In 2014, Shayna Lopez Rivas was raped on her college campus. “I had pepper spray, but he had a knife,” she told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday. “And I knew my fight was over the moment he pulled it out.”
“After that vicious attack, I promised myself I would never, ever be a victim again,” she continued. “Had I been armed that night that stole so much from me, I am confident things would have been different.”
In a one-on-one interview with Blaze Media after a press conference against a new House gun control bill, Lopez Rivas explained how she became a Second Amendment supporter after her horrific experience. After the attack, she said, a friend of hers invited her to the shooting range to learn about gun safety:
“I will never forget,” she told me, “I fired her Glock 17, and the moment I fired it, I knew if I had this on me the night that I was attacked, I would not have been raped.”
“Firearms are an equalizer,” she said. “They are the greatest equalizer between a five-foot-five woman like myself and the six-foot-tall man who raped me.”
At the press conference, Rivas was joined by several other Second Amendment proponents and Republican House members opposed to H.R. 8, the so-called “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” which the Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass later this week.
“Those who support this bill claim it’s about safety,” Lopez Rivas said of the bill. “However, this bill is not about safety at all. H.R. 8 will not stop criminals from stealing firearms, getting them on the black market, or buying them through straw purchases.”
“This bill will only make it more difficult and expensive for law-abiding citizens like myself to own firearms,” she said, adding that it “encourages prosecution of otherwise lawful gun owners who make an innocent mistake.”
As I explained earlier, H.R. 8 seeks to mandate so-called “universal” background checks for gun purchases. This means extending federal background checks to the only transactions that still do not require them: Those between private citizens of the same state in states that do not already require background checks for private sales.
Research from the Obama Justice Department found that “universal” background checks are largely unenforceable without federal gun registration, something House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., pointed out at a previous hearing on the bill.
Additionally, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told me after the press conference that the bill also “sets a pretext for registration by requiring citizens to essentially beg and plead and pay for the constitutional rights that our forefathers fought for and bled for.”
“It also would make it harder for me to lend a firearm to a friend who otherwise couldn’t afford one, but needs one for temporary self-defense or to practice at the range by themselves,” Lopez Rivas said at the presser.
“As a rape survivor, I understand wanting to make our communities and country safer,” her statement concluded. “I just also understand that passing more laws that are near-unenforceable and criminalizing normal behavior of lawful gun owners is not the way to do it.”
You can watch the full press conference here:
— NRA (@NRA) February 26, 2019