A 22-year-old University of Tennessee student incorporated her political beliefs into her graduation photographs.
Chattanooga, TN – A 22-year-old college student received both praise and condemnation after she posted a photo of herself carrying her .380 Smith & Wesson in the waistband of her pants while she donned a “Women for Trump” t-shirt.
“I don’t take normal college graduation photos,” University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Brenna Spencer wrote in the photo caption, which she posted to Twitter on Saturday.
She said that the photo exemplified her passion for conservative politics, as well as her stance with regards to protection of the Second Amendment.
“The Second Amendment has been under attack — especially on college campuses,” Spencer told FOX News on Wednesday. “So I think it’s really important to empower people to show that you should be allowed to protect yourself. Your rights don’t stop at a college campus.”
The image has received mixed reviews, and had over 10,000 retweets and comments, as well as nearly 80,000 likes, by Tuesday afternoon.
“I did think that it would get a little attention but not to this degree,” Spencer told ABC News. “It was really, really surprising to see the amount of hate that I got.”
On Monday, Spencer spoke on “The Morning Blaze,” and said she was “absolutely” a supporter of the Second Amendment.
I don’t take normal college graduation photos… pic.twitter.com/eI1NvLFYHs
— Brenna Spencer (@BrennaSpencer) April 7, 2018
“At first, I actually really only got really good comments, because a lot of my followers were…more conservative…and then the left, I guess, just started taking over.”
Spencer said that some commenters suggested that she commit suicide, while others referred to her as “a stupid white girl.”
Some alleged that Spencer was an example of “white privilege,” she said.
“They said that because I was a white fmale, that it was no wonder that people were congratulating me, but if it was like, an African American female, it would have been the other way around,” Spencer explained.
Spencer said she went so far as to tag her female African American friends “who carry guns” in the posts, and that the comments regarding white privilege eventually stopped.
Campus carry activist and Empowered CEO Antonia Okafor was quick to prove naysayers wrong, and issued a tweet of her own on Tuesday.
— Antonia Okafor (@antonia_okafor) April 10, 2018
“You already know how much I love this!” Spencer tweeted in response to Okafor’s photo.
“It’s really, really important to empower the tens of millions of … gun-owning women and let them know that they have a voice,” Spencer told FOX News. “It’s really, really important to stand up for what you believe in. It’s important to voice your opinions.”
Spencer was also criticized for failing to carry the weapon in a holster, but assured commenters that she was wearing a belly band that could not be seen in the image.
“Plus, I pulled my gun out a little more for the photo!” she tweeted.
“I try to stay off the comments, to be honest,” Spencer told ABC News. “I just know that I got a lot of hate.”
The image was taken outside of Chattanooga’s Hunter Museum of American Art, where carrying weapons was prohibited, some Twitter users pointed out.
Spencer said she never entered the building with her firearm.
“I know the Tennessee state gun codes,” she assured ABC News. “I carry everywhere that I’m allowed to carry.”
Spencer, a communications major who minored in political science, will graduate in May.