“You are face-to-face with an attacker. Now what? Call the police? Not an option.”
So says the website of Women Against Gun Control, a coalition of women seeking to encourage other women to exercise their gun rights by arming themselves against potential rapists and other attackers. The group takes an unapologetic stance against gun control.
WAGC was founded in 1994, when women like Diane Feinstein and Sarah Brady were making headlines with their support for gun control. “At the time Women Against Gun Control was founded, many of the most outspoken proponents of gun control…were women,” the group wrote in a 2003 court briefing.
But it was the gun control proposals of another woman, Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini, that prompted Utah mother Janalee Tobias into action. In 1993, Corradini proposed a seven-day waiting period for anyone purchasing a handgun under the age of 25, along with a gun buy-back program. Calling it a “terrible precedent” that women in power would seek to take gun rights away from other women, Tobias organized a courthouse protest of Corradini’s proposals. More than 50 women showed up, and WAGC was soon founded.
A significant portion of the group’s mission was to convince America that all women do not share the belief that fewer guns will lead to less crime. “Hillary Clinton (and) Diane Feinstein want Americans to believe all women support gun control. Let’s blow holes in that myth,” WAGC’s website states.
In 2010, WAGC had chapters in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Canada. The group is politically active at the state and national levels, researching legislation it deems harmful to women’s ability to arm themselves for self-defense, working with news media to promote gun rights and distributing pro-gun information. The organization also encourages women to train themselves to shoot and several firearms instructors are members of WAGC.
An Unapologetic Stance Against Gun Control
“Guns are a girl’s best friend,” the WAGC website states. “The reason is simple: guns are the great equalizer. Guns give women a fighting chance.”
That belief is fundamental to WAGC’s approach to gun control. In 2003, the group filed a court briefing before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that any law “that impairs access to firearms for self-defense will have a disparate impact on women.” The briefing was in response to the ruling in Silveira v. Lockyer, in which the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Second Amendment does not extend gun ownership rights to individuals. The case challenged California’s 1989 assault weapons ban. In the briefing in support of the plaintiffs, WAGC argued that women have a “special interest” in arming themselves for self-defense because they’re the weaker gender and should be afforded protection from men.
The WAGC website also calls on women to ban several national brands because of their stance on gun-related issues, including AT&T, Levi-Strauss, Sara Lee and Starbucks.
A Pledge of Support
The WAGC pledge is required for women (or men) seeking membership to Women Against Gun Control:
- You vote.
- You believe in and work to preserve the Second Amendment.
- You exercise safety and responsibility in the handling of firearms.
- You don’t believe that guns cause crime.
- You promise to never cause bodily harm to anyone unless acting in self-defense.
Membership to the group is free.