Liberal website Jezebel published an “investigation of mothers packing heat” on Monday and seemingly discovered that women gun owners “defy stereotypes of age, geographical location, race and, yes, even political affiliation.”
The “investigation” focused mostly on the Facebook group Sheepdog Mama, a community for pro-gun moms that currently has nearly 5,000 members. Instead of explosive debate on the divisive issue of guns, the page features thousands of mothers who are concerned with mostly one thing: protecting their families.
Here are just a few of the personal stories cited:
Andrea Forte was at work when she received the call that her child’s school was on lockdown. Someone had threatened to “kill all of the children” in her four-year-old daughter’s classroom.
“I couldn’t protect my child… I was powerless and had to let it play out however it happened,” said Forte, a 31-year-old mother of two. The threat was unrealized, but Forte decided then to carry a firearm whenever she could. On school grounds, where firearms are prohibited, she carries a stun gun and pepper spray.
Amber Haggard, on the other hand, was prepared when one day, after leaving a restaurant with her two young children, a disheveled man approached her asking for money.
The 26-year-old didn’t lose her cool, but when the man refused to leave after she politely told him she didn’t have anything to give, Haggard sensed the situation was escalating. The third time she asked him to step away, she brandished her weapon, a Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm pistol, and warned him she would protect herself and her kids if she had to.
Like all responsible gun owners, Haggard, one of the women referenced above, said she hopes she “never” has to pull the trigger on her defense weapon — but is prepared to do so if the situation calls for it.
The Jezebel report also notes that women tend to be “more cautious” than men in regards to firearms and the rate of gun ownership among women hit 23 percent in 2011, a 77 percent jump from 2004.
However, the article also cites a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health who claimed there is “no good evidence that having a gun is going to make you any safer.” In fact, citing a study regularly used by anti-gun advocates, he claimed owning a gun makes households more unsafe.
“That’s why pediatricians tell parents to get rid of their guns,” David Hemenway said.
However, freelance writer Louisa Fitzgerald circled back to point out that a firearm also can serve an as equalizer for a woman facing a much larger and stronger attacker.
That’s why Melody Lauer, moderator of the Sheepdog Mama Facebook group and mother to three children, told Jezebel that it’s still important for a mother to be prepared to protect herself and her kids in the event of an attack, even if it’s unlikely.
The mother put it like this: “People commonly ask me what I’m afraid of in that I carry a gun, and my response is always, ‘I’m not afraid of anything.’ And most of these [moms], I don’t think that they are afraid, I don’t think that’s the driving force.”
She added, “It’s more along the lines of it’s a logical step of preparation, like, I’m not afraid that my house is going to set on fire, but I’m going to go out and get a fire extinguisher, just in case.”
Read the full report here.