FORMER FEMALE COP TO CONGRESS: I WILL NOT COMPLY WITH AN ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN
Meet The Tulsa Cop And Top Shooter Taking On Washington, D.C.
“They say we love our guns more than we love babies,” said Dianna Muller, one of the top shooters in the United States. “Do we seem like that to you?”
One of a new generation of gun rights advocates in the U.S., Muller assures a listener that she’s not political.
That depends on how you define politics.
A former Tulsa, Okla., police officer, Muller is one of the few competitive shooters to make a living from the sport. With an NRA World Championship to her name, she has sponsorships from Benelli, F1 Firearms and 5.11 Tactical, among others. And once a year, she turns into one of the guns world’s most powerful spokespeople, when she comes to Washington, D.C. as the head of the D.C. Project, which she founded.
The effort was born in 2015, when she and her husband were visiting the area. “We had shooting matches on bookend weekends, which allowed us to be tourists for a couple of days,” she wrote. A friend offered to set up a meeting with Oklahoma Congressman Steve Russell. “I agreed with zero interest in being the advocate I’ve become! It was during that meeting that I asked, ‘is there something we (pro shooters) should be doing to reach out and educate our legislators?’”
The Project, partly funded this year by a $25,000 GoFundMe campaign (about $5,500 has been raised so far), brings one woman shooter from every state to Washington, D.C., for meetings in Congress (the women donate the cost of their time). This year’s tour also included a media event in the muggy heat of western Virginia, with a mostly right-leaning media group that included The Daily Caller and The Federalist, plus yours truly, a business reporter. The event was organized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun manufacturers.
Muller hammers home a handful of points when she speaks. What she aims to do in conversation is two-fold: She makes the point that gun owners and gun culture have been demonized; and the point that it’s possible, and important for people who don’t agree politically to speak with each other. A handful of deeply held convictions underlie her conversation:
First, that Second Amendment as it’s currently interpreted is, if not sacred, something close:
“The Second Amendment is responsible for our security and our success.”
Second, that restrictions on gun ownership would not good make people safer, and that owning guns does. “Some people in Congress buy into the false narrative that if there would be no guns, there would be no crime,” she said.
Given the lack of evidence that guns make people safer when they're confronted by criminals, and the clear evidence that shows gun ownership makes people more likely to die of suicide or an accident, I asked her if she has any doubts. After we did one phone interview, and met in person, we had a long email exchange.
"The answer is no. I just feel like I may be too late as the anti’s have been loud and misleading and winning the hearts and minds of the middle America.
As a police officer, I know evil exists. I’ve seen violence. And I know how long it takes for a call to get thru 911, to me, and me to get the the scene. I don’t want anyone to feel helpless….and get murdered or get raped or robbed at the hands of an evil person. I want them to have a chance. I want them to have a choice to be able to protect themselves. I believe it to be the most sacred human right, to protect yourself. And I believe gun rights should be EMBRACED by women as a woman’s right," she wrote.
She also said that gun owners have been demonized by the wider culture. “It’s this kind of irresponsible hate speech that creates an atmosphere for the anti-gun people to paint us “less human” and not worthy of a conversation, an opinion, or even a livelihood.”
Many of the people who ask whether we love our guns more than our children are asking it rhetorically of themselves as Americans. Not everyone is, though: Eminem, for instance, this spring rapped:
This whole country is going nuts, and the NRA is in our way
They’re responsible for this whole production
They hold the strings, they control the puppet
And they threaten to take donor bucks
So they know the government won’t do nothing and no one’s budging
Gun owners clutching their loaded weapons
They love their guns more than our children.
The media event in western Virginia was not far from Lexington, Va., where Sarah Huckabee Sanders was shunned – asked to leave -- at a local restaurant, the Red Hen. Muller was in Washington, D.C., as another sign of the culture wars was erupting: Congresswoman Maxine Water's controversial calls for constituents to “create a crowd” when they see Trump cabinet member in public, calls that were reportedly followed by death threats to her.
"From my law enforcement days, I know what crowds do," Muller said. “Mob mentality is real and humans do things they may not normally do. How is this any part of being a responsible leader, a responsible adult?”
I’ve wanted to meet Muller for while. A well-known figure in the gun world, she could have a much easier time if she simply focused on competitive shooting. I wanted to ask her why she’s focused on talking to people on the other sides of this many-sided debate.
“I’m not sure why,” she answered by email. “I think as we get older, we look at the bigger picture and want to make a difference. As a gun owner, I was experiencing the bullying, the misconceptions about our community and know us to be responsible, upstanding citizens. So during that happen-stance meeting with my legislator, it was just one of those light bulb moments where it was put on my heart that I may be able to make a difference! Of course it would be easier to just focus on competing, but SOMEBODY needed to do something, so if not me, then who?”