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(c) by Mary Griggs
So, I tell you that I’m a radical lesbian feminist and you nod, sure that you’ve got me pegged. Then, we get into a discussion and you find out that I’m a gun owner. Your knee jerk reaction is scorn. I try to joke that gun control means hitting what you’re aiming at but you aren’t listening anymore because I’m suddenly the enemy.I’m here to tell you that not all lesbians own cats. Some of us own guns.

My position on guns is rooted in my belief in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and all the sundry amendments (I also supported the Equal Rights Amendment but that’s a whole different rant). In short, I espouse free speech, the separation of church and state, equal protection under the law and the right to bear arms.

I believe the Constitution is a living document. It was best described by a 1987 lecture delivered by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall entitled, ‘The Constitution: A Living Document.’ He argued that the Constitution must be interpreted in light of the moral, political, and cultural climate of the age of interpretation.

He said, “I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever ‘fixed’ at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite ‘The Constitution,’ they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.”

Some of those vastly different concepts are the right to privacy and a women’s right to choose, both of which I whole-heartedly support. I also believe that that the principle of the people to keep and bear arms is not an archaic one. In fact, in this time of enemies, both foreign and domestic, our need for them has never been greater.

And before you ask, I don’t believe that waiting periods and background checks abridge these rights. I also believe that responsible owners should do everything in their power to keep guns out of the hands of children and to educate all members of their household in the proper use of firearms.

Because at the most basic level, guns are only tools. They are as ripe for misuse as any other. Of course, a person with a bat on a rampage is much less likely to wreak the kind of havoc than an individual with a full clip can. But if you’re facing a home invader or a rapist, I’m sure you’d rather be armed with a 9mm than a Louisville slugger.

Crime statistics show us that women are very likely to be the victims of violence. Most of the perpetrators will be physically bigger and stronger than us. A weapon helps to even the odds. You might argue that guns have a tendency to be turned back on their owners. I’d reply that it’s far more likely that the weapon was taken because the owner wasn’t committed to self-defense.

It is vital that we recognize that we have the right to defend our beliefs and ourselves. I would go further to say that it’s critically important that those of us on the Left be as prepared to defend our ideals as our brethren on the other side of the political spectrum. The Right seems inherently aware than an unarmed populace is completely at the mercy of those with the power.

And look what being meek and law abiding has gotten us: we’ve allowed them to hound us out of the military, we’ve let them erode our access to reproductive control, we’ve allowed them to define us out of marriage, and we’re heading to no control at all over our bodies if the happenings in South Dakota and Louisiana on abortion are any indication.

As a lesbian and a feminist, I’m a hate target of the Right Wing. They excoriate against people like me at every opportunity. I tell you truly that there is nothing that would scare them in to shutting up faster than if they knew that we were carrying more than tampons in our purses.

I think it would be fabulous if this country should see the formation of a Pink Triangle Cadre of queer gun owners. Can you imagine how quickly the rednecks will stop making the homophobic and sexist comments if they knew we were armed to the teeth?

Because frankly, that is what it is going to take. Come the revolution (and I fear that an extremist theocracy is far more likely than a rising of the workers), we should not be unarmed.

I don’t know about you, but when they come for me, they’ll find that I won’t go gently into that great good night.