Recent Kent State University graduate Kaitlin Bennett's graduation pictures have gone viral after she posed with her AR-10 and a graduation cap that said "come and take."
Now that I graduated from @KentState, I can finally arm myself on campus. I should have been able to do so as a student- especially since 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the government on this campus. #CampusCarryNow pic.twitter.com/a91fQH44cq— Kaitlin Marie (@KaitMarieox) May 13, 2018
Reaction to Bennett's pictures have been mixed.
There were the typical anti-gun remarks and questions about why anyone would need an AR-10.
may I just ask what exactly you need a weapon like that for other than a task that would lead to mass destruction. that’s a weapon of war. was this to merely start controversy or are you just an extremely hostile and dangerous person? you shouldnt be taking so much pride in this— nikki (@astrlolgy) May 14, 2018
Then came the white privilege remarks.
If person of color was walking around campus with a gun the whole damn police station would come and shoot them in a second #WhitePrivilege— Riley (@Rilezmae) May 15, 2018
And you can't forget the mansplainers.
I'm curious, what is your degree in?— Puma (@therealPumaster) May 15, 2018
I mean, if you're in a class that requires a firearm, then hey, awesome, carry that gun to class.
But if you are so scared that you feel the need to always carry your rifle around, you don't need an education, you need therapy.
There were, however, gun rights advocates who stood up for Bennett.
Young lady – you have a bright future ahead of you. Congratulations on your graduation. Do not waste any more time/energy trying to educate these idiots. And don't respond to the threats. Not responding is the ultimate smack in their face. It will drive them wild! #2A #MolonLabe— John Adams Jr. (@JohnAdamsJr6) May 17, 2018
Why are we not friends? Lol you go girl! That’s America! ????????— ? kitten•nymph ? (@DREAHkitty) May 17, 2018
Absolute hero! There are no words to describe the bravery of this young woman. May I adjust a quote "If I had a daughter she'd have the courage confidence and values Kaitlin does!" Huge respect for you!! pic.twitter.com/ME5ruBTv7j— Keith (@Keith_NRA4LIFE) May 16, 2018
Bennett shared a screencap of direct messages she received on Twitter from someone who wanted to cause her physical harm.
Although Bennett has received a number of trolls on Twitter and death threats, she says she's standing by her actions:
I have no apologies for my graduation photos. As a woman, I refuse to be a victim & the second amendment ensures that I don't have to be. pic.twitter.com/5CKmQobrMb— Kaitlin Marie (@KaitMarieox) May 15, 2018
Bennett believes her post going viral is a good thing.
"I'm glad that my photos are making headlines, because my intent was to start a discussion about gun rights on college campuses," Bennett told USA TODAY. "At Kent State in particular, guests may protect themselves with firearms, but students cannot, and I find that insulting."
During an interview with WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Bennett explained why it's important for posts like hers to go viral.
"You don't see a lot of things going viral about students who are pro-Second Amendment and pro-gun rights that don't believe in gun control," Bennett told WKYC. "Just them seeing that there's someone out there who is young, who loves the Second Amendment and loves gun rights, that gives someone else hope."