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Survey Reveals NRA Members' Opinions on Transgenders Owning Firearms

AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File

When it was revealed that Audrey Hale, the individual who carried out a mass shooting at a high school in Nashville, Tennessee, last year, was a trans-identified woman, it ignited even more controversy over the shooting.

The fact that the media initially attempted to hide the shooter’s gender identity added even more fuel to the fire.

One aspect of the debate that went largely unnoticed centered on whether trans-identified people should be allowed to keep and bear arms. Those supporting gun rights for transgender individuals argue that the Second Amendment still protects those suffering from gender dysphoria. On the other side, people argue that their mental health problems make them too dangerous to own firearms.

A recent survey conducted by the National Rifle Association (NRA) found that the majority of their membership affirmed the right of trans-identified people to own firearms.

Fewer than 22% of National Rifle Association members surveyed believe a person who has undergone gender reassignment surgery should have their firearms taken from them. 28% of respondents are undecided on the issue.

The age group most supportive of trans-gun rights was the oldest segment of our survey. Just 18% of those 60 years old and older believe gender-reassignment is grounds for firearm confiscation. 29% of the 18-30 year old respondents felt gender-reassignment surgery recipients should have their guns taken away.

Another interesting tidbit emerging from the survey revealed that NRA’s membership was split on whether mental health screenings should be required for those purchasing firearms.

Respondents were also split on mental health screenings for firearm purchases. 45% of those surveyed believe a screening should be necessary prior to purchase. Generally, the younger the respondent, the more in favor of mental health screenings they are.

It’s an interesting debate, for sure. There are already laws in most states intended to prevent potentially dangerous people from owning firearms that could be used to hurt themselves or other people. Red flag laws come to mind. Overall, these laws have been immense failures at stopping mass shootings and other forms of gun violence.

At the end of the day, I’m going to side with liberty. I view the Second Amendment as sacrosanct – even for people experiencing gender dysphoria or other mental health problems. The bottom line is that these folks have just as much of a right to defend themselves, their loved ones, and their property as anyone else.

Those facing mental health problems should only be prohibited from owning firearms if they are actually making threats to harm themselves or others. If this is not the case, their gun rights must be protected. Otherwise, we might see a slippery slope where the government categorizes people as mentally ill simply to deprive them of the ability to arm themselves.

Moreover, as with the vast majority of gun laws, barring trans-identified individuals from keeping and bearing arms is an ineffective proposition. Those who favor gun rights already know that bad actors, regardless of gender identity, are going to obtain guns no matter how many laws restrict them from doing so.

In light of this, there is no valid reason to bar trans-identified people from keeping and bearing arms. The Second Amendment was aimed at protecting everyone, not just those whose lifestyle we agree with.

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