Six-time U.S. Olympic shooter Kim Rhode stood firm in her opinion against gun control measures such as the right to conceal carry and how gun control legislation in her home state of California affects her.
“We should have the right to keep and bear arms, to protect ourselves and our family,” she told Time. “The second amendment was put in there not just so we can go shoot skeet or go shoot trap. It was put in so we could defend our first amendment, the freedom of speech, and also to defend ourselves against our own government.”
Rhode, who hails from California, is competing in her sixth straight Olympics and has medaled in every one so far, including three golds. She became the first American to win a medal in five separate Olympics when she won gold for women’s skeet shooting at the 2012 Olympic games in London. If she wins Friday, she will be the first woman in history to win a medal at six different Olympic games.
“I’m definitely becoming more vocal because I see the need,” Rhode told The Guardian. “We just had six laws that were passed in California that will directly affect me. For example, one of them being an ammunition law. I shoot 500 to 1,000 rounds a day, having to do a background check every time I purchase ammo or when I bring ammo out for a competition or a match – those are very, very challenging for me.”
Rhode told Time that after the San Bernadino attack that left 14 killed and 22 injured, those gun control measures will make it more difficult to pass down guns to her son and they are making it more difficult for her father to pass down guns to her.
“I’ve had guns in my family for generations that have been passed down, and now I’m going to register them as assault weapons. And they will not be passed on to my son, or to me from my father. It definitely does effect me and give me a reason to speak out more,” she said.
Under California state law, rifles defined as “assault rifles” can’t be inherited, but non-assault weapons can be passed down to their adult children.
Rhode told Time that she understands why some people would rush for tighter gun control following the San Bernardino attack, but she does not agree with it, making her “want to carry even more.” She has also lost chances for mainstream sponsorships because she is vocal about her stance on gun control.
Rhode was asked about her opinion about mass killings, such as San Bernardino, Newtown, Connecticut and more, she said she was upset after hearing about these events but many of these mass killings were in places that have anti-gun legislation and that they don’t work.
“When you look at these events that have been occurring, they’ve been occurring in some of the strictest gun law countries in the world,” Rhode told The Guardian. “You have Paris, you have San Bernardino, which was actually in a gun-free zone, so, yeah, it’s actually something that you take into consideration.”
“For me personally, I realize the first responsibility of a police officer is to respond to an incident and for me personally, in that five minutes or 10 minutes or 20 minutes in some cases that it takes for them to get there, how do you want to stand there? I would rather have my second amendment right,” Rhode added.
So far, Rhode has won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze. On Friday, she hopes to add to that incredible and record-breaking tally.