It’s been just months since a gunman stormed a Florida high school, murdering 17 people and leaving dozens of others seriously injured.
The tragedy has sparked a wave of international protest calling for tighter gun control, but one student in disagreement with these proposals is Brenna Spencer, whose recent graduation photo went viral.
The picture, which currently has 91,000 likes and 14,000 retweets, shows the young Tennessee resident posing in a pink ‘Women for Trump’ t-shirt, with a handgun tucked into the waistband of her white jeans. "I don’t take normal college graduation photos," reads the caption.
I don’t take normal college graduation photos... https://t.co/eI1NvLFYHs
Spencer, whose Twitter bio claims that "political correctness offends" her, appeared on TV show Fox & Friendsto defend her choice to post the picture. Speaking live on air, she explained her decision to pose for the photo:
Taking my graduation photos, I figured that I wanted them to… represent the person that I am. So obviously, being very passionate about conservative politics and the Second Amendment, I decided that that was what I wanted to do.
She goes on to state that she doesn’t regret posting the image despite online backlash, and points to a rise in sexual assault rates on U.S. campuses as the main reason she wants to “empower” women to bear firearms.
I think it’s really important to empower people, to show that you should be allowed to protect yourself. Your rights don’t stop at a college campus.
Gun violence in America is well-documented, with many citing the Second Amendment and the deep enmeshment of guns in rural American culture as a reason to carry them in the name of safety. The grisly truth is, however, that these weapons aren’t always used in self-defence; just weeks ago, statistics revealed that, in the 42 days following the Parkland massacre alone, 60 school-age teenagers were shot. At least 198 more were injured.
But Spencer isn’t alone in her support of the Second Amendment, which protects the right of American citizens to keep and bear firearms. Just weeks earlier, television host and conservative political advocate Tomi Lahren shared a similar photograph, in which she posed with a gun tucked into her workout gear.
Naturally, Twitter trolled her mercilessly, proving once again that the Internet can add humour to any situation.