CBS Offers a Shockingly Positive Look at Women and Guns: A 'Great American Tradition'

CBS This Morning journalists on Thursday offered something Americans rarely see on network television: A thoroughly positive look at guns and the affinity women have for shooting. Reporter Jan Crawford told viewers that this is "completely removed" from gun violence. She enthused, "These women see their sport as this great American tradition that they hope their daughters and their granddaughters will continue and that others will go out and pick up those guns as well." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

For nearly five minutes, Crawford highlighted the rising trend of women using guns for sport. She even discussed how much "fun" it was to fire a shotgun. The segment was so positive, guest co-host Vinita Nair said of Crawford: "You looked great holding that gun. Pretty sexy." 

After explaining that females use guns for many reasons, including self defense, Crawford narrated, "I spent some time down in South Carolina shooting clay targets with women who say this is a lot more fun than golf." 

Women casually explaining the thrill and appeal of shooting is unusual for network morning programs. Yet, Crawford related, "These women argue that education is critical for responsible ownership. They also want to share their positive experience with guns." She then highlighted the story of a daughter and her favorite Christmas present: 

CONLEY CRIMMINS (daughter): I think I started crying. I think I started crying when I opened it up. It was kind of like my dad giving me a permanent present or a permanent invitation to come join him hunting and that has been true since I got that gun. 

BOOFIE CRIMMINS (Conley's mom): I would like more of that image to be what takes the place of the images people have when they think guns. It is just enjoyable, and it might be out of some people's comfort zone but I would just encourage them to try it. 

Though offering balance on the issue of guns isn't common, CBS reporters have made more of an effort. On July 8, This Morning promoted "gun-toting waitresses" at a restaurant that encourages open carry of weapons.  

A transcript of the August 21 segment is below: 


8:19

NORAH O'DONNELL: As calls for tougher gun laws increase in some parts of the country, here's something that may surprise you. One group is picking up firearms more than ever -- women. Jan Crawford got a first-hand look. She's in Washington this morning. Jan, good morning. 

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning. There are a lot of studies out there show women are taking up guns for many different reasons. Some are for self-defense. But there is another group who see is more as a sport, and the other day, I spent some time down in South Carolina shooting clay targets with women who say this is a lot more fun than golf. 

CRAWFORD: [Shooting.] Pull! It starts with a simple, but decisive, command. 

[Montage of women yelling "pull.]

CRAWFORD: The voices calling the shots, like the shooters, all are women. 

MAN: Yeah! A double! 

CRAWFORD: Just don't mistake their support and encouragement for a lack of competition. Annette Mueller first picked up a gun at age 55. 

ANETTE MUELLER: Shooting sports is my passion. 

CRAWFORD: What is it about it that you find so, you know, exciting? 

MUELLER: You're outdoors. You blow up clays. Whenever you see a target explode like fireworks, there is nothing better. 

CRAWFORD: On this day, Mueller is shooting with nearly two dozen women, split up in groups of four. On her team, Rebecca Peters, whose family legacy is expert marksmanship. She's a fourth-generation competitive shooter. 

REBECCA PETERS: You're thinking really hard about what you're doing, executing, you see results really quickly. Which is gratifying and you take someone new and they see that, that's when it happens and you get really hooked. 

CRAWFORD: Today's event is organized by the magazine Garden and Gun, now hosting two of these a year. Rebecca Darwin is CEO. She's also a shooter. 

REBECCA DARWIN: It's been because our readers want more and more and more and women were clamoring for us to do these kind of events. 

CRAWFORD: In the last decade, the number of women who target shoot has shot up nearly 70 percent to more than six million. Women who hunt have increased 43 percent to three million. 

JIM ARNOLD: Building is an extra five points. 

CRAWFORD: Jim Arnold has witnessed the growth. He's a shooting coach in Brays Island in South Carolina. 

ARNOLD: We're playing golf basically, only with a shotgun. [Showing Crawford how to hold a shotgun.] Hold it nice and firm. 

CRAWFORD: He went over the fundamentals with me before I hit the course. The challenge and the thrill come from trying to hit a four-inch clay flying through the sky. 

ARNOLD: Yeah! Right in the center! 

CRAWFORD: Everyone here agrees, the sport can be intimidating, especially for a woman who's never held a gun, much less shot one. 

ARNOLD: I've taken them out and they're so afraid to shoot that gun for fear and it's just lack of education and understanding. I've had them literally almost in tears until they shot it. Then they shot it and you can see their face light up. 

CRAWFORD: Of course, anything involving guns sparks heated debate. These women argue that education is critical for responsible ownership. They also want to share their positive experience with guns. Conley Crimmins has been shooting with her mother since she was a little girl. Both women received guns from their fathers. Conley, several years ago for Christmas. 

CONLEY CRIMMINS: I think I started crying. I think I started crying when I opened it up. It was kind of like my dad giving me a permanent present or a permanent invitation to come join him hunting and that has been true since I got that gun. 

BOOFIE CRIMMINS: I would like more of that image to be what takes the place of the images people have when they think guns. It is just enjoyable, and it might be out of some people's comfort zone but I would just encourage them to try it. 

CRAWFORD: You know, it is like you are talking about something that is completely different, completely removed from handguns and gun violence. I mean, these women see their sport as this great American tradition that they hope their daughters and their granddaughters will continue and that others will go out and pick up those guns as well. Jeff? 

JEFF GLOR: Jan Crawford: thank you very much. Jan's not messing around, is she? 

O'DONNELL: Jan, so how did you do? 

CRAWFORD: You know, it was a lot of fun. I hadn't shot in a long time. Learned how to shoot as a teenager but I just hadn't gone out there like that. It was actually great. I mean, I'm now thinking I can't wait to get back out there. 

VINITA NAIR: I'm going to say what we were all thinking. You looked great holding that gun. Pretty sexy. 

CRAWFORD [Laughs]: Thanks. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org