A little more than a year after defending her life with a handgun, Kristi McMains has become a national gun-rights advocate.
McMains, an attorney, was attacked in January 2016 by a man with a knife as she walked through a parking garage to her car after working all day in a law firm. After her attacker grabbed and stabbed at her, McMains fought, kicked and scratched to get away. All 10 of her fingernails broke off in the struggle. “I was doing all I could and I still could not get him off of me, and so I wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m going to make sure I have my gun,’ it was, ‘I’m out of options and he’s going to kill me…’ That’s why I grabbed my gun,” she said. “... It was because my life was in immediate danger and I had to do something about it.”
"I’m out of options and he’s going to kill me … That’s why I grabbed my gun."—Kristi McMains
McMains was one of four women who offered personal stories of Second Amendment advocacy during an “Armed and Fabulous” panel session at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Feb. 17, 2017. Moderated by Townhall.com Editor/FOX News contributor Katie Pavlich, the women shared how they "arrived at their firearms," and and serve as examples of why women are the fastest growing demographic of gun owners in the country.
Ashlee Lundvall, who has used a wheelchair since she was a teenager after being paralyzed in a ranching accident, is now an ambassador for the outdoors. Among her titles are columnist, Mossy Oak pro staffer, NRA Disabled Shooting Sports Committee member, and much more. While she didn’t grow up around firearms, Lundvall said she started hunting and helping others with disabilities get involved in hunting when she moved to Wyoming. Now she has extended her advocacy to personal self-defense. “When I became a mom is when I became really interested in personal protection, and I think a lot of people see people with disabilities and assume that’s a vulnerable population,” she said, and now strives as an advocate to disprove that notion.
Like Lundvall, Kimberly Corban was not exposed to firearms while growing up. Corban, who is best known for her challenge to former President Obama during his 2016 nationally televised CNN special, “Guns in America,” detailed how, after she was raped in her college dorm room, she began to consider what it meant to take personal protection seriously, and has advocated strongly for women to learn to defend themselves. Corban explained that with the magnitude of assault victims, the Left works to speak to that group and undermine the greater point. “I wanted to start combating and help people understand I’m taking my self-defense into my own hands because somebody else already took my power away and I am going to take it back. This is one means of doing so.”
"... somebody else already took my power away and I am going to take it back."—Kimberly Corban
Antonia Okafor, a graduate student from Texas, came to a similar realization as Corban. “As a graduate student walking home to my car at night, I needed a way to defend myself and I didn’t want the government to make that decision for me,” she said. “I wanted that decision to be something made for myself.” Her efforts helped lead to the establishment of campus carry reform in Texas and has spawned a national conversation on campuses and legislatures regarding the issue.
Okafor said she believes one of the biggest hurdles to cross is the victimhood mentality commonly found in anti-gun arguments. “It’s exactly that reason—because of the victimization mentality—and realizing that if I want real female empowerment, if I want to be able to protect myself and have my future in my own hands, then yes, including a firearm is part of that equation, and other women are starting to hear that.” Okafor contends that being responsible for one’s own personal defense equates to a strong feminist position, and continues to call for an end to gun-free zones, including on college campuses. The Left’s efforts to encourage gun control disenfranchise women from empowering themselves, she said. “We have rights just like everybody off campus and I think it would be great to have President Trump be an advocate for that to stand up and help us because we’re fighting state by state.”
Corban called on women to take one another to the range and combat fear and curiosity with education. “We want women to be educated and empowered and feel they can do anything and watch them do it, and we’re being shamed for it,” she said. “I’m a mom and I demand action, but I know that action has to come from myself. I can’t rely on legislators or the general public with the good in their heart not to harm me.”
McMains reiterated how an attack can happen regardless of how prepared one is. “I can become a victim of violence anywhere at any time, and therefore I should be able to save my own life anywhere, any time.”
Watch the entire CPAC “Armed and Fabulous” session here.