The statistics about women and gun ownership tell a different story than the Michael Bloomberg-affiliated Moms Demand Action or its often obliging press corps would have you hear. Women are the fastest growing group of gun owners, with about one in four U.S. women now packing heat. CNN Money recently reported on the trends:
Almost 80 percent of gun retailers reported a rise in female customers in 2012, according to industry figures. In Florida, 22 percent of the concealed carry permits are held by women. In Texas, women hold 28 percent of concealed carry permits, up sharply over the past decade.
There’s a hint of this surge even in mainstream sitcoms, which you’d expect to be uniformly on the Bloombergian side of this equation. On “Modern Family,” Claire Dunphey makes her father’s wife Gloria suspicious by excluding her from a secretive weekly outing. When Gloria follows her, she discovers her secret is that this affluent SoCal citizen blows off the steam and relieves the stress of raising three kids at the gun range.
On the wonderful Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project,” the titular Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a Manhattanite OBGYN, has referenced owning a handgun. When her fiance proposes they get married quickly, she responds, “Don’t you think that’s kind of rushed? It took me longer to get a permit for my handgun!” (which ticked off Salon, I found while Googling, leading them to write a piece that had to be corrected several times over).
A Season 2 episode of “The New Girl” presents Jess’ shooting of a long gun (I can’t remember if it’s a rifle or a shotgun), tutored by another woman, as an empowering act, though she has terrible aim and trigger discipline.
And, on Tuesday’s episode of “The View,” which featured guest hosts Fox’s Juliet Huddy and ABC’s Lara Spencer along with regulars Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd, took an unexpected and refreshing turn during a discussion of gun politics. The segment opened with a very dark and emotional ad from Bloomberg’s Everytown featuring an abusive partner breaking into his ex’s home, taking her son, and shooting her. Given that the ad is designed to make everyone who disagrees with Everytown shut their mouths lest they look like moral monster, the subsequent discussion was all the more surprising and interesting TV. I imagine it’s not the reaction Everytown was expecting it would get on “The View.”
Shepherd, Huddy, and McCarthy all three confessed times they’d felt vulnerable in their homes or with their children that had made them think differently about gun ownership. Spencer said she preferred not to have a gun in her home, but was open to the stories of the other three women. McCarthy mentioned that she keeps her gun locked up and Shepherd urged women to get to the gun range and “learn how to use it.” It was a real discussion with people on different sides who had respect for each other, and it ultimately offered a calmer, more nuanced, and more realistic reflection of the country’s position on guns than we normally see on TV. Nice job, ladies.
Geoffrey Dickens at Newsbusters has the transcript.