergency call boxes, whistles and safe zones as giving a “false sense of security.” She also said that her university didn’t have the boxes, anyway, leaving her with few resources to prevent or report the attack. However, even if these elements were in place, the young woman said that they would have been of little assistance.
“A call box above my head while I was straddled on the parking garage floor being brutally raped wouldn’t have helped me one bit,” she proclaimed. “The safe zone? Well, I was in a safe zone and my attacker didn’t care.”
As far as gun-free zones go, Collins believes they do little more than tell perpetrators they will be unmatched if and when they do decide to act out with violence. After taking issue with his arguments, Collins also tackled Salazar’s framing of women.
“The comments that he made…about women not knowing if they’re going to be raped or accidentally shooting the wrong person [were] extremely offensive, because he specifically targeted female students,” she continued. “So is he saying that all women are unable to make sound decisions in the midst of that? That we would go against our God-given instinct that something is wrong?”
In her own experience, Collins said she knew something was wrong the moment her attacker grabbed her from behind. Tragically, she was raped at gun point, in a gun-free zone, less than 100 feet away from campus authorities. The assailant went on to assault two other women and to kill a third.
“Had I been carrying that night, two other rapes would have been prevented and a young life would have been saved,” Collins said, defending students’ right to carry weapons on campus.
While the young woman had a licence to carry, it was illegal for her to have a gun on campus.
Listen to Collins respond to Salazar and share her experience, below: