Monday, January 28, 2013

Mass Shootings by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders in 2009
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The gun lobby frequently claims that concealed carry permit holders are the most law-abiding citizens in the Unites States. This might be true in many cases, but it has become apparent that the screening process in most states does little or nothing to stop dangerous individuals from obtaining permits to carry concealed handguns.

There were six confirmed mass shootings by concealed handgun permit holders in 2009 (mass shootings are shootings that involve three or more deaths):

1) Frank Garcia
On Valentine’s Day, 35 year-old Frank Garcia drove into the parking lot of the Lakeside Memorial Hospital parking lot in Brockport, New York, at approximately 5:00 AM. Just four days earlier, he had been fired from his nursing position at the hospital. Garcia spotted Mary Silliman, 23, a former co-worker who was on a break, and physically attacked her. Two individuals who were driving by the hospital at that moment, Randal Norman and Audra Dillion, saw Garcia beating Silliman and stopped to help. When they got out of their car, Garcia opened fire with a .40-caliber Glock pistol, killing Norman and Silliman. Dillion was also shot, but survived her injuries. Garcia then drove 50 miles to Canandaigua, New York, where he went to the home of another former co-worker. There, he shot Kimberly Glatz and her husband Christopher execution-style in front of their 14 year-old daughter and 13 year-old son.

Garcia possessed a permit to carry a concealed handgun in New York. State officials denied his request for a permit three times before granting him one in 2007.

2) Michael McClendon
On March 10, 28 year-old Michael McLendon began a shooting rampage at the house in Coffee County, Alabama, where he lived with his mother. First, he shot and killed her and her four dogs, then laid them around the living room couch, which he soaked with paint thinner and lit on fire. McLendon then got into his car wearing a vest loaded with ammunition and armed with a .38 caliber handgun, a shotgun, and two assault rifles (an SKS and a Bushmaster). He drove to another house where he had lived with his uncle and aunt, James and Phyllis White. The two were sitting on the porch with their daughter, Tracy M. Wise, 34, her son, Dean, 15, and a family that lived across the street: Andrea Myers, 31 (the wife of a local sheriff’s deputy), and her two children, 4-month old Ella and 18-month old Corrine. McLendon’s great aunt, Virginia White, 74, was in a trailer parked in the White’s yard. McLendon exited his vehicle and opened fire on them all, killing everyone but Phyllis White and Ella Myers.

McClendon then killed another man, James Starling, 24, on a nearby street, shooting him in the back as he tried to run away. Rounding the corner, he shot and killed Sonya Smith, 43, outside a convenience store. Two men, Jeffrey Nelson, 50, and Greg McCullough, 49, were shot and injured at the store. McLendon continued on to the town of Geneva with the police were in pursuit. Still spraying fire, he killed motorist Bruce Malloy, 51. The chase ended at Reliable Products, a metals plant where McClendon had once worked. There he engaged in a shootout with law enforcement officers before entering the business, turning a gun on himself, and taking his own life.

During the entire rampage, which lasted approximately 50 minutes, McLendon fired more than 200 rounds, killed 10 innocent people, and wounded six.

McLendon held a permit to carry a concealed handgun which had been issued by the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department.

3) Richard Poplawski
On April 4, 23 year-old Richard Poplawski shot and killed three police officers who were responding to a 911 call at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Poplawski, wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a shotgun and an AK-47-style assault rifle, ambushed two officers who entered his house. He then managed to hold off police and SWAT team members who responded to the scene for four hours, firing approximately 100 rounds in the process. Poplawski has been charged with three counts of criminal homicide and nine counts of attempted homicide, including the wounding of a policeman who was trying to assist a fallen officer.

POPLAWSKIPoplawski is a White Supremacist with a long and disturbing history of violent behavior. He frequently visited, and posted messages at, the Neo-Nazi website Poplawski’s best friend, Edward Perkovic, stated that he “didn't like the Zionists controlling the media and controlling, you know, our freedom of speech.” On November 1, 2008, Poplawski wrote on Stormfront: “A revolutionary is always regarded as a nutcase at first, their ideas dismissed as fantasy ... If a total collapse is what it takes to wake our brethren and guarantee future generations of white children walk this continent, if that is what it takes to restore our freedoms and recapture our land: let it begin this very second and not a moment later.”

Perkovic also reported that Poplawski possessed a permit to carry a concealed handgun in the state of Pennsylvania. "I've seen it. He showed it to me. He said, 'Eddie, get one of these,'" remembers Perkovic. Poplawski also posted on the Pennsylvania Firearm Owners website under the username “RWhiteman” and in one thread complained that the state of Maryland did not recognize his concealed carry permit when he traveled there.

4) George Sodini
On August 4, George Sodini , 48, walked into the LA Fitness Center in Collier, Pennsylvania, wearing workout gear. In his pocket was a .32 semiautomatic handgun. He carried a duffel bag with three more handguns: two 9mm semiautomatic pistols with 30-round clips and a .45 caliber revolver. All told, he was carrying 150 rounds of ammunition. Sodini entered an exercise room where an aerobics class was taking place, turned off the lights, and opened fire, emptying one of the 9mm pistols. He then drew the second 9mm pistol and continued firing. In his last act, Sodini drew the .45 revolver and shot himself in the head. When the smoke cleared, at least 36 rounds had been fired and three women lay dead. Nine other women were wounded in the shooting.

Within minutes of the tragedy becoming national news, a journal that Sodini had posted online was discovered. In it, Sodini provided his name, date of birth, and hometown—and in a series of entries dating back to November 2008 detailed his plans to commit mass murder.

Sodini held a permit to carry a concealed handgun in the state of Pennsylvania.

5) Nidal Malik Hasan
On November 5, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a licensed Army psychiatrist, walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center on Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas. After yelling “Allahu akbar,” Hasan, 39, opened fired with a FN Herstal Five-seveN semiautomatic handgun, killing 13 people (12 of them Soldiers) and wounding 34 others before he was shot by military police. Hasan sustained multiple injuries but survived. He will face 13 charges of premeditated murder in a military court. The shooting ranks as the nation's worst ever on a military installation.

Hasan had openly opposed America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and espoused extremist Islamic views. He was being monitored by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force because of emails he had exchanged with the radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki. The FBI was also investigating whether he was behind violent anti-American comments left on a website under the screen name of "NidalHasan." On two separate occasions, officials from Walter Reed and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences met and expressed concern about Hasan's behavior, which fellow students and faculty had described as "disconnected, aloof, paranoid, belligerent and schizoid."

In March 1996, Hasan obtained a concealed handgun permit in Roanoke County, Virginia, where he lived at the time. The permit was renewed in February 1998. The application for his original permit can be viewed here.

6) Paul Michael MerhigeOn Thanksgiving Day, Paul Michael Merhige, 35, sat through three hours of dinner and sing-a-longs with his family in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before opening fire with a handgun. He shot six family members and killed four:  his twin sisters, one of whom was pregnant; a 79 year-old aunt; and his six year-old cousin, Makalya Sitton, who was shot as she lay in bed.  As he fired, witnesses heard Merhige say, "I have been waiting 20 years for this."

Merhige bought three guns—two pistols and a semiautomatic rifle—at a South Florida gun shop the day before the shooting. The owner of the shop reported that Merhige had a concealed handgun permit.

In 2006, Merhige's sister Carla (who was killed in the shooting) requested a restraining order against him after he threatened to kill her and himself. She eventually withdrew the request. The U.S. Marshal's Service released a psychological profile of Merhige that indicates he has a history of mental illness and has taken the following medications: Seroquel, an antipsychotic prescribed for bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia; Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication; and Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat angina and hypertension. Merhige's father said his son once attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

Merhige escaped detection by law enforcement authorities after the murders and is currently a fugitive from justice. He faces four counts of first degree murder and two of attempted murder.

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