Gayle Trotter of Independent Women's Forum, testifying (Brendan Smilaowski/AFP/Getty Images
Gayle Trotter of Independent Women’s Forum testifies. (Brendan Smilaowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Women and guns, two of the Internet’s favorite subjects, come together in Ruth Marcus’s column on congressional gun hearings today. Marcus objects to testimony that would suggest the availability of guns is a women’s rights issue — or at least that more gun availability makes women safer. In fact, Marcus writes that having guns around makes women less safe, and she cited several studies to back up her argument.

Marcus ended with a question:

“I’d say that I speak for millions of American women who reject this phony solicitude, but there is a better representative. She spoke at the hearing, too. ‘Too many children are dying,’ she said, painfully enunciating each syllable. ‘We must do something.’

Her name is Gabby Giffords. Anyone dare tell her that guns make women safer?”

One commenter volunteered:

Post17

 “Her name is Gabby Giffords. Anyone dare tell her that guns make women safer?” I’ll say it! Why wouldn’t she and the others have been safer if an armed citizen or two or three in the crowd could have intervened before Loughner shot 19 people, killing six? As it was, he was subdued by unarmed citizens after the damage had already been done. I always feel safer when I’m in a crowd where there are armed individuals present…especially since history has shown there have been very, very few shootings, armed robberies, etc. in places where police and individual citizens are overtly armed (i.e., open carrying).

This is the first instance PostScript has seen in the comments of someone who feels comforted by the sight of other people’s openly carried guns, rather than his or her own. It’s actually a bit weird how she hasn’t seen it before in the thousands and thousands of comments on gun control/rights threads. People much more often speak of themselves being armed, or their family members, and of taking on the responsibility of the safety of everyone nearby. Which is pretty interesting! PostScript hopes Post17 will follow up with his or her feelings about stricter laws about who can get or carry a gun, or registration. PostScript herself, when she sees someone open-carrying, would much rather know that person had been thoroughly checked out.

The gun-woman-defense connection prompted a new thought from ThinkThink2, too:

Does the irony need to be pointed out that the children killed during the Sandy Hook massacre were gunned down with an assault rifle purchased by a woman as a deterrence to violence?

Crisp11 doubts the statistical relevance of studies that include people whose bad choices contribute to their bad outcomes. Such people should not have guns, but smarter people should:

In any statistical analysis you must control for variables. In this instance, the variable not considered are those idiotic women who marry maniac husbands. Those women have no business having guns in their homes to start with. But just because they are complete morons does not mean that others do not have the absolute right to own weapons.

Plazapt wonders: If keeping women safe is important enough to endanger women over, why stop at gun ownership?

So the little woman is supposed to shoot burst of bullets from her ar-15 as these guys attack down the hall way. Wouldn’t claymores lining the hall way be way more effective? How about an electric grid she can turn on from the safety of her bedroom and electrocute all of them… Let’s get poison gas as she wears [t]he gas mask.

DownTheMiddle suggests mandatory gun education, though with a poor choice of words:

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
- Richard Henry Lee

I wouldn’t go too far, but we do teach our kids about drugs, sex and booze. Adding guns to the mix wouldn’t kill them.

And two commenters think the choice to have a gun or not is important because it invites reflection on whom you would trust armed and whom you allow into your life to begin with:

Katiedid19621:

Ruth Marcus’s point is entirely valid. It’s a shame that people can’t take a step back and see that gun control is good for everyone. But perhaps the most salient message from this article is that women should give serious consideration to their own safety when involved in any relationship. Never assume that you know a person to be better than his actions. It’s important to view your husband, boyfriend, partner … even your own child … with eyes wide open, and if he/she behaves in a manner that is unreasonable or aggressive, then consider leaving the relationship before it’s too late.

Njglea:

Right On, Ms. Marcus. Women would be smart to get all guns out of the home if there is a drinker, druggie or unstable young person, or other unstable person, in their home because a gun can be so easily misused and is so deadly. Dogs, ice picks, security systems, etc. are better choices.

PostScript can’t say she would feel reassured by the presence of several people openly carrying ice picks in a crowd. Maybe if they could prove they were highly trained mountaineers.