A panel of women said that gun rights should be a feminist issue Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.
During the discussion, Antonia Okafor, a student at the University of Texas at Dallas and campus carry advocate, said gun rights—and the ability to independently protect yourself—are the very epitome of feminism.
“How much more feminist can you get than by talking about self-defense and advocating for that,” Okafor said.
Gun advocates Kimberly Corban, Ashlee Lundvall, and Kristi McMains joined Okafor on the panel moderated by Townhall.com editor Katie Pavlich.
“We need to let women know it’s OK, it’s prudent, it’s legal, it’s moral to carry a gun for self-protection, in fact, it could save your life, because it saved mine,” McMains said.
McMains said she was attacked in a parking garage last year, and she used her concealed weapon to successfully fight off an attacker.
McMains spoke about the side of the gun control debate she said often goes unaddressed—how guns save lives.
“You can become a victim of violence anywhere, anytime, and therefore I should be able to save my own life anywhere, anytime,” McMains said. “When the time comes, should we need to, we’re gonna use [a firearm] to save our lives.”
Corban, a sexual assault survivor and vocal supporter of gun rights, said both the fear and curiosity surrounding guns can be alleviated through education.
“[Education] in it of itself is going to make a better firearms community, a better community in general,” Corban said.
“That’s the feminist movement, right?” she continued. “We want women to be educated and empowered, and feel like they can do anything and watch them do it.”
Corban said she hopes women will realize that guns are empowering, not something to be afraid of.
“Someone else already took my power away and I’m going to take it back,” Corban said.
According to a report from the National Rifle Association, women are the fastest-growing group of gun owners in the country. In 2011, 23 percent of women self-reported as gun owners, a 10 percent increase from 2005, a Gallup poll found. Additionally, 42 percent of women who own a firearm own at least three.
CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs from Wednesday to Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington.