When I was 16, I was at a party in Brooklyn with a few friends. I stayed sober, but my two friends had too much to drink, and I thought it was about time to take them home for their own safety. As the two of them are stumbling down the street, leaning on me for support, two men dressed in blue pass us. Young and naive, I thought nothing of it. Before I knew what was happening, I was forced to my knees and had a gun held to my head, forced to give up my phone, wallet, and purse. I was mugged at gunpoint by gang members, pistol whipped, left on the ground bruised and bloody in the middle of Flatbush, Brooklyn.

 

Yes, I was a victim of gun violence, at the hands of criminals wielding an illegally acquired weapon,  as are an approximate 212,444  other people per year. This experience left me traumatized, fearful of strangers on the street and Brooklyn as a whole. I would review the situation in my head, asking myself how I could have changed the outcome, blaming my own irresponsibility or inability to stand up for myself. After a while of thought, I realized, nothing could change what happened, but I could change what would happen in the future if that situation ever repeated itself. I was a victim of gun violence when I was younger, and that situation was the very one that opened my eyes to the protection that the Second Amendment grants to me.

 

I did my research and found myself to be a proponent of the Second Amendment, and wanting to arm myself. I learned that firearms are used to protect lives and in self defense 80 times as often than they are to take lives. Owning a firearm provides a protection that not even the police can assure, that you can defend yourself to the best of your ability when threatened, not after. In a culture where rape occurs every 2 minutes somewhere in America, you’d think the ‘pro-women’ party, the Democrats, would be jumping at the chance for women to be safer. I find it ironic that liberals claim to be so pro-women, but so anti-gun. In my mindset, guns and girls tie together in ways unlike anything else, as it can be an assurance of protection while a situation is escalating rather than just a police report filed after the violence has already occurred. I find it empowering and comforting to know that I, as a young woman, can protect myself when my life is threatened.

 

I learned that guns aren’t anything to fear, but rather something that could provide safety or a defense if I was ever attacked again. I started listening to Kimberly Corban, an NRA News regular and a sexual assault survivor who found safety and support in arming herself, and I found she inspired me. I can take my life, and the protection of it, into my own hands, and I find that to be a beautiful thing. Here’s to firearms, to providing food, protecting life, and granting liberty.