Kaitlin Bennett
Woman with dark blonde curly hair
Bennett at University of Akron, 2020
Born
Kaitlin Marie Bennett

(1995-10-15) October 15, 1995 (age 27)
EducationKent State University (BS)
Known forOpen carrying an AR-10 at Kent State the day after her graduation
Spouse
Justin Moldow
(m. 2020)
Children1

Kaitlin Marie Bennett (born October 15, 1995), also known as the Kent State Gun Girl, is an American gun rights activist and conservative social media personality. She received media attention in 2018 for open-carrying an AR-10 rifle at Kent State University after graduating.

Bennett and her husband run Liberty Hangout. Initially described as a libertarian media outlet, the website later became more politically conservative.

Early life

Bennett was the president of the Kent State chapter of Turning Point USA; however, after a protest against campus safe spaces backfired in October 2017, she resigned.[1][2][3] In May 2018, Bennett graduated with a degree in biology from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.[4]

Media attention

In 2018, Bennett posed for her graduation photo from the university holding an AR-10 long gun in front of the university sign.[5] She stated that as a student at Kent State, she should have been able to open-carry for self-defense, citing the 1970 Kent State shootings where Ohio National Guardsmen fired on unarmed students protesting the U.S. bombing of Cambodia.[4] As social media users mainly associated Bennett with her gun rights activism, many media publications referenced her "Gun Girl" nickname.[6][7][8]

Later in 2018, Bennett organized an open-carry rally at the college. The university released a statement that a cease and desist order had been issued against advertising the event, as Bennett had not attempted to register it with the university.[9] Following her initial protest of Kent State, Bennett became a correspondent for InfoWars.[10] Due to her affiliation with the extremist site, she was excluded from a campaign event for Bernie Sanders.[11] She returned to the university in November of that year to host a discussion on gun rights.[12]

In January 2020, clips surfaced online of her 2019 interviews with University of Kentucky students. Originally posted by Liberty Hangout with the title "College Students Have No Morals", the videos show Bennett questioning the students on the issue of resources for transgender people in bathrooms. The clips quickly became popular on social media, with users entertained by the dichotomy between Bennett and the interviewees' reactions to the topic.[13] One student seen in the interviews used the online attention to raise money for charity.[14][15]

In February 2020, Bennett went to Ohio University to ask trivia questions for President's Day, but was confronted by a large crowd of college students opposing her.[16][17][18] Chants of "where's your diaper?"[19] and "shit your pants”[20] were heard in reference to an unsubstantiated rumor that she defecated in her pants while attending a Kent State fraternity party while in school.[21][22] Drinks and other objects, including toilet paper, were hurled at her.[23] Later in October, Bennett was similarly ridiculed when visiting the University of Central Florida.[24][25]

Criticism continued in 2020 when it was revealed that the website associated with Bennet, Liberty Hangout, made comments in 2016 denying the Holocaust on Twitter. The tweet and the anti-Semitic responses from followers had long been deleted.[26][27]

Personal life

Bennett became engaged in 2019 to Justin Moldow, the founder of Liberty Hangout.[26][28] She announced her conversion to Christianity on the site, and the couple later married in a March 2020 Catholic ceremony.[29] On April 6, 2022, she announced the birth of their first child on Twitter.

References

  1. ^ Shugerman, Emily (February 26, 2018). "How a student in a diaper caused an eruption in one of America's biggest conservative youth organisations". The Independent. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  2. ^ Barnes, Luke (February 4, 2019). "Turning Point USA launches British chapter to rocky reception". ThinkProgress. Archived from the original on February 8, 2019. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Kelley, Brendan Joel (February 16, 2018). "Turning Point USA's blooming romance with the alt-right". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Cummings, William (May 17, 2018). "Kent State graduate celebrates by strolling campus with her AR-10". usatoday.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2019.(Birth year of 1996 based on age 22 in 2018)
  5. ^ Cummings, William. "Kent State graduate celebrates by strolling campus with her AR-10". USA TODAY. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  6. ^ Knowles, Hannah (February 18, 2020). "A conservative gun rights activist was tailed off campus by a swarm of mocking protesters". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  7. ^ Madani, Doha (February 18, 2020). "'Gun Girl' Kaitlin Bennett's appearance on Ohio University campus sparks protests". NBC News. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Miller, Ryan W. (February 19, 2020). "Kent State 'gun girl' vows return to Ohio University with 'army of gun owners' after protest". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  9. ^ Kent State University orders grad Kaitlin Bennett to cancel open-carry rally, Cincinnati Enquirer
  10. ^ Wade, Peter (March 30, 2019). "Alex Jones Claims 'Psychosis' Made Him Believe Sandy Hook Was a Hoax". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 22, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  11. ^ Stone, Matt (April 16, 2019). "Kaitlin Bennett reacts to being kicked out of Bernie Sanders rally". wfmj. Archived from the original on July 1, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  12. ^ Kaitlin Bennett returns to campus, hosts gun rights discussion Archived June 1, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, KentWired.com
  13. ^ "This Weird Gun Advocate Keeps Failing At Interviews And Everyone Is Laughing At Her". Junkee. January 15, 2020. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  14. ^ Tobin, Ben. "'That's not my business': UK student shuts down 'gun girl' on gender neutral bathrooms". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  15. ^ Musgrave, Beth (January 13, 2020). "UK student turns viral interview with 'gun girl' into fundraising push". Lexington Herald Leader. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020.
  16. ^ Sandler, Rachel. "Who Is Kaitlin Bennett, The Conservative Gun Rights Activist Sparking Protests On College Campuses?". Forbes. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  17. ^ Knowles, Hannah. "A conservative gun rights activist was tailed off campus by a swarm of mocking protesters". Washington Post. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Rodriguez, Adrianna. "Kent State 'gun girl' who walked campus with AR confronted by protesters at Ohio University". USA TODAY. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  19. ^ Graham, Ruth (February 19, 2020). "How Kaitlin Bennett Became a Bona Fide Conservative Media Star". Slate. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  20. ^ Dickson, EJ (February 18, 2020). "What Really Happened at Ohio University When Kaitlin Bennett Showed Up?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  21. ^ Taylor, Deb (January 2, 2021). "Did "Gun Girl" Kaitlin Bennett Really Poop Her Pants?". Suggest. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  22. ^ michelle (January 21, 2020). "Did Kaitlin Bennett Poop Her Pants? Rumors Are Swirling About the "Kent State Gun Girl"". Distractify. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  23. ^ "'Gun Girl' Kaitlin Bennett's appearance on Ohio University campus sparks protests". NBC News. February 18, 2020. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  24. ^ Rolli, Bryan (October 9, 2020). "Kaitlin Bennett bombarded with 'sh*t your pants' chant on college campus". The Daily Dot. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  25. ^ "Kaitlin Bennett, 'Kent State gun girl,' flees protesters at University of Central Florida". The Washington Times. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  26. ^ a b "Who Is Kaitlin Bennett, And Why Did Her 'Liberty Hangout' Promote Holocaust Denial?". Snopes. February 24, 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  27. ^ Zoellner, Danielle (April 17, 2020). "'Gun Girl' Kaitlin Bennett accused of making anti-Semitic statements in leaked messages". The Independent. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  28. ^ "Gun activist Kaitlin Bennett has a post-engagement message to haters: 'The Left is so sick'". www.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on January 11, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  29. ^ "Yes, Kent State Gun Girl Kaitlin Bennett Is a Married Woman". Distractify. April 7, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.

External links