Rape survivor and Florida campus carry advocate Shayna Lopez-Rivas penned a scathing letter-to-the-editor to lawmakers who refuse to hear vote on campus carry.
Shayna Lopez-Rivas, 21, is a Florida campus carry advocate the gun community should familiarize themselves with.
A Florida State University senior, Lopez-Rivas has worked with others to get campus carry passed by the Florida legislature. So far, their efforts have resulted in the Florida House passing bills to permit open carry and campus carry as recent as February 4, 2016. It currently awaits approval from the Senate.
In a letter published in The Hill, she called out a Republican lawmaker for repeatedly killing campus carry bills in the respective chamber.
Lopez-Rivas told Wide Open Spaces the following in an email: “Senator Diaz de la Portilla and Senate president Andy Gardiner are political cowards who would rather I be raped on campus again than even hear a bill that would give me an actual chance to defend myself.” Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla is the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, while Senator Andy Gardiner is the Senate president.
Below is an excerpt from her op-ed:
Sen. Diaz de la Portilla, why are you so adamant in denying me my right to protect myself and have a gun on campus? Why have you not schedule the campus carry bill for the Senate Judiciary Committee you chair? Why have you not met with me for 15 minutes since October when I began sending you and your legislative assistant weekly emails asking for an appointment?
Lopez-Rivas came to gun rights in an unlikely way. After being raped on her campus in November 2014, she decided she wasn’t going to become a victim again. She penned an article in Tallahassee Democrat last December to share her story and to inspire other victims of rape to become empowered through firearms use.
She wrote, “On Nov. 13, 2014, a man with a knife raped me on campus. I used pepper spray; it didn’t work. And now every time I look in the mirror and see the scars on my body, I am reminded of that night.”
“Do you know what it is like to be forced into a secluded area? To be told to not scream? Because I do. I remember the details well enough to know that had I been trained, like I am now, in tactical firearms defense – and had I been carrying – I would not have been raped,” Shayna added. “This is not a fantasy. This is my reality and it’s the reason I fight to get the campus carry bill passed. Do I not have the right to lawfully defend myself with a firearm? Because I have that right everywhere else I go.”
Shayna and others like her should be applauded for their activism. Let’s hope Florida’s Senate passes concealed carry so students like Shayna can protect themselves.