As conservatives try to push Colorado legislator Joe Salazar’s (D) comments about rape during a gun control debate into the national spotlight, one of the most powerful names in gun control came to his defense, even as it called his statement “inartful.”
“If some legislators spent as much time learning about how weak gun laws endanger our daughters as they spend yammering about Salazar’s inartful comment”, all of our kids would safer,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the gun control group founded by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. “While he was voting for a policy that will save lives, they were taking dictation from the NRA’s Washington lobbyists. I know which position will be easier to defend in 2014.”
During a debate over a bill banning concealed weapons from Colorado college campuses last week, Salazar responded to conservatives who were worried that the law would leave women defenseless against rapists. He pointed out that campuses have call boxes and warned that women may end up shooting someone innocent out of fear.
“You don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody,” he said.
Salazar later apologized after conservatives flooded Twitter with outrage and Republican lawmakers criticized him on the state House floor. One of those Republicans later apologized for her criticism, and the state House speaker, a Democrat, said critics were taking Salazar out of context.
The gun rights community, most specifically the National Rifle Association, has struggled with messaging during the national conversation about gun violence following the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Activists appear to think the Salazar quote gives them a chance to stand in the way of new gun control legislation, and conservatives and Republicans have begun to rally around the Salazar quote.
On Tuesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee called on the Democratic candidate in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District to “publicly renounce” Salazar. Meanwhile, conservatives have been busy on social media accusing the mainstream media of actively ignoring the story.
Other conservatives have used the Salazar quote to attack gun control advocates for, they say, trying to leave women disarmed against rapists. The popular hashtag “#LiberalTips2AvoidRape” was spawned by Salazar’s comments, and on Wednesday, Michelle Malkin published a column based off the Salazar quote titled “The Anti-Choice Left’s Disarming of the American Woman.”