A phony pro-gun argument

Ruth Marcus: A phony pro-gun argument Published: February 1, 2013
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But here's the problem with Trotter's example: Nothing in the restrictions under discussion would have stopped McKinley.

As Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse observed, “I think it proves the point that with ordinary firearms, not hundred-magazine peculiar types of artifacts, people are quite capable of defending themselves.”

Trotter remained impervious to Whitehouse's logic. “How can you say that?” she asked. “You are a large man. … You cannot understand. You are not a woman stuck in her house having to defend her children, not able to leave her child, not able to go seek safety.”

Trotter argued that assault weapons like the AR-15 are young women's “weapon of choice” because they are accurate, light and, most of all, intimidating. “The peace of mind that a woman has as she's facing three, four, five violent attackers … knowing that she has a scary-looking gun,” she said, “gives her more courage when she's fighting hardened violent criminals.”

You have got to be kidding. The intruder is going to be more scared off — the woman is going to feel more empowered — because the gun is scarier-looking?

If anything, women should be clamoring for gun control measures — in particular, for expanded background checks. Individuals convicted of domestic violence are prohibited from buying guns — but, of course, the porousness of the current background check system lets abusers dodge that rule. And, according to the National Institute of Justice, abused women are six times more likely to be killed when a gun is in the home.

“I speak on behalf of millions of American women across the country who urge you to defend our Second Amendment right to choose to defend ourselves,” Trotter proclaimed.

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?

Ruth Marcus' email address is ruthmarcus@washpost.com.

WASHINGTON POST WRITERS GROUP