What is the Deadly Cost of Dissuading Women from Carrying Firearms for Self-Protection?

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A woman jogging on a trail

Women around the United States, including New Jersey, have been shaken by the recent tragic killing of the 22 year-old Georgia nursing student, Laken Riley. Police have alleged that Riley was murdered by 26 year-old Jose Ibarra, an illegal immigrant from Venezuela, while she jogged on dirt trails. While the killing is politically charged due to the salient immigration issue, it has also resulted in victim-blaming, and a barrage of recommendations for women on how to prevent such an attack.

It is all too common to see gendered violence: women murdered at the hands of men again and again. Responses to Riley’s murder have varied from calls for women to not run or jog alone, to telling women to carry knives or even pepper spray. But what about carrying concealed? Many women do not consider it an option because they have been scared out of it by anti-gun groups, like Moms Demand Action.

According to an international survey in which 9,000 runners were interviewed, 92% of women reported feeling concerned for their safety, and 51% were afraid of being physically attacked. See “92% of women are concerned for their safety on the run, according to a new study” by Alice Barraclough, March 10, 2023 (RunnersWorld.com).

The survey further claimed that 69% of female runners already took some safety precautions, such as “wearing loose clothing or finding a running partner who can offer protection.”

Finding a running partner who can offer protection?? Does anyone believe this is a good plan? This is not acceptable and women deserve better!

And “wearing loose clothing” harkens back to the age-old inquest about “what was she wearing?”

David Hemenway, a Professor of Health Policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, recommends that women runners DO NOT carry guns for self-defense. Professor Hemenway mansplains: “Being able to stand still, carefully aim and shoot a target is not going to help you if you’re attacked. Your heart is pounding, your fight or flight [instinct] kicks in, adrenaline is flowing, it’s a very different situation than when you’re standing in a gun range…..bear spray is much safer to use and just as effective as a gun would be.”

Sorry to disappoint Professor Hemenway, but carrying bear spray is not lawful in New Jersey. And sorry, definitely NOT sorry, I WILL be carrying my firearm for self-defense, because despite what he says, my life is worth defending.

Women have been disenfranchised, lied to, and frightened out of becoming trained in using a firearm for personal protection via propaganda by anti-rights groups. The years of stoking fear by anti-gun groups such as Moms Demand Action, and Everytown, have frightened women away from the most effective means of self-defense: lawful concealed carry. The anti-rights groups sell the idea that personal protection is to be farmed out to someone else; ideas like only the police should have guns. The idea that someone else is responsible for defending your life is ineffective and can be fatal. Do not allow this mentality to deceive you any further – your life is worth defending.

While I am not a runner, I am an avid walker. I take my daily walks on the streets in my neighborhood reaching about 2 miles per day. I began walking for exercise and good health last year immediately after I picked up my New Jersey Permit to Carry a Handgun.

Prior to receiving my New Jersey carry permit, I would walk only on the treadmill or with friends. Having my carry permit has allowed me to remove the limitations placed on my life. Women understand these self-imposed limitations taken every day. Now I confidently walk alone, knowing that I am prepared to protect my life.

Unfortunately, parks have been deemed “sensitive places” in New Jersey so I cannot walk on paths in many of the beautiful parks nearby if I want to defend myself. “Sensitive place” designation means only the criminals can carry in parks.

The fear-mongering by the anti-gunners will never stop, Second Amendment and self-defense advocates know this. We must engage in outreach. Give women the most effective tools and training so they can be safe and remove the self-imposed limitations, becoming our best selves.

If you are a woman ready to tune-out the anti-rights groups who want to scare you away from the most effective means of self-protection for their own political gain, then look into: www.womenforgunrights.org; www.agirlandagun.org; www.armedwomen.org

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Michael Angelone

Everything Theresa does is amazing.


Thank you for this timely article. I made sure to forward it to all the females in my family.


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