Imagine you’ve been the victim of some kind of horrific assault. For far too many people, that’s not difficult because they already have been. Many of those people eventually become gun owners and even Second Amendment activists.
For one Arizona activist, though, speaking before a state senate committee elicited the kind of response no one should be subjected to.
Lauren Snyder, whose voice quivered as she recounted the horrors of the assaults she’s endured (you can see her full testimony here, beginning around 1:17 and finishing up around 1:22), wasn’t just ignored but was insulted and denigrated by State Sen. Lupe Contreras, whose advice was that if you’re afraid, you should stay at home behind locked doors.
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I spoke with Lauren about what transpired.
Lauren tells me it was difficult to get up and speak, particularly about the kidnapping attempt she endured, in part because she hadn’t really told that many people about it. The difficulty she endured is clear as she speaks into the microphone.
The bill, HB 2316, would decriminalize concealed carry by licensed carriers in public buildings. For someone who has endured assaults like Lauren, that’s big, but she argues such a bill will benefit anyone with a carry permit. “Our rights to defend ourselves shouldn’t change just because we crossed over a threshold into a specific building or public space,” she said.
She’s right, too.
But then we have Contreras.
“I couldn’t believe that these words were coming out of his mouth just a few moments after my testimony,” Lauren said when I asked her about it. “He came off as very pompous and ignorant. It was frustrating to have only had [one] minute 30 seconds to state my case and then not be able to actually respond. I would’ve loved to say that it must be nice to not ever worry about someone attacking him, and that suggesting that a woman should ‘just stay at home’ in 2022 is very out of touch.”
Now, in fairness, he did later claim that he wasn’t speaking to Lauren. However, those claims fell well short. For Lauren, it wasn’t enough to just say, “Oh, I’m not talking to you.” He’d already dismissed the reality she’d experienced and admonished people with her history to stay inside forever, to essentially become shut-ins–because that’s certainly how it sounded to me.
“It was hard to believe that he wasn’t referring to me when my testimony was the last one presented and he went out of his way to ask if he could explain his vote just a few minutes later,” Lauren said, also noting that he could have just voted no and kept his comments to himself.
However, I can’t help but wonder if Contreras would be so flippant about telling someone fearful of open carry or constitutional carry that if they’re scared of law-abiding citizens carrying guns they should just stay home. Would he tell them that?
Lupe Contreras sat on his committee and essentially told anyone concerned with soaring crime to the point they believe they should carry a firearm to protect themselves that rather than take a proactive step, they should instead hide in their home.
Sen. Contreras, to you I can’t stay the words I truly want to. We have language standards on this site and little of what I’d like to say to you would fall within them.
The truth of the matter is that Lauren took the time to do something very difficult, to stand in front of a crowd and tell some very personal stories about her own trauma. This is something that should be applauded, only you suggested first that she should hide away from the world, then tried to claim you weren’t talking about her.
Shame on you.
As for the bill, let’s also remember that even if you can guarantee perfect safety in a public building–you can’t, but let’s say you can–what about outside of those buildings? Remember that people don’t just get disarmed at the door in most places. They have to be disarmed at least from the car to the door, a point in which all kinds of horrible things could befall them.
And here we have state Sen. Contreras who has the nerve to argue that if you’re concerned, all you have to do is stay home.
Lauren Snyder deserved better.
The state of Arizona deserves better.