The effort to separate shame and stigmatize gun owners is persistent and ongoing. The National Rifle Association and its millions of members are portrayed as evil, gun-loving ghouls with blood on their hands. Various cities and states are enacting more limits on gun ownership and the right to keep and bear arms, such as “assault weapons” bans, waiting periods, and age restrictions on purchasing guns.
Corporate America has eagerly gotten on board, too, attempting to cut off financing to gun makers, cutting ties with the NRA and proposing to treat credit card transactions involving guns and ammunition the same way they would marijuana purchases or porn. Now, one Ohio college student has learned — the hard way — that, if you’re not careful, it can be problematic to even mention that you’re a gun owner.
Leandra Westbrook’s a student at Kent State University, an institute of higher learning, intellectual inquiry and the free exchange of ideas. A couple of weeks ago, she was reportedly talking to a friend on the phone about “how it is a shame that I cannot carry a gun on campus, considering I have my carry license.”
Her side of the conversation, however, was overheard by police cadet student officers. They immediately marched off and reported the shocking news to campus police.
According to campusreform.com, Westbrook was then pulled out of class and questioned by two campus officers who searched her backpack for a firearm.
Though Westbrook understands that the officers were “just doing their jobs,” she maintains that that the student cadets reported her in bad faith.
“I do not believe they genuinely thought I was a threat, because I specifically said I had a license to carry,” Westbrook told Campus Reform. “In the conversation I had, there was no way to misinterpret what I said, or to even suggest that I had a gun with me.”
She noted that she “would not be surprised if the student cadet who reported me was targeting me for being pro-Second Amendment,” adding that she’s historically faced harassment and vague threats from her peers due to her conservative beliefs.
She apparently isn’t going to take the situation lying down.
Now, Westbrook says she has decided to “take matters into my own hands,” declaring that “I’ll be reporting the people who harassed me to the police, as well as the student cadets who reported me for having a gun for falsifying a report, as they said that they heard me say I had a gun and was afraid to get caught with it, which is not true.”
She did, however, say that she plans to wait until final exams are over to file the report, so as not to interfere with anyone’s study schedule.
“My main concern is that people are not being held accountable for their actions,” she explained. “Their words don’t bother me, but if I was to say something like that to them, my guess is it wouldn’t be tolerated by the university.”
She tells Campus Reform that she intends to start a campus concealed carry club at Kent State. If she does, we hope she remembers to issue trigger warnings to the student cadet population and provide plenty of teddy bears to hug in their safe spaces as they recover from trauma the group’s meetings will surely inflict.