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I'm not sure how many people watched the gun control hearings that the Senate held last week. If you missed it, lordy there was a lot of crazy going on it that hearing. And for once it wasn't just Wayne LaPierre. Now I've heard some odd defenses for assault rifles in the past.  Never in my life did I ever think that I'd hear one like this.  Here's Gayle Trotter giving, what I'd say is the most interesting defense of assaults rifles I've ever heard.

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Young women are speaking out as to why AR-15 weapons are their weapon of choice. The guns are accurate. They have good handling. They're light. They're easy for women to hold. And most importantly, their appearance. An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon. And the peace of mind that a woman has as she's facing three, four, five violent attackers, intruders in her home with her children screaming in the background -- the peace of mind that she has knowing that she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she's fighting hardened violent criminals.
It's so odd to hear someone not only defend assault rifles in general, but that young moms need this specific type of weapon to defend themselves.  Mostly because that's wholly insane.  First of all, please point me to the scientific studies and surveys that show the AR-15 as the choice of young women with babies.  Oh right, you can't, because you're just pulling stuff out of your ass.  Now as for the guns being lighter, lighter than what?  Sure a fully loaded Bushmaster is lighter than an AK-47 (the choice for dads with babies crying in the background) but it's still way heavier than your average semi-automatic pistol like the Glock 17.  Plus the Glock has the advantage one-handed use.  So a young mother could actually be nursing one of her babies while engaging in a John Woo-esque firefight in her living-room with five assailants.

I know what you're thinking though. Tico, the Glock 17 only hold 17 bullets while the Bushmaster holds 30.  How can a young mom defend herself with only 17 rounds?  Well I'm glad you asked citizen.  Despite the fact that this mythical woman could kill all five of her attackers three times over and still not have to reload, I'll go you one better.  The Glock 17 has an optional extended clip (still perfectly legal incidentally) that holds 33 rounds.  So she could kill her attackers with five rounds a piece plus take care of all those pesky white doves that to litter John Woo action scenes.  But back to reality.

Ms. Trotter's description of a woman's state of mind during this attack is also something to behold.  Apparently, a normal pistol of any kind won't be enough to "give a woman courage" when fighting violent criminals. So it's not enough that any gun can kill pretty much any attacker. It also has to be a really big, "scary-looking" gun.  Unless a woman has one of these bad boys, the poor dears just won't have the chutzpah to defend themselves and their families.  What a sorry and asinine state she paints for the ladies.  In this construction a woman could be armed to the teeth with an entire arsenal of small caliber weapons.  Sadly, if there weren't scary looking enough she wouldn't be able to mete out the deadly force inherent in all firearms.

Still, on and on we go:

And if we ban these types of assault weapons, you are putting women at a great disadvantage, more so than men, because they do not have the same type of physical strength and opportunity to defend themselves in a hand-to-hand struggle. And they're -- they're not criminals. They're moms. They're young women. And they're not used to violent confrontations.

So, I absolutely urge -- I -- I speak on behalf of millions of American women across the country who urge you to defend our Second Amendment right to choose to defend ourself.

Millions of American women, eh? Somebody should put a call in to the Bushmaster marketing team, because they're totally missing a huge demographic with their ads detailing how much of a man their guns make you.

Seriously, talk about false choices.  No one is saying that women must take down their attackers using mix of kitchen utensils plus herbs and spices.  No one is even saying that women must engage in MMA style hand to hand combat with people who are breaking into their homes.  But jeez, how did the difference between life and death become have an AR-15?  Outside of Newtown of course.  The only way you can make the point that women will be unable to defend themselves is if the banning of all firearms was on the table.  Obviously, it's not. You know it's bad enough to fight against everything from universal background checks to extended magazines.  But now young moms will be endangered unless they have unfettered access to assault rifles.  Come back to reality people.  Please!

Let me make an old argument from a new angle: The old argument: people like Wayne LaPierre and Gayle Trotter work very hard to slow down and screw up the national conversation around guns using an unsavory mix of hyperbole, tired cultural stereotypes, misinformation and bizarre, fantastical narratives that have little to no bearing on any real-life situation or scenario. The new angle: people like Wayne LaPierre and Gayle Trotter are very good at slowing down and screwing up the national conversation about guns -- not because all of their ideas resonate with a large mainstream audience, but because they don't. When taken at face value, they sound completely insane, and as the public faces of the "pro-gun" movement, they send gun-control advocates like myself into conniption fits of disgust and disbelief, and put people who might otherwise be interested in reasonable compromise on the defensive. There are no third options in a world so extreme -- you're either 100% in or you're 100% out. And as much as it worries and upsets me that even a notable fraction of Americans are choosing to camp out in their fantasy world, I have to hope that sustained public focus and issue-by-issue conversation -- where the majority of Americans tend to land on the side of reasonable gun-control policy -- will be the antidote to their toxic stereotype-driven shtick over time.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to The Non Blogosphere on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 07:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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