Before rushing out to the gun store to buy a pink holster in time for Mother’s Day, or organizing a house party to support anti-gun legislation, let’s not touch-off another mommy war over gun ownership.
Instead let’s call a time out to consider if we really want anyone to use moms as PR tools.
Wednesday marks the mid-point for the “Week of Action” for anti-gun groups, and reports say that moms are an important tool in building an offensive against groups like the National Rifle Association. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is the biggest group leading the charge for more gun safety.
As a loud advertisement blares on my TV set for this weekend’s annual gun show in Virginia Beach, Va., I realize my greatest fear is not a stranger in the night, terrorists at the gate, or a zombie apocalypse, during which I will have to McGuyver my way out because I don’t own a Glock.
What worries me is the distraction and stress of yet another mommy war started by many outside influences, in this case both the NRA and anti-gun groups, seeking attention on a hot-button issue.
It makes me wonder who is really being protected here: Our families or someone’s political or business agenda?
According to USA Today, moms and activists representing groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are throwing political house parties in their neighborhoods – and gathering on Capitol Hill – to rally support for demanding universal background checks on gun buyers. Meanwhile, the NRA celebrates what have been called its “Glocker Moms.”
As multiple media sources report, in order to continue to grow their business, firearms makers and the NRA need to expand their audience to include more women. According to NRA statistics, 13 percent of American gun owners today are women.
The Guardian reports that a quarter of the attendees at the NRA’s recent annual convention in Indianapolis were women, about a 5-10 percent increase over the past decade.
The Guardian also reports that at the convention the group, “put a huge poster of a female gun activist on the front of the building and handed out "I'm an NRA MOM" badges on the door.”
If the NRA is targeting women based on the modern woman’s independent spirit, they have hit the mark dead-on for me.
Moms I know don’t want to feel fear. We want to feel empowered and this kind of campaign can potentially speak to that.
However, moms are constantly under fire from kids trying to wheedle and convince us to buy something based on the cool factor and potential the item has for either education or protection.
“But, if we get a dog it will scare away burglars,” I have heard from my four sons.
Our dog slept through an attempted burglary last year, while the cat woke me at midnight by yeowling when an intruder tried to climb through the window and over the sill on which she was sleeping.
No gun was necessary. The police identified the intruders by the cat scratches all over the man’s arms and face. He had cut the window screen and tried to climb in over a kitty napping on the sill.
Most moms I know don’t like being told what we can, can’t, or shouldn’t do, which can make us just as vulnerable to attack by savvy salespeople who try to manipulate us into becoming gun owners to avoid a stereotype of a helpless female.
Not everyone likes guard cats, so I suppose a Glock would send the same threatening message in a pinch.
While I don’t own a gun myself, I respect the decision of a fellow mom to own one if she feels the call of duty to take her daily frustrations out on a target at the gun range, or hunt to feed her family.
I do worry about guns being considered more effective by individuals contemplating suicide than being used against others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reports that a majority of firearm deaths in the US in 2012 were by suicide, used most often by the deceased person’s own gun.”
While I would like to cite more current stats here on gun violence, the data can be hard to find. The most current surveys readily available by the Bureau of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Study (NCVS) date back to 2011.
It does seems that there have been more laws created to excel gun sales in recent years. “In 2009, three times as many pro-gun laws were passed in the United States as antigun measures – a trend that experts say has only accelerated since then,” reports a 2012 story in The Christian Science Monitor
Because there seems to be little decisive data to support buying a gun for protection, or avoiding gun ownership for safety reasons, it seems it might be time for both sides to sit down and talk.
The decision to own and operate a firearm is a very personal one, and I am not going to try and talk anyone into – or out of – it here and now.
However, it is a potentially life-altering choice that should not be made under the influence of others, or possibly irrational fears generated by film, television, and public relations campaigns.
Moms are renown for being great comparison shoppers, and I think that as long as we’re not making this issue about someone else’s interests or fears, and instead focusing on our own needs, the choice for what works best for us will be clear.
Decisions made under that model are seldom wrong.