Women and the Conceal and Carry Movement

[ssad ssadblk=”Top Right Ad”]Statistics show that most women never attain Annie Oakley skills, so what’s driving the conceal and carry movement among women? Is it a desire to be proactive in a country
where sexual assault happens every 107 seconds? Do women believe carrying a gun will
erase their physical size and strength disadvantage? Or are they finally discovering the
sport aspect of gun ownership?
The answer to all these questions could be yes. The reasons women give for supporting
conceal and carry are as varied as the ethnicities represented in the U.S. What we can
know is this. More women carry concealed guns than at any time in our nation’s history.
At 23% female gun ownership is up 10% in just six years.1 According to
ConcealedCarryAlmanac.com, women make up the “largest growing demographic of
firearm owners and concealed carry applicants.”2

A primary war zone for women and the conceal and carry movement is America’s
colleges and universities. Events like the shooting at Umpqua Community College in
Roseburg, Ore., polarize gun rights opponents and proponents alike. One side believes
taking guns away will solve the problem, while the other believes that conceal and carry
laws would reduce the casualties, and possibly the frequency of these tragic scenes.
Far fewer Americans realize that sexual assaults are a serious issue on college and
university campuses. A 2007 study, The Campus Sexual Assault Study—drawing on
survey answers from two large public universities—found that 1 out of 5 fourth year
students had suffered some type of sexual assault, though less than 1 out of 10
experienced a forcible assault. The others reported being drugged, and then raped.3
Even though these statistics apply to only two campuses, there is reason to believe that
the trend is seen nationwide. Women are tired of waiting for college and university
administrators to do something about their safety.

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The arguments against concealed carry on campuses are many. These are just some we
found worth considering.
• Violent crime increases will follow.
• Suicide rates will go up.
1 http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/09/more-and-more-women-are-buying-gunsheres-
why/
2 http://www.concealedcarryalmanac.com/resources/women-and-concealed-carry/
3 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2014/12/17/one-in-fivewomen-
in-college-sexually-assaulted-an-update/
• Gun carriers are ‘ready to snap.’
• Gun carriers could be jumped and their weapon used to kill.
• Administrators wouldn’t follow up on reported assaults.
• Campus security’s vigilance would decrease.
[ssad ssadblk=”Bottom Left Ad”]An element of truth might be present in such claims, however false assumptions premise every objection. On Oregon campuses where both sexes have been allowed to carry
concealed guns, there has not been an increase of violent crime.4
There is no proof to back the other ‘fears’ opponents express. There are multiple ways to
commit suicide. Most don’t include guns. The desire to carry a gun does not prove
instability, and the very fact that the gun is concealed reduces the risk someone would
even know they could jump someone in order to use it.
According to a CBS news article, a provost and academic dean at one of California’s
universities expresses her concern over the ability of higher educational institutions to
“implement prevention and enforcement strategies. ‘I have to say, as a university
administrator, we are not well-positioned to deal with the investigation, the prosecution,
the law enforcement responses related to sexual assault.’ She feels that ‘…we are in a
position to work on education, because that’s what we do, educate people.’”5 Thus
women’s concerns that they are never going to receive the protection they need could be
valid.
Allowing concealed carry on campuses shouldn’t reduce campus security from doing a
better job, or administration from pursuing strict policies for protecting women on
campus. If it does, the problem is not with those who have armed themselves. The truth is
women want to have the power to protect themselves from sexual assault, even if the
educational environment does get its act together, which in many cases hasn’t happened
yet.
Another factor in why more women are carrying could be an awareness that if she doesn’t
protect herself, who will? More women over 25—a significant 17%—have never been
married. That figure was 8% in 1960. Women are tired of becoming murder or assault
statistics. Should anyone—especially our government—have the right to say, “No, you
can’t carry a gun because there are whackos out there.”
4 https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/03/30/push-concealed-guns-campusesgaining-
steam
5 http://www.cbsnews.com/news/women-with-guns-is-the-push-for-concealed-carrylegislation-
a-solution-to-rape-on-campus/
It’s a positive thing that women are getting involved. As Randy Cohen of the New York
Times writes, “I propose curbing gun violence not by further restricting the availability of
guns but by expanding and reorienting it. Men would still be forbidden to walk the streets
armed, in accordance with current laws, but women would be required to carry pistols in
plain sight whenever they are out and about.
Were I to board the subway late at night, around Lincoln Center perhaps, and find it filled
with women openly carrying Metropolitan Opera programs and Glock automatics, I’d
feel snug and secure. A train packed with armed men would not produce the same
comforting sensation. Maybe that’s because men have a disconcerting tendency to shoot
people, while women display admirable restraint. Department of Justice figures show that
between 1976 and 2005, 91.3 percent of gun homicides were committed by men, 8.7
percent by women.”6
This may be extreme—requiring women to wear an exposed firearm—but I hope you get
the point. It’s more likely you’ll meet a woman with a conceal and carry permit today.
Her gun may be on her person or in her bag. In either case, she will know how to use it—
and that could quite possibly make the world a bit safer for all of us.
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