Brenna Spencer, who owns several guns and carries everywhere she is allowed to carry, set off a social media firestorm when she tweeted a picture of herself wearing a “Women for Trump” t-shirt she’d lifted to highlight the gun tucked into the waistband of her pants. She captioned the photo with “I don’t take normal graduation photos,” and while the post has been liked over 80,000 times and she has received a lot of positive comments on Twitter, the college student has been the recipient of vitriol that surprised her. The 22-year-old expected the picture to draw attention, but she told ABC that she was really surprised at the amount of hate she received from the post.
As the picture began trending on Facebook, the comments became nasty with people saying Spencer isn’t “the sharpest knife in the drawer” and questioning her voting choices. Even more called her “white trash” and said she was a coward, adding that Spencer probably had been involved in abusive relationships. Several people claimed that she broke the law because of where the picture was taken. One Twitter user sent a tweet to the Chattanooga Police Department because the college student took the picture outside the Hunter Museum of American Art which has a “no-weapons” policy. The Twitter user felt Spencer’s behavior was “irresponsible, reckless, and potentially dangerous.” The user asked the police department to weigh in on Spencer’s actions.
Hunter Museum told ABC that they have a no-guns policy inside or outside the museum and that Spencer’s photo “doesn’t appear to comply with the policy.” However, News Channel 9 investigated, and the signs were not up to code, and therefore, they were unenforceable. Hunter Museum has since updated the signs to comply with code.
While some social media users did offer their support for Spencer’s decision to carry a gun as well as her conservative views, many more took the personal attack route, even asking if her parents were first cousins and saying they were praying she would shoot herself in the genitals so she wouldn’t breed. Spencer did not respond to the hateful comments, and that, too, earned her disfavor with Twitter users who said she was only responding to the positive comments.
Spencer, a senior at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, had a friend take the photo so she could show who she was as a person. Defending her actions, she said she is aware of the Tennessee state gun codes and that the picture was taken outside the Hunter Museum of American Art. She did not enter the building or go through security so she did not break any laws. Set to graduate in May, Spencer works as a field representative for the conservative nonprofit Turning Point.