When Bigotry Is Okay

In a recent article, More Guns, More Problems, the author considers getting a concealed carry permit in her new home state, and consults some “anti-gunners” to help her decide.

This idea is just wrong, said Joshua Horwitz, the executive director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Horwitz was quick to point out that Naveed Afzal Haq, the man who shot up a Jewish community center in Seattle last month, had a concealed carry permit.“I think the idea that these people [legal concealed carriers] don’t do any damage is wrong,” said Horwitz. “More guns equal less crime is just false.”[1] 

Again, anti-gun “experts” make broad claims with no supporting data. But something darker lurks behind Horwitz’s words. Change one word in his comment and we have a neo-Nazi: “I think the idea that Jewish people don’t do any damage is wrong.” How quickly would the Anti-Defamation League initiate a–completely justified–campaign to demand an apology from Mr. Horwitz? But with gun owners, it’s okay to smear with a broad brush.And to Lie, Too?Horwitz says the shooter had a concealed carry permit. Here are some published facts about Mr. Haq:

Haq’s parents told [their attorney] after the shooting that their son had obtained a handgun several years ago and that they had taken it away.Haq was supposed to be in court on Thursday [the day before the shooting] to stand trial on a lewd-conduct charge stemming from allegations that he exposed himself to young women at a Kennewick mall in March.Haq had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago and was taking several powerful medications, including lithium and Depakote. Haq was often depressed, couldn’t hold a job and spent a lot of time sleeping…[2] 

An Internet search of Haq revealed no mention of a concealed carry permit. Washington state law requires a review of all pertinent background, including mental health records:

A signed application for a concealed pistol license shall constitute a waiver of confidentiality and written request that the department of social and health services, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release information relevant to the applicant's eligibility for a concealed pistol license to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.[3]  

Even if Haq had a permit, it would not have been valid at the time of the shooting. The sexual crime allegation appears to be grounds under Washington State law to suspend a concealed pistol license.[4] There is more evidence that Haq had no permit:

The day before the shootings, Haq picked up .40-caliber and .45-caliber semiautomatic handguns from two different stores in the Seattle area after honoring the waiting period for purchasing weapons…[5] 

Washington State law requires a five-day waiting period for all handgun purchases. During this waiting period, Haq passed federal and local law enforcement background checks to legally purchase two handguns. It also implies that Haq had no permit, as RTC licensees in Washington are not required to undergo waiting periods.[6]

Once he arrived at the Jewish center – a heavily fortified building with bulletproof windows and security cameras – Haq hid behind a plant outside one of the center’s locked doors. When a young girl approached, he grabbed her and forced her to take him inside…[7]

Gun banners tell us we should trust the government to protect us from criminals. Horwitz picked an interesting poster boy for his agenda: A socially-awkward man with a history of mental illness and pending court appearance for a sex crime, premeditates a murderous rampage for at least five days and kidnaps a young girl in order to force his way into a secured building. Yes, Mr. Horwitz: your typical concealed carry permittee, right? Or are you implying that the government is so completely incompetent that they cannot determine who should be allowed to own firearms, much less a carry permit? Then you again make a poor case for entrusting the government with our personal security.If It Saves a Life…

One anti-gun advocate remembers when a man driving on I-66 committed suicide while on the phone with his girlfriend. The man had a concealed-carry permit, and reached for his gun in a rash decision that ended his life.That man might still be alive today if he didn’t have a concealed-carry permit and gun, said Jim Sollo, executive director of Virginians Against Handgun Violence. Instead, he had the opportunity to act on an impulse that might have later faded. The same impulse is what Sollo said makes concealed-carry permits so dangerous. “People sometimes make snap decisions,” said Sollo. “The gun there can make that confrontation deadly.”[8] 

“He had the opportunity to act on an impulse” while driving a car. In 2003, 104 people used a motor vehicle to commit suicide.[9] By Sollo’s logic, we should ban cars, because 104 people “might” have been saved. Conversely, when was the last time you read a story of somebody using a car to stop violent crime? Sollo’s own criteria prove the value of concealed carry:

DURHAM [NC] – On Wednesday evening, David Baum was standing next to his car in the parking lot of David Lineberry’s jewelry store, talking on his cell phone, when he saw two men approaching. “The one in front, the bigger one,” remembers David Baum, “had a gun, already out.”Baum says Rogers [alleged attacker] demanded his wallet, and when Rogers saw it did not have any cash in it, Rogers threatened him.Baum recalls, “He said, ‘Aw, cuz,’ he goes, ‘I’m going to have to kill you.’”Meanwhile, David Lineberry was sitting in his office. He looked out the window and saw what was happening.Lineberry fired three shots at the suspect, who he says had pointed his gun at him. Baum credits Lineberry for saving his life. “There was no doubt in my mind this was it. If [David] hadn’t come out, that was it.”[10]

Mr. Sollo, this gun made the confrontation not deadly. Would you have disparaged Mr. Lineberry for making his “snap decision” had it been you in the parking lot?Well-Meaning Ignorance Will Not Save Your LifeIt is unfortunate that after doing her research, the author decides her physical capabilities are sufficient for self-defense:

It just seems unnecessary to bring a gun into work, a mall, a restaurant or any other public place. I have fists, a mean kick and a pretty loud screaming voice if I ever need to defend myself, so that’s what I’m sticking with.[11]

Seattle’s tragedy indicates greater necessity for bringing a gun to work, as a concealed carry licensee on the premises could have stopped the attack. Had the author done some scholarly research, she would realize a violent attacker isn’t going to:

1.      Let her scream;2.      Leave her physical space and capacity to punch or kick; or3.      Let her disable him.

One study found women who used a gun or knife to resist rape dramatically decreased the probability of its completion.[12] Another study found that the most effective method for lowering rape completion rates was for the victim to resist with a weapon,[13] and found that “unarmed forceful resistance or threatening or arguing with the offender” could result in additional injury.[14] The author’s decision to not carry and rely on her physical abilities is likely placing her in greater danger, should she be attacked.ConclusionThis case highlights the struggle women go through over their right to carry a firearm for self-defense. Her article would have been more aptly entitled More Guns, More Responsibility. It encapsulates the gun controllers’ response to separating women not just from firearms, but from a woman’s right to choose how she pursues her life and happiness, free from constraints placed upon her by those who choose not to support civil society. About the AuthorHoward Nemerov publishes with ChronWatch, News Busters and other sites, and is a frequent guest on NRA News. He can be reached at HNemerov [at sign] Netvista.net.Endnotes[1] Lauren Glendenning, More Guns, More Problems? Fairfax Connection, August 23, 2006. http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=70302&paper=63&cat=104[2] Sara Jean Green, Gunman’s mother had tried to talk him out of Seattle trip, Seattle Times, July 31, 2006. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=naveedhaq31m&date=20060731&source=st [3] Washington State Legislature, RCW 9.41.070: Concealed pistol license — Application — Fee — Renewal. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.070 [4] Ibid. [5] Suspect ticketed before Jewish center shootings, CNN, Jul 29, 2006. http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/07/29/seattle.shooting/index.html [6] Washington State Department of Licensing, Firearms Purchase/Delivery Requirements, Copyright 2006. http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/firearms/firchart.html [7] Suspect ticketed before Jewish center shootings, CNN, Jul 29, 2006.  [8] Lauren Glendenning, More Guns, More Problems? Fairfax Connection, August 23, 2006.[9] WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2003, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control. http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html [10] Ann Forte, Durham store owner breaks up robbery to save friend, News 14 Carolina, July 13, 2006. http://rdu.news14.com/content/your_news/durhamchapel_hill/?SecID=42&ArID=87480[11] Lauren Glendenning, More Guns, More Problems? Fairfax Connection, August 23, 2006.[12] Determinants of Completing Rape and Assault, Lizotte, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1986, page 214.[13] Kleck and Sayles, Rape and Resistance, Social Problems, Vol. 37, No. 2, May 1990, page 154.[14] Ibid, page 157.