A mother who got a gun, because she loves her kids
Gun control advocates have embraced the Parkland, Florida high school students lobbying Congress and making the press rounds calling for stricter gun laws. So fervent has their embrace been, some have advocated lowering the voting age to 16 as a means to ensure guns aren't just controlled, but ultimately banned.
While we can think of plenty of reasons why this is a very bad idea, we are struck by how familiar all of this seems. Controlling guns, making gun laws more restrictive...it's the old "doing it for the children" rhetorical shield. Surely, you can't love your guns more than your kids. If you do, you are obviously a monster.
Except there are plenty of folks who have a firearm specifically because they love their children, and want to protect them. As we read in this op-ed in, of all places, the New York Times, we get the story of one young mom who did exactly that. The story begins when the author, Bethany Mandel, was a child living with her mom, a single parent:
It was a spring night and I was sleeping with my window open, which was right above my bed; I loved breathing in the fresh air. That night, in that open window, I heard the banging of a ladder, and by the time my mother made it into the room and began loading her gun, a man was about to climb in.
She said something along the lines of: “Bethany, come over here. I don’t want you to get his brain matter on your face.” I backed up behind her and my mother raised her gun. The would-be intruder slowly backed down the ladder. As he climbed down, my mother approached. The barrel of her rifle was inches away from his face and she told him, “Next time you come here, I won’t hesitate.” She had her gun pointed at him through the window on his way down, and as he went down the ladder she grabbed the top and shook it, just to put the fear of God into him one last time before he fled.
My mother admired Ralph Nader and voted for the Green Party candidate during every presidential election I walked into a booth with her. There was not an issue on which she was not the most progressive person in the room. And yet, she owned guns.
They weren’t “weapons of war” to us, nor were my parents “gun nuts”; they just had a camper trailer in upstate New York, where bears were common campfire intruders. And soon, she had reason to keep them around the house for self-defense as well.
Fast forward to the author as a young mother herself, and her decision to finally get a gun for self defense:
While it may seem counterintuitive to those who didn’t grow up around guns, in our house we saw them as tools of protection and empowerment for two women living alone.
After my first child, a daughter, was born I must have printed the paperwork required to obtain a gun permit in New Jersey a dozen times. Despite what many may think, the process is not simple nor is it quick, which led to my procrastinating for several years.
Over the Republican primary season, I was an outspoken conservative critic of then-candidate Donald Trump, and a torrent of hate rolled my way. I would later learn just how much: The Anti-Defamation League named me one of the top 10 Jewish journalists to be attacked by the alt-right during the election season. After years of receiving death threats for my conservative views, months of being attacked by the alt-right and then having our address published online by the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, I pushed myself to finally go through the process of asking friends for letters attesting to my character, obtaining fingerprints and submitting to background checks.
I was given a reason to feel that I needed to defend myself and my family. And I acted on it.
In the wake of every mass shooting, there are renewed calls for gun control, and a demonization of the National Rifle Association (of which I was but am no longer a member). We are told that it’s not our guns — the guns of legal and responsible gun owners — that would be taken away, but those of the bad guys. But when those advocating bans don’t even understand the mechanics and basic terminology of guns, it doesn’t inspire confidence.
All Americans should expect law enforcement agencies, which missed opportunities to stop not just the Parkland shooter, but also the shooters in the Charleston and Sutherland Springs churches and the Orlando nightclub, to be able to protect us. You can forgive conservatives if we don’t believe that giving federal law enforcement officials more authority is the solution to shootings they bear some responsibility for.
We encourage you to read the entire piece. If you already support gun rights, then it won't tell you much you don't already know. But if you're wavering on the issue, or thinking it may be time to restrict guns to protect children, read it all. And then ask yourself: would gun bans and tighter restrictions make it easier, or harder, for you to protect your home, and your children from harm?