By Alexa Solis
The right to own a firearm is a foundational right of the United States. In fact it is a right that many Americans hold so dear that any attempt to restrict the sales of guns is immediately struck down, most often by the National Rifle Association.
However, there is no question that America is ravaged by violence with 290 mass shootings since the start of 2015 according to the Gun Violence Archive. Of course the partisan debate over gun control has many faces on both sides of the aisle in Congress, but one of the most outspoken voices of the pro-gun right is Nevada’s own assemblywoman Michele Fiore.
In a recent feat of ludicrous behavior, Fiore has released a calendar filled with pro-gun rhetoric and photos of Fiore herself sensually posing with a variety of different models of firearms. To put it lightly, Fiore has effectively made a laughingstock of the Nevada Legislature, which is already considered a borderline circus on the national level.
This isn’t the assemblywoman’s first run-in with being skewered by the media for reprehensible comments regarding guns. Fiore sponsored several pieces of gun-rights legislation in the Nevada Legislature this year, most notably her effort to get guns on campus as a means for stopping campus rape. Fiore, for all of her ridiculous claims, found previously unexplored depths of ignorance when she was quoted in a New York Times article that “young, hot little girls” armed with guns would be the cure for the rape epidemic that faces college campuses across the country.
Right. Let me guess, the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a hot, little girl with a gun. This is the kind of rhetoric that the great state of Nevada is known for on the national level. The “hot, little girls” comment is enough of a misstep (to put it lightly) for any politician’s career, but Fiore doesn’t do things halfway. The calendar and its content are particularly disturbing.
Gun violence has become a greater killer of the American population than automobile accidents according to an article on forbes.com. Yet, here is the state assemblywoman posing with a family, each member armed to the teeth celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, one of history’s better-known pacifists. Even more troubling than the thought of a heavily armed Christmas gathering, is the little boy who is featured front and center of the photo. He can’t be older than 6, and he has a gun.
Regardless of an individual’s stance on guns, there are some statistics that every American should be aware of. In 2015 alone, there have 614 children under the age of 11 who have been killed or injured by guns and 2,296 children between the ages of 12 to 17 according the GVA. Altogether there have been 2,910 children whose lives have been ended or greatly affected by gun violence in this year alone. One child killed by guns is too many; nearly 3,000 is indefensible.
Fiore’s glamorization and imagery regarding gun use in her calendar is destructive to the perception of guns as dangerous weapons that end lives, something that few gun advocates seem to mention. They are not toys or accessories, but Fiore’s treatment of the weapons contributes to the highly weaponized culture within the United States.
However, it is up to the citizens of Nevada to take a stand against this kind of deplorable behavior by our representatives. Email or call assemblywoman Fiore’s office and make your voice heard. Vote in local elections. Participate in the democratic process. Otherwise, the door is left open for extreme politicians to dominate the discussion surrounding some of the most divisive issues facing our state and country.
Alexa Solis studies journalism. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @thealexasolis.