Two members of the audience at last week’s hearing on alleged ATF troubles because the agency flipped on its policy regarding pistol braces did not overshadow an exchange between Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) and Amy Swearer, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, which raised the issue of elitist Capitol Hill condescension and liberal sexist hypocrisy.
It came during Thursday’s hearing before the House Oversight committee on the regulatory flip-flop by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on pistol braces and alleged agency overreach. During the hearing, Democrats on the committee had tried repeatedly to make the discussion more about the safety of children and domestic violence victims, and the agency’s efforts to prevent gun trafficking—anything other than the actual subject of the hearing—while Swearer and two other panelists, Alex Bosco, founder and inventor of the Stabilizing Brace, and Matthew Larosiere, a partner at the Zermay-Larosiere Law Group and adjunct scholar of law and policy for the Second Amendment Foundation, tried to stay on track.
Rep. Luna, obviously sympathetic toward the issue at hand, asked Swearer, “Do you believe that firearms, and women having firearms, is apparently anti-woman?”
It was the perfect opening for Swearer, considered an expert on Second Amendment issues, to take a swipe at Congressional anti-gunners who daily work in a well-protected environment.
“Yeah,” Swearer responded, “so this has been something that has been raised several times in this hearing. This idea that guns don’t protect women. Of course they do, and I personally take offense at having my natural right to self-defense ‘mansplained’ to me by members of this body who come to work every day protected by armed men with guns, very much believing that those guns are keeping them safe. And I tend to agree with them that those guns are in fact a large component in keeping them safe.
“I would also point to the defensive gun use database that we run at Heritage,” Swearer continued. “So many of those instances involve women who otherwise would have been at a physical and strength disadvantage, who were able to use self-defense at a distance to take on and defend their rights in ways they otherwise would not have been able to.”
The sparky exchange was one of those moments that sometimes bring half-dozing panelists and members of the audience back to full consciousness. Following the hearing, Swearer tweeted a thank-you to the Florida congresswoman “for letting me set the record straight.”
Members of Congress come to work every day protected by hundreds of men with guns. They don't get to lecture me or any other woman about the importance of armed self-defense. Thank you @realannapaulina for letting me set the record the straight. https://t.co/4iL6DsyuHC
— Amy Swearer (@AmySwearer) March 23, 2023
The Heritage Foundation tweeted that the exchange was “a mic-drop moment when asked if being pro-gun is ‘anti-woman.’”
Swearer, who was recognized last August by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as the “Gun Rights Defender of the Month” for defending the Second Amendment on Capitol Hill, has previously testified on gun-related issues. In this case, she told the committee that the ATF’s reversal on pistol stabilizing braces could result in millions of Americans becoming felons for owning one of those accessories.