Domestic Violence Survivors Speak Out Against Gun Control

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Gun control advocates often make all kinds of arguments against people having guns. It’s funny because many of those arguments are about how it’s so important to keep guns from those who commit domestic violence, but then many are also saying victims of domestic violence shouldn’t have gun, either.


So, basically, despite their claims to the contrary, no one should have guns.

After all, if a woman who has been beaten by her partner shouldn’t have the means to defend herself–someone who has a known threat against their safety–then who should?

Luckily, a lot of survivors of that kind of relationship spoke out against gun control recently.

Late last week, several women, including survivors of domestic violence, spoke in a congressional hearing about how gun control laws rob women of their right to self-defense.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance hosted the hearing titled, “Second Amendment Rights Empower Women’s Rights.”

“Female firearm ownership continues to grow in the United States,” committee Chairman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) said. “Women are turning to themselves to be their own first responders.”

Shirley Watral, the state director of the Florida Women For Gun Rights Organization, is a domestic violence survivor and professional firearms instructor. In the hearing, she shared how her views on gun ownership changed after how the man she was in love with kidnapped her and tortured her for 15 hours (via

Attempts I made to escape were met with beatings. I was no match for his size and strength. I was forced to stay seated or kneeling on the floor of the master bedroom. As the hours went by, I found no way out. I thought my salvation came when he brought out a gun and set it on the bed. Hours prior to this, no one heard my screams or came to my rescue. I saw the gun as my way to freedom. I could either use it to defend myself or get a shot off that the neighbors would hear.

Lack of knowledge of the fundamentals of a firearm were a disadvantage for me. My only goal was to get to the gun and press the trigger. I lunged for it and pressed the trigger to only hear myself screaming. It was like having the wind knocked out of me. The gun did not go off. I had lost my freedom in the blink of an eye, and now I lost my will to fight to regain it. I was defeated. I told him I give up and will do whatever he wants. He must have believed he had won and had control over me, so he let me go.

After surviving the beating, the biting, the whiplash from being thrown around by my hair, I took actions I believed would keep me safe. The restraining order I got did not stop him from contacting me and stalking me. I moved into a gated community, which did not stop him from gaining access and finding out where I lived. These things did nothing more than give me a false sense of security, just like gun-free zones and gun control laws. They are an illusion of safety.


Watral’s testimony was powerful. She’s someone who survived the kind of thing nightmares are made of, and she’s come out determined to never be a victim again.

I have to respect that.

She also offered this in counter to a popular argument I’ve seen and heard more times than I can count. “Gun control groups voice the possibility if a woman has a gun in a violent situation, it will be taken and used against her. That is a possibility,” Watral conceded. She added, “What is more probable is that she will be overpowered by a man based only on his strength. I need a tool to be my equalizer to defend myself, and I choose a firearm. I want it to be my choice, not that of the government. I want to be my own protector.”


Is it possible that a gun might be taken from her? Sure. It’s possible. It’s possible it might be taken from any of us.

But that doesn’t mean she’s necessarily safer. Someone who commits domestic violence isn’t going to go easy on his victim because she doesn’t have a gun. He’s not going to give her a pass because she opted to be disarmed.

He’s going to beat her and possibly killer her with his own bare hands. The average man is quite capable of doing that to the average woman.


A firearm isn’t a talisman for warding off evil. It’s a tool that can benefit the person possessing it. Hell, just presenting it is often enough to change someone’s mind.

Domestic violence doesn’t get better when you try to prevent the victims from being able to protect themselves. It never has and it never will.

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