Editor’s Note: Bennett spoke to TNP prior to the KSU administration declaring on Sept. 14 that guns wouldn’t be permitted at her open-carry rally, which was later changed to an open-carry “walk.” Read more about these developments here.

Kaitlin Bennett, the Kent State gun girl, talks about herself, guns, her relationship with social media, and what’s next for her.

Who is Kaitlin Bennett?

Everyone knows Kaitlin Bennett as the girl who rose to fame by wearing an AR-15 across her back in her viral graduation picture at Kent State University. She’s commonly referred to as the “Kent State gun girl” on social media by supporters and detractors alike, but who is Kaitlin Bennett beyond her online persona?

Bennett is from Zanesville, a city in Muskingum County Ohio, roughly 50 miles east of Columbus. She comes from a family of Republicans and supporters of President Donald Trump. Bennett, however, does not consider herself to be a Republican, but rather a libertarian-conservative, which she defines as being anti-war, anti-drug war and pro-life; she favors a small government, a small military, and believes that taxation is theft.

She graduated from KSU this past May with a degree in biology, but conservative politics and gun rights are her passion. Bennett never wished to change her major to something like political science because she loved the selection of biological science classes that KSU offered, and she had no desire of becoming a politician or running for public office in the future.

When she arrived at KSU, Bennett regularly witnessed people protesting Trump; she read banners putting down conservatives, and heard “leftist” talking points that she disagreed with. Teachers hung up signs in their offices calling for students to resist the Trump administration, which she felt was crazy. These instances motivated her to become involved in political organizations on campus.

“I started being that conservative voice to push back and kind of say ‘we’re (conservatives) here and we don’t agree with your viewpoints and we want to express ourselves,’” Bennett said.

She referred to her opposition as “leftists,” which she defines as those who are “more radical” than traditional liberals. They support a state-mandated economic system and suppression of free speech, but don’t support gun rights, Bennett said.

What’s Bennett’s relationship like with social media?

Bennett rose from 500 to 101,000 Twitter followers within the few months following her viral post. She chalks up her social media growth to “leftists” getting angry at her tweets.

She thinks people thrive on getting retweets and favorites on Twitter by attacking her intelligence and the way that she looks.

“People dehumanize … There is a person behind the Twitter account of Kaitlin Bennett,” she said. “They really forget that there is a human being behind there that has feelings, has emotions, has irrational thoughts.”

Bennett recognized that when people on the left complain about an issue, they are met with the accusation from the right that they are “snowflakes” or are “triggered” — both being pejorative terms. Bennett doesn’t use the term “snowflake.”

“I’ll say the word triggered, because if you start making fun of me and my looks instead of having a conversation with me, I’ll say ‘yes, you are triggered over this,’” Bennett said.

Social media has been the device that has both aided her rise to prominence, but also caused her deeply personal problems — a contradiction that she grapples with daily.

“They libel, they send death threats, they tell me they want me to die, so you know, if people want to call me a snowflake over that, that’s fine, but they’re not the ones that are getting 3,000 death threats a day,” Bennett said. “If someone is to get triggered over anything, I would say that warrants a little bit of emotional upset … but until they experience it and live it, then they will never understand.”

What are Bennett’s thoughts on guns?

Bennett doesn’t support any form of gun regulation.

“A lot of millennial gun control advocates come from a place of emotion,” Bennett said. “They want people to stop dying from guns, and I agree with that. However, they just let their emotions override their logic.”

Bennett didn’t grow up with guns and didn’t become involved with them until she came to KSU, but respects them as tools. She has always supported the Second Amendment.

“I have 100 percent always believed that our Second Amendment protects all of the other (rights) we have,” Bennett said.

She cited David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting and gun control activist, as an inspiration.

“As soon as he came into the spotlight and started organizing young people to march in the streets and demand gun control and lie about gun rights and gun owners, I decided that I wanted to be the opposite of that,” Bennett said.

What’s Bennett up to now?

Bennett is returning to her alma mater on Sept. 29 to host an open-carry walk. It will be the second time she’s hosted an event like this, with the last one occurring in April of 2018.

Bennett believes that she is in a “political minority” in her generation and on college campuses when it comes to her opinions on gun laws. The goal of the walk is to change students opinions in favor of less gun control at the hands the government, Bennett said.

To pay for the event’s security costs Bennett started a GoFundMe page, which surpassed its $3,000 goal with a total of $3,390 before the campaign was removed by GoFundMe. Bennett asserts that “leftist” groups such as Black Lives Matter Cleveland and Great Lakes antifa flagged her campaign, claiming that the event is going to be a white supremacist rally under the guise of a Second Amendment rally.

“Because they don’t like my message, they went and lied about me to GoFundMe and they have financially burdened the students at Kent State who support this message. It’s just disgusting what they did,” Bennett said.

Black Lives Matter Cleveland’s Facebook page has a post from Sept. 5 calling for its members to report Bennett’s GoFundMe due to, Joey Gibson, a speaker scheduled to be at the walk, who they say “regularly collaborates with neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and other fascists at his rallies.”

GoFundMe refunded money to those who donated to Bennett’s campaign and she began a new campaign; in two days she raised back the money she lost.

What’s next for Bennett?

For the time being, Bennett works at a gun store in Cuyahoga Falls called Pro Armament Co. and makes videos for her boyfriend’s libertarian activist website Liberty Hangout, while she waits for her upcoming open-carry walk. She has future plans of going on a speaking tour to various universities.

“I was just thrown into this,” Bennett said. “I am not backed by any major organization or company, so everything I do is me.”

Bennett thought that her time in the spotlight would be a ‘15 minutes of fame,’ but she was incorrect. She said she hopes to continue to inspire conservatives and libertarians to stand up for themselves on college campuses and wishes to help campus carry become a widely adopted policy.

“It was never my intention to become as viral as I did, but I’m glad that it happened,” Bennett said.

Editor’s Note: After publication of this article, it was brought to The New Political’s attention that Kaitlin Bennett has publicly used the term “snowflake” in the past to describe her political opponents. We apologize for this oversight.

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  1. gg

    September 24, 2018 at 6:23 PM

    to be pedantic about kaitlin not saying “snowflake”, i did find a couple of tweets from June where k said it:

    “It’s a towel, snowflake.” https://twitter.com/KaitMarieox/status/1008098213507805184

    “Weird how liberal snowflakes are more triggered by my American flag TOWEL than any right-wingers are when these same liberals disrespect actual American flags.” https://twitter.com/KaitMarieox/status/1007454485793398786


  2. Michael

    September 24, 2018 at 8:34 PM

    I am amazed at how ignorant Kaitlin is about the University she graduated from and its students. Gun control is a combination of emotion and logic whereas people like Kaitlin who advocate no control on guns have two overriding emotions, fear and paranoia and absolutely no logic at all when it comes solving our to our gun crisis. Their solution for gun violence more guns. Sorta like the solution for disease is less hygiene or the solution for robbery is leaving all doors unlocked.
    Kaitlin and her ilk even proffered the insane scenario that if students on May 4, 1970 had guns the state would have stepped down. This from a group of students headed by a her and reflecting her total lack of knowledge about May, 1970 after 4 plus years as Kent State Student. Unbelievable.
    Kaitlin is indeed working for a national organization of radical right wing libertarians who welcome working with hate groups such as Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys. National hate monger Joey Gibson who routinely brings violence wherever he goes has been invited as well as a representative of InfoWars who will represent conspiracy nuts and haters of all shades of right wing lunacy. She and Liberty Hangout, her right wing minders are frauds and allow their organization to be used to recruit young millennials in the alt/right hate movement. She is not innocent and not sincere.


  3. Infidel762X51

    September 25, 2018 at 1:50 PM

    Anyone making derogatory remarks about her looks must be blind.


  4. Erik

    September 26, 2018 at 12:51 PM

    *sigh* Once again uninformed writing. She was carrying an AR-10. Why do people who know nothing about weapons and armory write about them? It gets old.


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