Amanda Collins, 25, is a wife and new mom, and a concealed weapon permit holder for years. At her father's law office in Reno, she showed us the 9-mm Glock she carries for her safety.
"It's got a pretty standard magazine," she said, "and night sights so you can see in the dark when you're aiming."
However, Collins couldn't aim her gun at the serial rapist who attacked her at the University of Nevada at Reno, where she was a student. That's because, like most public colleges outside of Utah and Colorado, UNR is a "gun free" zone. The rule required her to leave her gun at home, leaving her defenseless the one time she needed its protection most.
In October of 2007, while walking to her car after a night class, Collins was grabbed from behind in a university parking garage less than 300 yards from a campus police office. The school's "gun-free" designation meant nothing to James Biela, a serial rapist with a gun of his own, who saw Collins as an easy target. "He put a firearm to my temple," she recounted, "clocked off the safety, and told me not to say anything, before he raped me."
The university has since installed more emergency call boxes and lights in the parking structure, but Collins says that won't stop an attacker who knows the campus is a gun-free zone, a policy she believes invites crime, and may have even emboldened the man who raped her.
With all due respect to her experience and point of view, what might have stopped her particular rape would not stop all rapes, and the only thing for sure that will stop all rapes is RAPISTS ALWAYS GOING TO JAIL AND NOT RAPING PEOPLE ANYMORE. That's pretty much the only sure thing, and it's also the thing that gets talked about the least, because it's easier to tell victims, over and over, how to defend themselves so that if they can't or don't, it's in some fashion their fault.