We Can’t Let Women Carry Guns?

No Joke: Salon’s Andrea Flynn Argues That Letting Women Carry Guns On Campus Is Dangerous Because Then Rapists Will Also Have Guns!

A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.” – Bertrand Russell

As I clicked, and scanned various news pieces in order to decide today’s topic–and had come across several notable bits that piqued my interest–I was stopped dead in my digital tracks when I came upon a column from Salon writer Andrea Flynn. For a moment, I thought I was reading satire, but as I continued to trudge through Flynn’s article, I realized that lighting had struck. This was it, this was the article I’ve been waiting for all my life; a piece so thoroughly idiotic that it screamed to be torn to shreds. So that’s what I’m going to do.

The piece Andrea Flynn penned for Salon is titled: “GOP’s bizarre, lethal solution to the campus rape crisis.” In her piece, Flynn argues that pushing for the availability of concealed carry on college campuses is just a ploy by NRA-funded Republicans, and that such a move would make campuses wildly more dangerous—specifically for women. Why, you ask? Well, let’s break it down into more eatable, bite-sized pieces.

“Today, lawmakers in at least 14 states are pushing forward measures that would loosen gun regulations on college campuses. In the last few days a number of them have seized upon the growing public outcry over campus sexual assault to argue that carrying a gun would prevent women from being raped. (So far they’ve been silent on how we might prevent young men – who, of course, would also be allowed to carry a gun – from attempting to rape women in the first place.)”

This argument, that loosening firearm carry restrictions for law-abiding women would lead to men also obtaining guns to be used in rape scenarios, is flawed. It’s a case of understanding who obeys laws, and who does not. A criminal–such as a rapist, or a man intent on committing rape–is already in the process of defying the law. Aside from simply being heinous, rape is illegal. As such, does Andrea Flynn believe that a rapist would care about a designated “Gun Free Zone?” Does she believe that a “Gun Free Zone” would keep a rapist from bringing a gun onto campus? If so, Salon needs to vet their writers more effectively.

As someone who is already committing, or has intent to commit, a crime, why would a rapist decide to obey campus gun restrictions? By their nature, criminals do not obey the law—that’s why they’re called criminals.

To argue that loosening firearm restrictions on campuses would lead to rapists having guns is akin to arguing that loosening firearm restrictions in banks would lead to bank robbers having guns. Does Andrea Flynn believe that banks are more protected because many of them are designated “Gun Free Zones?” I would assume not, because someone intent on robbing a bank won’t obey the law anyway. I guess she’s never heard of bank robberies. It’s not like they’re on the news almost every day.

Additionally, within that beautiful nugget of stupid, she writes “In the last few days a number of them…argue that carrying a gun would prevent women from being raped.”

No one is arguing that carrying a gun would prevent a rape. They are arguing that carrying a gun could prevent a rape. That’s a very critical distinction. The difference between “would,” and “could” is staggering, and as a writer, she should know that. Or perhaps she does, and wants her readers to believe that those arguing for gun rights are foolish.

Flynn then quotes Florida Representative Dennis Baxley, who said: “If you’ve got a person that’s raped because you wouldn’t let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you’re responsible.”

Flynn’s response?

“Let’s be clear. People aren’t raped because they aren’t carrying firearms. They are raped because someone rapes them. What a sinister new twist on victim blaming. As if anything positive could come from adding loaded weapons to the already toxic mix of drugs, alcohol, masculine group think, and the rape culture endemic in college sports and Greek life on campuses around the country.”

Flynn begins by parsing Baxley’s words. This is an example of the straw man argument fallacy. Flynn takes what Baxley said, and distorts it, therefore weakening his position, so that she is more easily able to defeat it. It’s obvious to anyone reading Baxley’s quote that his intent is to argue that carrying a firearm may save a woman from being raped, not that women are raped because they don’t have guns.

People are raped because someone rapes them?! What?! Yeah, thanks for teaching us what “obvious” means, Andrea. A+ work. I smell a raise coming!

Flynn then argues that what Baxley said is a sort of victim blaming—which is a hot buzzword at the moment. It’s not victim blaming in the slightest to argue that a woman carrying a gun would be better protected from a rapist than if she weren’t. It’s just true. If anything, Baxley is blaming politicians, and campus leaders who would oppose allowing a woman to carry a firearm on campus. Nowhere in his statement is he putting any blame on the women being raped. Read it again.

Flynn then conjectures that adding guns to campuses would be dangerous. Her reasoning? Rape culture, masculine group think, alcohol, and drugs. Once again, this is fallacious. It’s a red herring designed to overload your senses with negative information, and distract you from the actual argument, which is: Would allowing women to carry concealed firearms on campus be a deterrent to rapists, and would it make them safer?

As I said before, those who would use a gun irresponsibly are the same people who would not obey “Gun Free Zones” anyway. If we want to talk unnecessary blame, let’s talk “rape culture,” or “masculine group think.” Man-blaming much? By using those terms so broadly, Flynn is associating them with every college-aged man. I’m sensing a trend of man-hating generalization.

“This is an NRA agenda, not a women’s rights agenda. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, each of the lawmakers who have supported such legislation has received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). They have enjoyed endorsements from the NRA during election years and some – including Fiore and Baxley – received campaign contributions from the organization.”

And? Generally speaking, those who support Second Amendment rights are going to get a high rating from the NRA. Additionally, those same people are probably going to push for more freedom regarding firearm usage. That’s kind of how it works. Flynn is implying that because of strong NRA ratings, and endorsements received, those who support a woman’s right to carry a gun for self-defense on campus are liars. She’s implying that they don’t actually care about women, they just want MORE GUNS EVERYWHERE because they NRA told us to! She fails to show any evidence that supports her claims. But who needs evidence when you have implications? Those are so much easier.

Andrea Flynn’s final blow is probably the best in terms of sheer idiocy:

“Research shows that guns do not make women safer. In fact, just the opposite is true. Over the past 25 years, guns have accounted for more intimate partner homicides than all other weapons combined. In states that that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. And women in the United States are 11 times more likely than women from other high-income countries to be murdered with a gun. Guns on college campuses would only make these statistics worse.”

And here come more distractions. First, and foremost, many of these alleged statistics are warped, or made to sound more important than they are.

“In states that require a background check…38% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.”

Umm, obviously. If someone doesn’t pass a background check, it’s likely that they have a violent criminal history, or a history of mental illness—which would certainly lead to more violent behavior in general. This little tidbit means nothing to the argument at hand, but Flynn likes it because it sounds provocative, and skews people’s opinions.

“…guns have accounted for more intimate partner homicides than all other weapons combined.”

Again…and? This has no relevance to the argument at hand. However, it does make guns sound scarier, so Flynn uses it.

“The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent.”

I hate to sound like a broken record, but…and? How is that relevant to the topic at hand? If we want to play the statistics game, I have some that are more relevant to this debate. In Dana Loesch’s new book Hands Off My Gun, she writes:

“Criminologists Dr. Gary Kleck (a Democrat who began as a gun control advocate until cold, hard statistics convinced him otherwise) and Marc Gertz revealed in their thesis ‘Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,’ published in 1995 in the Northwestern University School of Law’s Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, that firearms are used for self-defense roughly between 2.1 and 2.5 million times a year…half a million cases a year occur away from home, and of these, nearly 10 percent involve women defending themselves from sexual assault or other forms of abuse.”

She also notes that the same Gary Kleck, a Democrat, found in a 1993 study, that guns were used 2.5 million times for self-defense, while only 0.5 million times to commit crimes. Gun crimes have fallen since 1993.

So, Andrea Flynn’s article uses straw men, red herrings, irrelevant (and arguably questionable) information—I mean, it comes from Everytown for Gun Safety, which has a proven track record of distorting statistics for their own benefit–and conjecture to make guns on campus seem super duper scary! I mean, “masculine group think?” C’mon, you’re better than that. Well, I guess you’re not. But her arguments (I hesitate to call them that) are irrelevant in the face of the overwhelming statistics, which Dana Loesch cites in her book, and the simple fact that criminals don’t obey laws.

However, I doubt Flynn will ever change her mind, because as Euripides wrote: “Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”