Alleged Brady Campaign Ad Stirs Controversy About Rape and Gun Self Defense


[Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared with a different title.

I also feel it necessary to clarify a few things:

1. The Brady Campaign has denied responsibility for the ad featured here and has claimed that the screenshots of it appearing on their FB page were photoshopped. Because of this, Snopes has dubbed the ad to be a fake. Rachel is unsatisfied with this explanation. TOL does not control the content of its authors’ posts, so if you feel the need to debate on the merits of Rachel’s accusations, I am sure she would love to address the issue in the comments, and I welcome everyone here to do so.

2. Even if it is the case that the ad does not belong to the Brady Campaign, this issue still is relevant, as the argument is not uncommon. Some edits were made post-publication to broaden the issue to not be so focused on the Brady Campaign.

~Gina, Editor-in-Chief, Thoughts on Liberty]

As I have noted earlier, I live in a shady part of Chicago. Gun laws directly affect my safety; in my neighborhood, gun bans mean that criminals have access to guns, and good people don’t. I believe in pushing for more access to guns for everyone as a means of communal and personal security.

On the other side of the gun-control debate, The Brady Campaign has done everything within its power to make guns illegal. They write that they do it in the interest of protecting “you, your family and your community,” (which, may I remind you, is the same rationale for the War On Drugs), when, in reality, guns reduce crime. In states that allow concealed carry, there is a 24 percent lower violent crime rate, a 19 percent lower murder rate and a 39 percent lower robbery rate than states that forbid concealed weapons. Who is protecting the family and community now?

But what really boils my blood is two alleged ads by The Brady Campaign’s  that essentially declare, “It’s better to get raped than stop your rapist with a gun.”

Yikes. While there has been some question about the validity of these ads, there have been screenshots linking back to their Facebook showing the original posting date.

This kind of rhetoric, regardless of whether this ad came from the Brady Campaign or not, is representative of the logic gun grabbers use: Murder (even aggravated murder) is a more heinous crime than rape, and people should not be allowed to use guns to deter the latter. Besides, rape only lasts thirty seconds (in what world?), and the potential for lifelong STIs, PTSD, and social stigmatism is worth laying back and taking it in exchange for your rapist’s life. Right.

I would imagine that most women would prefer to not be raped. And even if it were easy for the police to find rapists (hint: it’s not), I would still have to be raped.  Though justice is, of course, what should happen if someone is ever raped, I would kindly prefer to not be raped in the first place. The police do not have a psychic link to my body to tell when it is being violated. The first person in charge of protecting my life is me, and I would like the means to be able to do so.

Don’t patronize me, gun control advocates. I am fully aware of the consequences of using a gun; you don’t have to tell me. Without even touching the fact that a gun can be used to deter violence without killing someone, when someone attempts to violate my rights, their rights are then forfeit in the name of my self defense. This is well established in ethics and in law. I have a right to protect my bodily autonomy, and a gun is, quite frankly, the best way to do that.

For a long time, gun control ads have been using women as a means of furthering their message. “Anyone could be a target,” they say, focusing in on a little girl. As if women were victims of all gun violence, or that women weren’t fully capable of defending themselves. It turns out they are.

It would be unfair to end this post without saying that gun rights advocates also have a terrible history with using women in ad campaigns. Ultimately, though, people on both sides of the gun control debate need to realize that if they want women to be protected, they should have the means necessary to defend themselves. This means allowing women to have guns. This means loosening up gun control and allowing concealed carry. Women should have the agency to defend themselves. That may include taking a life, but in preventing a rape, it is well-worth it.