Antonia Okafor is a black graduate student who carries a gun for self-defense and some of the New York Times readership is extremely bothered by it.
On July 24 Okafor wrote a NYT opinion piece, in which she explained why she owns a gun, why she carries it, and why she thinks campus carry is the most logical way to empower women to protect themselves from predators in the university setting.
She wrote of life before she carried a gun, of leaving the university classroom late at night, walking “through the sprawling parking lots” to get to her car. She had a rape whistle and a cell phone–neither of which are weapons, much less defensive weapons. She said, “I would pray no one was lurking in dimly lit areas or behind cars.” And she explained her fear was real, rather than imagined, as she had been assaulted as a child.
Moreover, Okafor cited a Bureau of Justice Statistics study showing that that one in five female undergraduates claims they were assaulted in college.
Then rumblings of campus carry began to arise in the GOP-controlled Texas legislation. The year was 2015 and Okafor began to campaign for the ability to carry a gun on campus for self-defense.
From the minute I put my hands around a Ruger LC9 pistol, the gun I regularly carry with me now, I felt more in control. I felt empowered to be holding a tool that could protect me physically, and I was determined to learn how to use it responsibly. It was a relief to know that I could shoot if I had to, even though I would never use my gun unless it was a last means of self-defense. I got my concealed carry license a year ago.
After Okafor’s opinion piece ran, The Blaze reported that a number of NYT readers were upset. For example, one reader commented, “Yet another argument for guns that relies on emotions, not facts. You are not, statistically, safer with a gun … Guns pose an embarrassing public safety risk, exacerbated by concealed carry. Your argument lacks rigor. The Texas law in question is a travesty, and should be overturned as soon as possible.” This particular NYT reader missed the Crime Prevention Research Center study showing concealed carry expanded 190% between 2007 and 2015, only to see violent crime fall by 18%.
Another NYT reader responded: “As a black person the author should be careful what she wishes for. Just as with drugs, if things go wrong with a gun (and every day you can read articles that show very clearly that they do and will), blacks will be the first to be severely punished. Blacks continue to be stereotyped as violent, and she’s not helping.”
A third reader opined, “Why carry a gun instead of pepper spray, which will incapacitate an attacker but is not lethal and not a danger to innocent bystanders?”
Quick question–how often do stories of concealed permit holders shooting in self-defense contain news of innocents who were shot and killed (or even shot and wounded) in the process?
The answer–rarely, if ever.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.