A gift for Amanda.

I belong to a group on Facebook of Responsible Firearm Owners in Northern Nevada. There are many members ranging from firearm instructors to complete novices. It’s a safe place where people can ask questions and discuss firearm related issues. Recently a woman wrote a post asking for the best way to carry a concealed firearm when she has a three year old and a seven month old. There was a lengthy conversation which was informative and useful.  At one point the woman felt comfortable enough to reveal her maiden name and it rocked my world.

It was Amanda Collins. For those of you who don’t know, Amanda was raped in the UNR parking garage less than 50 feet from the campus police station. Amanda had a second-degree black belt and a concealed firearms license. The man who raped her went on to rape and murder Brianna Dennison. So why wasn’t Amanda able to defend herself with all of her skills and training? She had crossed an arbitrary line that made carrying a firearm illegal. Of course her attacker had no such respect for the law and held her at gunpoint while he brutally raped her.

I can’t walk by that parking garage without thinking about it. It tears me apart when I think about how we failed her as a society. We legislated out her ability to defend herself and we should be ashamed. We created a place where criminals have no fear. There’s no one to fight back. They can rape and kill at will while the true first responders, the ones involved, can do nothing about it. We took away her safety so that someone else could “feel” safe.

So what does this woman, whom we let down as a society, do? She bravely travels the country telling her story at various state legislatures trying to protect other innocent women. She gets mocked by anti-gun zealots who tell her that a rape whistle would have protected her. That she should have peed herself or thrown up so that her attacker would not want to complete the action. She gets told by a shrewd woman that she would have never been able to defend herself even if she had her gun. It’s true, Amanda might not have been able to defend herself if she had her gun but we made absolutely sure that she wasn’t able to didn’t we?

I was in shock. How do I tell her that I’m sorry? I’m sorry that because of people’s irrational fear you were forced to endure that. I’m sorry that despite you being so incredibly responsible and taking your safety into your own hands we ripped it right out and hung you out to dry. How do I say all those things that need to be said, should be said, by everyone? I can’t. So I offered to make her holster that she can carry and hopefully she can be safe in all the ways she should have been.

It’s time to end the supposed “gun free zone.” It’s a farce; an illusion that is shattered with countless stories like Amanda’s. Since 1950 only one mass shooting hasn’t taken place in a “gun free zone.” Let that sink in, the irony of it. Stand up with me and support, at a minimum, the right to campus carry. Tell your assemblyman, senator or congressman that you don’t want to see any more women like Amanda. Criminals should be afraid of us, not the other way around.


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