CHATTANOOGA, TN – A Tennessee college senior is sticking to her guns after posting a graduation photo in which she stares wistfully off-camera while lifting her “Women for Trump” t-shirt to expose a firearm in her waistband.
Despite receiving what she called a surprising “amount of hate” on social media, Brenna Spencer, 22, says she has no regrets.
“I know the Tennessee state gun codes …. I carry everywhere that I’m allowed to carry,” the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga student said in an interview with ABC News.
On Twitter, where Spencer’s profile states that “political correctness offends me,” she posted the illustrative photo with the caption: “I don’t take normal college graduation photos . . .”
I don’t take normal college graduation photos… pic.twitter.com/eI1NvLFYHs
— Brenna Spencer (@BrennaSpencer) April 7, 2018
The senior at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, wanted the photo to “show who I am as a person,” she said.
The post quickly went viral, with some complimenting the shoot and others calling it reckless.
The public response has surprised her, Spencer said. “I did think that it would get a little attention but not to this degree,” she said. “It was really, really surprising to see the amount of hate that I got.”
One woman, Victoria Silva, alerted the police in an apparent attempt to have Spencer arrested.
@ChattanoogaPD would you like to give us your two cents? Per the thread, this young female is taking a photo w/ a firearm, in an area w/ a posted “no-weapons” policy. This showboating behavior is irresponsible, reckless, & potentially dangerous.
A concerned citizen ?
— Victoria Silva (@Victoria__Silva) April 9, 2018
“@ChattanoogaPD would you like to give us your two cents?” Silva tweeted. “Per the thread, this young female is taking a photo w/ a firearm, in an area w/ a posted “no-weapons” policy. This showboating behavior is irresponsible, reckless, & potentially dangerous.”
The photo was reportedly taken outside the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, which bans firearms inside.
However, others were supportive and offered tips to the soon-to-be-grad.
“Good job supporting second amendment, but you should have a proper holster that holds the weapon securely and fully protects the trigger guard,” a Twitter user wrote in response to the photo.
I do! I have a belly band on it’s just not seen in the photo!
— Brenna Spencer (@BrennaSpencer) April 8, 2018
Spencer responded promptly: “I do! I have a belly band on it’s just not seen in the photo! . . . Plus I pulled my gun out a little more for the photo. Thank you though!”
The college senior, who also works as a field representative for the conservative nonprofit Turning Point, said she owns several handguns in addition to the one featured, which she has owned for about six months.
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The young woman has taken a stand in the youth-driven gun control debate that has swarmed social media. Students have primarily participated in anti-gun protests, but there have been pro-Second Amendment rallies in response.
There is little doubt that her t-shirt supporting the president was as offensive as the firearm on display to those who abhor Trump.
The Chattanooga Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“I know the Tennessee state gun codes,” Spencer, who is set to graduate in May with a major in communications and a minor in political science, said.
In addition to studies in her major, apparently marketing is another topic she learned in school.