By Ruth Platz Imagine you are a young mother. Two beautiful children; 1 boy 1 girl. Your son just started first grade, and your daughter is finally getting the hang of potty training.

Imagine that you met your husband in high school. It was love at first sight. He promised you the world- and you believed his words. You believed he was your soulmate, your true love, and your protector. You believed he would be an amazing father. Imagine that he was those things; at least in the beginning. As the years have passed, his drinking has increased. “He’s stressed from work” you tell yourself. And that is true. “It will be better once he’s sober”. And that is true too.

Imagine that slowly- almost without you noticing- he has made you a stranger to your own family. Your old friends don’t try to call anymore- they know that you obey him. It’s “you and him against the world”, he says. Although deep down you know it’s only about him. Imagine that your dreams of college and the career you always envisioned are no longer a possibility- he says you must be home to raise his children. Imagine that as his drinking increased, so did his anger. As his anger increased, so did the violence. He always apologizes, and you know he really is sorry. You forgive him and tell yourself that all couples have problems. Imagine that one day, your neighbor (who- let’s be honest- is your only “friend”)  asks about the bruises. She says you look like you haven’t slept in days- which is almost true- you have barely slept at all. You tell her you fell, and nervously laugh about how clumsy you are. Imagine that months later, your neighbor notices that you are moving very slowly and guarded. You say you “slept wrong”, and force a smile- hoping she believes your newest lie.  (She can’t possibly know your ribs are broken- right?)

Imagine that same friend tells you that you deserve to be safe. She says your children deserve to be safe as well. That last part hits you especially hard because lately, your son has become your husband’s newest punching bag. Imagine you confide in her. You tell her you need to get out- but you know he would never allow you to leave. She suggests buying a gun to protect yourself- and you know that she is right. He will kill you if he catches you, and he would never let you take the kids. He has convinced you that if you even tried, he would get sole custody because you are “unfit” to be a mother. No job. No money. No car- and you are constantly “sick”. He controls everything. The finances, the children, and your life. Imagine you believe him. He has followed through on all of his threats before. You are terrified, and you want to protect your children- and yourself.

Imagine that your friend teaches you how to proficiently use a handgun, and how to store it safely. Out of reach of your children- and out of sight from him. You learn firearm safety, and are finally comfortable with a gun.

Imagine you have managed to secretly  save enough money to buy a firearm so you can defend your family. The one thing you have been able to keep from him is that each time you went grocery shopping, you returned a couple of items in order to save enough for a used handgun. Imagine you go to make that purchase, now feeling that you might just stand a chance when he finally snaps. You already know which gun you are buying, and you have just enough. You slip into the pawn shop next to the grocery store.

Imagine the clerk hands you a form for a background check. You read it over and notice that by signing this, you are waiving all of your medical privacy rights- FOR LIFE. They will know about your constant “accidents”. They will know about your time on antidepressants. They will know EVERYTHING- will it disqualify you?

Imagine you pass that background check. Relief floods over you and you hand the clerk your money. For the first time in years, you feel like you can protect yourself. Imagine the clerk hands you your money back. He tells you that you have passed the instant background check, but you are now required to take a firearms safety course- and it’s $500. Not only is it impossible for you to come up with the $500- you also could never get away from him to attend the classes. He would know. He would follow you. He controls you.

Imagine you leave that store. You feel defeated and defenseless. You go back to your home, make sure his dinner is ready just the way he likes it, and you give the kids a bath. Imagine he gets home from work. He is drunk, and he is MAD. He grabs your son and begins to wail on him- and you intervene. You try to stop him from hurting your son. You will take the beating instead. You would die for your children.

And that night you do.

-This story is real for so many women- every single day. This is just one example of how Washington State’s new gun laws will disenfranchise women. Supporting the restriction of a woman’s right to self defense is NOT supporting women’s rights.-

Stand up to the special interest groups - and the billionaires who fund them. If you claim to stand for women - Stand up for our most important right of all. Our right to self defense and self preservation is inalienable. It is not for others to limit or take away. ~Ruth Platz~

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