- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, out stumping Monday for Hillary Clinton, told Politico’s Glenn Thrush that she thinks gun control should be re-framed as a “women’s issue.”

“This debate is relegated to the men. It’s about hunting? It has nothing to do with hunting,” she said on Mr. Thrush’s radio show. “Nothing in this debate has to do with hunting, and nothing in this debate has to do with the Second Amendment rights. Nothing. … I think — I see the world in the lens of women’s issues. I’m making everything a woman’s issue. I want guns to be a women’s issue.”

She then accused Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, who is running against Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primary, of not having enough sensitivity when it comes to his record on guns.

Mr. Sanders “doesn’t have the sensitivity he needs to the horror that is happening in these families. I just don’t think he’s fully getting how horrible it is for these families [affected by gun violence],” Mrs. Gillibrand said.

Mrs. Gillibrand seemingly has no understanding of why people are purchasing guns, or the fact that more women then ever are both flocking to the sport and buying their own.

According to the Pew Research Center, more Americans are now citing their reason for owning a gun as a measure of self-defense than ever before — a line of rationale that Mrs. Gillibrand doesn’t even consider in her argument for gun control. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, as the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre so famously put it.

In 1999, far more gun owners cited hunting, rather than self-protection, as the main reason they owned guns, but by 2014 those attitudes had shifted dramatically, with 48 percent saying self-protection was the main reason to own a gun and 32 percent citing hunting, the Pew study found.

In addition, gun sales have also soared. More guns were sold in December than almost any other month in nearly 20 years, with overall gun sales more than doubling in a decade, to about 15 million in 2013 from about seven million in 2002, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

So who or what is behind the spike in sales? According to the Times’ analysis, the two fastest-growing segments in the market are women and gun owners with concealed-carry permits.

Fancy that. Women are driving gun sales.

And it’s not like the market hasn’t caught on. Manufacturers are increasingly customizing advertisements towards women, hand guns can be ordered in specialized colors (think pink and purple) and can have smaller frames. Gun stores are selling stylish handbags, with secret pockets for concealed carry, and leopard shooting gloves.

If Mrs. Gillibrand had ever been in a gun store, she could see this for herself.

Women. Buy. Guns.

Mary Stange, a professor of women’s studies and religion at Skidmore College and a co-author of “Gun Women: Firearms and Feminism in Contemporary America,” told The New York Times that many on the left like to refer to stereotypical images when trying to frame gun control rather than truly understand why people value their second-amendment rights.

“Rather than really trying to understand what may have been going on, there is this tendency to want to latch on to conventional arguments and stereotypical images,” Ms. Stange said. “There’s this idea that women are more affiliative, more peace-loving, more pacifistic, which should then make women as a group gun-averse.”

And that’s simply not true.

Women also enjoy hunting and shooting at ranges in larger numbers than ever before, according to statistical data.

The National Sporting Goods Association said the number of women who practice target shooting has increased nearly 36 percent between 2004 and 2014, while the number of women participating in hunting has increased 23 percent.

So as the numbers of women owning a gun and participating in sports increases, it’s only logical to assume the number of women expressing skepticism to gun control also increases.

Perhaps gun control isn’t a “women’s issue” after all.

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