Gun advocates spent their Wednesday fighting on Capitol Hill for the right of female civilians to carry semi-automatic assault weapons while their compatriots on the right are mourning the decision to allow female soldiers to carry guns on the battlefield. You can see why gun rights advocates would want women to be the face of their issue, because we don't associate women with violence or militias or an obsession with blowing things up. But, at this particular moment, this standard National Rifle Association talking point is crashing into another conservative meme: women aren't fit to fight in combat.
Sure, the Supreme Court says everyone has a right to self-defense under the Second Amendment. But it means more to women. "For women, the ability to arm ourselves for our protection is even more consequential than for men because guns are the great equalizer in a violent confrontation," the Independent Women's Forum's Gayle Trotter said in her prepared testimony. An assault weapons ban, she said, would "harm women the most" because "guns are the great equalizer in a confrontation." And that doesn't just mean handguns. That means military-style rifles. When questioned, Trotter specifically singled out the AR-15 as an important weapon for women, essentially because it looks cool. Women like the AR-15 because "they're light, they're easy to hold, and most importantly, their appearance," Trotter said. The rifle is intimidating, she said, and then appeared to riff on a hypothetical home invasion in which one would be necessary. "Three, four, five violent intruders in her home -- with her children screaming in the background -- the peace of mind that comes with a scary looking gun…gives her more courage when she's fighting hardened, violent criminals." Trotter said. "I speak on behalf of millions of american women who urge you to defend our Second Amendment right to choose to defend ourselves."