“Women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness.” – Erica Jong
As the popularity of the 2nd Amendment gains traction to become the fundamental civil right to self defense in the minds of a rapidly growing percentage of American women, the US is now seeing a shift of what has traditionally been a male-dominated social issue transform itself into a trend that caters more directly to the needs and wants of the fairer sex. In this modern age, more and more female gun enthusiasts are listening to the tragic testimonies of Dr. Suzanna Gratia-Hupp and Nikki Goeser before standing up to express their position on the basic need for personal safety by writing and publishing editorials espousing the benefits of lawful firearms ownership. The New York Times has confirmed these nationwide developments by recently publishing an article detailing the latest styles where international jewelry companies are now designing and manufacturing women’s fashion accessories shaped like firearms. The traditionally liberal publication has also covered the swing in the firearms industry towards the expansion of product lines that cater specifically to a dramatically increasing clientele of female customers.
This sudden and dramatic change has not occurred without the impetus of inspiration. The national Open Carry Movement has been instrumental in fostering this societal change in female attitudes. For instance, in a recent Time Magazine photo essay covering the Open Carry Movement in the San Francisco Bay Area, four of the ten Open Carry advocates featured in the piece were women. In addition, mainstream women’s magazines such as Marie Claire have dedicated comprehensively-detailed, five-page articles on this growing female perspective on gun rights. This development has proven to be so popular amongst women that even Esquire Magazine has produced an introductory video titled, How to Fire a Handgun–Ask a Beautiful Woman, that gives ladies an entertaining and eye-opening viewpoint into the world of firearms.
It is this popular media coverage combined with the everyday news stories detailing the growing attractiveness of gun ownership amongst women that has inspired ladies across the US to find out the truth about firearms for themselves. These facts, when combined with detailed psychological examinations into the gun control mindset by a renowned female psychiatrist, gives rise to the realization that the federal government’s US Department of Justice findings from the 1993 National Crime Victimization Survey were correct–that women offering no resistance to attack are 2.5 times more likely to be seriously injured than if they were to resist with a gun. That same US Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey found that men offering no resistance to attack are only 1.4 times more likely to be seriously injured than if they were to resist with a gun. Clearly, women benefit the most from being armed in society.
Women across the country can see the truth for themselves as evidence of the benefits of lawful gun ownership are clearly presented when news stories of completely unarmed and defenseless women falling victim to violent crime are contrasted with media coverage of ladies armed with guns successfully defending themselves against being victimized.
A modern personification of this growing national trend can be found in Michelle Comeaux Howard, a yoga instructor and mother of two residing in Mission Viejo, California. Howard considers her greatest ongoing accomplishment in life to be her unconditional dedication to raising her children to become strong and healthy individuals. She speaks proudly of her two teenagers,
My main focus and strongest beliefs are in doing whatever I can to raise my children to be strong and independent individuals despite whatever events may come unexpectedly into our lives.
As a role model for her son and daughter, Howard demonstrates her strength and independence in a combined effort as both an entrepreneur and a yoga instructor. Starting her practice at a local health club years ago, Howard has now expanded her clientele to reach out to corporate customers in her local community by taking her yoga practice online with her soon-to-be-launched website, Yoga Lemonade.
As part of the strength and independence that she exemplifies for her children, Howard believes in the basic, fundamental, and enumerated civil right to self defense found in the Bill of Rights under the 2nd Amendment. Howard elaborates,
I believe strongly in our Second Amendment rights because there will always be crime and I want to exercise the right to protect myself and my children in the event that we were to become victims of a home invasion or if someone ever attacked us in public. The often used example of Switzerland always comes to my mind. Switzerland’s citizens are well armed and trained in the use of firearms for defense of themselves and their country. Yet, with all of those government-issued, select-fire, fully-automatic assault rifles in the hands of the law-abiding general populace, the rate of violent crime there manages to be the lowest in the world. If more law-abiding citizens in California could exercise their right to own and carry firearms to protect themselves, then the violent criminals would not be so quick in their attempts to murder, rape, assault, and rob innocent victims. It’s when State and federal governments disallow law-abiding citizens from exercising their enumerated civil rights to self-defense that “the bad guys” will know they have free reign over “the good guys.”
I absolutely believe that California should be a “shall-issue” state. I approached my firearms instructor at my local shooting range in Orange County recently to apply for a concealed carry permit (CCW). I was immediately discouraged from doing so. My instructor told me he would absolutely recommend that I carry concealed but the procedure was so onerous and the sheriff so unlikely to issue me a CCW that my efforts would almost certainly be in vain. Yet, this advice came from an instructor who knows how important it is for a woman to feel secure in her ability to protect herself and her children!
It is a shame that the government of the State of California finds ways to subjugate its’ citizens by denying them their Constitutional rights. As the law-abiding citizens of California, we are made to feel like criminals when we try to exercise our 2nd Amendment rights. This state of affairs is completely backward and the People of California need to step up and take back those rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution. If we don’t, then we will stand to lose those rights forever.
Ten years from now, I would hope to see a uniform and simplified application process in place for law-abiding citizens to legally carry a concealed firearm. My ideal outcome would be Constitutional Carry, but “shall-issue” concealed carry would be an acceptable second option. In particular, I want my daughter to have the right to protect herself without having to worry that she will be treated like a criminal for trying to do so.
Even now in California, there are gun rights’ activists who Open Carry and yet, are harassed obsessively by local law enforcement agencies for doing nothing more than exercising their basic and enumerated civil right to self defense. Imagine how much easier their jobs would be, if law enforcement agencies in California actively supported the concept of an armed citizenry, just as the overwhelming majority law enforcement agencies do in more than 80% of the States in our Union.
Howard has supported the fight to restore 2nd Amendment Rights in California by donating generously to various non-profit Open Carry groups throughout the State. She has also participated in Open Carry events to demonstrate and voice her support for the Movement. Howard describes one of her Open Carry experiences,
I was with several law-abiding 2nd Amendment activists a few months ago at a local mall and the police spent time peeking around corners at us, stalking us, and then, eventually, five officers arrived to perform their optional e-checks [police have the choice of whether or not to verify if an Open Carry advocate’s properly-holstered and openly-displayed firearm is unloaded under California Penal Code 12031(e)], wasting both our time and theirs. As with every optional e-check that has ever been conducted in California (and there have been many up and down the entire State), every Open Carry advocate was found to be in full compliance with State regulations. This blatant harassment under the color of the law, wasted on a class of law-abiding citizens, should be an outrage for every California taxpayer, especially during these tough economic times when dwindling police resources should be focused on real crime.
As a yoga instructor and mother of two teenagers, Michelle Comeaux Howard has no qualms about speaking plainly and directly to the gun control issue. The dedication, discipline, and perseverance necessary to achieve physical, mental, and spiritual balance drives Howard towards attaining ever higher levels of self-actualization in her evolution as a yoga practitioner. These character traits also prove to be very useful in instilling the core American values of strength and independence in her two teenagers. True to the very core of those American values lies the tradition of the 2nd Amendment throughout US history. And it is that national history that is being written today, with the dramatic shift in women’s attitudes toward the 2nd Amendment being transformed into the basic, fundamental, and enumerated civil right to self defense that Howard identifies herself, along with an ever-growing and responsible class of law-abiding American women.
The Oakland Gun Rights Examiner Profiles in Courage Series
This article is the third installment of the Oakland Gun Rights Examiner’s Profiles in Courage series, where local civil rights activists are introduced and recognized for their exceptional contributions in moving every law-abiding citizen’s basic, fundamental, and enumerated 2nd Amendment Rights forward in California. Throughout U.S. history, civil rights activists have stood up and publicly staked their names, faces, and professional reputations on the line in defense of a cause that is greater than themselves, often at great personal cost. The Profiles in Courage series introduces these patriots to the general public so that they may be lauded and recognized for the personal sacrifices they have made in securing that most basic of all fundamental civil rights–the right to self-defense, in the San Francisco Bay Area and the rest of California.