Student rape victim pens op-ed in support of campus carry

Shayna Lopez-Rivas, a student at Florida State University, was raped at knifepoint on her campus on November 13, 2014. Her efforts to fend off her attacker with pepper spray proved futile. Later, she was taken to the hospital where she was denied a rape kit by her nurse.

Now, a year later, Lopez-Rivaz is working diligently to see that campus carry bills are passed in the state of Florida.

According to Lopez-Rivaz, the most recent legislative session was in opposition to campus carry because of the low maturity level of college students. Frustrated with the stance of the state legislature, Lopez-Rivaz wrote an op-ed for the Tallahassee Democrat supporting the campus carry bill.

“I am 21 and I don’t drink when I carry my gun. I’ve never done drugs. I don’t get into heated arguments off campus and brandish my gun. I am not immature,” she wrote.

After she was raped, Lopez-Rivaz took concealed carry courses and started entering shooting competitions.

“I undergo continuous tactical training and I’m entering shooting competitions. I am a trained and well-armed woman,” she wrote. “I will not be a sitting duck for a rapist or a shooter on a university campus that claims sovereign immunity when it cannot protect its students and continues to insist that students should not be able to protect themselves.”

Lopez-Rivaz said she believes she could have prevented the rape if she had been carrying a firearm.

“Do you know what it is like to be forced into a secluded area? To be told to not scream? Because I do. I remember the details well enough to know that had I been trained, like I am now, in tactical firearms defense – and had I been carrying – I would not have been raped,” she wrote.

The campus carry bill cleared its final committee stop and was sent to the House floor late last month. The bill, which would allow students to carry concealed firearms on campus, received criticism from local representatives.

“People don’t want this bill,” said Rep. David Kerner.“People love that our campuses are gun-free zones and statistics prove they are very safe places in which to grow up, mature and learn. Nobody wants this.”

The campus carry bill comes a year after three students were injured by a gunman at Florida State University, where Lopez-Rivaz attends classes.

“This is not a fantasy,” she added. “This is my reality and it’s the reason I fight to get the campus carry bill passed. Do I not have the right to lawfully defend myself with a firearm? Because I have that right everywhere else I go.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski