This year’s winner of the Miss USA pageant used her platform before her victory on Monday to call for “gun safety” and mandatory training to own a firearm.
Asya Branch, the first winner from Mississippi, told the crowd at Elvis Presley’s Graceland that her personal experience with firearms has been positive but that all gun owners should be required to pass “training and safety courses.”
“As someone who grew up in a home with guns, I learned at an early age how to load, how to fire, and gun safety, and I think that education should be available to everyone,” Branch said. “We should require people to pass training and safety courses before they’re allowed to purchase a gun, and before receiving a permit.”
Branch insisted that she doesn’t want to ban guns and that the Second Amendment is important, but she reiterated the need for “more safety surrounding that.”
“I think it’s important that we not ban guns, because obviously people will find a way to get what they want anyways, but I think it’s our Second Amendment right, and we just need more safety surrounding that.”
Branch delivered her comments during a segment of the competition that asked contestants to speak for 30 seconds on a topic randomly selected from a box. Branch received a card that read “gun laws.”
Branch hasn’t been shy about her upbringing on a Mississippi farm or her support of President Trump. Branch touted her participation in a round table at the White House on criminal justice reform, and she performed the Star-Spangled Banner at a rally for President Trump in Mississippi.
She’s also posted images and video of herself clay shooting from May of last year after winning Miss Mississippi.
Branch’s support of mandatory safety courses for gun ownership hasn’t stopped the corporate media from touting her as a gun-loving Trump supporter. The Daily Beast headline reads, “New Miss USA Asya Branch Loves Guns and Performed at a Trump Rally,” and the Daily Mail’s headline reads, “Asya Branch, 22, is a gun-loving Trump fan.”
Earlier in the contest, Branch called for unity in response to a question about how America could come together after President Trump’s impending defeat.
“I think this is an issue of trust,” she responded. “We’ve lost trust in the systems that seem to keep our country running, from the media to business to our government.”
“And it’s all about restoring that trust and coming together and working together to heal and trust in these systems. If we want to continue to be the greatest nation we’re going to have to set a better example.”