A Nevada state legislator who is sponsoring a bill that would allow college students to carry concealed guns on campus has been put on the defensive over her comment that potential perpetrators of sexual assault would be deterred "if these young, hot little girls have a firearm."
Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore released a statement Wednesday clarifying her remarks following the publication of a New York Times report about the push in multiple state legislatures to pass such legislation.
“That may not be the most eloquent way to phrase it,” Fiore wrote in the statement. “However, I stand wholeheartedly by that sentiment because I want every citizen, whether they’re on a college campus or not, to have the right to defend him or herself from sexual assault.”
Nine states allow concealed carry on college campuses, albeit with some restrictions.
In the Times story, Fiore suggested that "the sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head," as Republican legislators appear to be using heightened awareness of how higher education institutions address gender-based violence to further their advocacy of gun rights.
Gun control advocates have linked the push to allow concealed carry based on a sexual assault prevention justification with the firearms industry's recent attempts to appeal more broadly to women and young people, arguing it is motivated by profits rather than safety. Opponents of campus concealed carry legislation have pointed out that since an estimated two-thirds of sexual assault incidents occur between people who already know each other, the bills are unlikely to reduce the rate of sexual assaults. And, since such incidents often follow alcohol or drug consumption, gun possession could make for a combustible situation.
Since Republicans control both chambers of the Nevada state legislature, as well as the governorship, Fiore's bill is seen as having a good chance at passage.