Incidents Indicate Scrutiny of Guns in Public Places Is Desperately Needed

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Peter Hamm,
Communications Director
Doug Pennington,
Assistant Director: 202-898-0792.

Incidents Indicate Scrutiny of Guns in Public Places Is Desperately Needed

WASHINGTON - Three incidents in two weeks involving people carrying guns in public
places has left three people dead, three injured, and a family
terrified. 

On May 9, an
open carry advocate shot two men
, one fatally, on a Milwaukee
street.  In Fruitport Township, Michigan, a concealed carry permit holder pointed his gun and
threatened a fellow parent
at a kids' soccer game on May 15.  And on
May 20, a disgruntled Ohio man and his 16-year-old son opened
fired with AK-47 assault rifles
during a traffic stop, in West
Memphis, Arkansas.  Two police officers died, and the father and son
were later killed in a shootout that left two other police officers
injured. 

"These incidents show the costs, in death, injury, and
fear, of allowing loaded guns in public places," said Paul Helmke,
President of the Brady
Campaign
.  "The gun lobby often says that since there isn't blood
running in the streets, carrying guns in public places is safe.  My
question is: how much blood needs to be shed for the gun lobby to care? 
How much more death and suffering, as a country, do we tolerate?"

Legislation
to ban the open carrying of handguns in public is currently being
considered by the California State Legislature.  The legislation, AB
1934, authored by Assembly Member Lori Saldaña (D-San Diego) and
supported by the California Brady Campaign Chapters, the California
Police Chiefs Association
and Peace Officers Research Association of California
(PORAC), is a reaction to open carry advocates, like the Milwaukee man
in the May 9th incident, flouting their guns in parks, restaurants, and
Starbucks where families gather.

The Brady Center to Prevent
Gun Violence
recently released the results of a poll that
found a majority of the public do not feel safe with guns in public
places.  The poll was conducted April 26-28 by Lake Research Partners. 
Among the findings:

  • Fifty-two percent oppose allowing people
    in general, not just those connected to law enforcement, to carry loaded
    guns openly in public;
  • Fifty percent of voters feel less safe
    knowing that people not connected to law enforcement can carry guns in
    public, while 38 percent feel more safe.
  • A majority - 51
    percent of those polled - said they were less likely to vote for a
    candidate who makes it easier for people to carry loaded guns in public,
    compared to 27 percent who were more likely to support such a
    candidate. Fully 63 percent of women said they were less likely to vote
    for a candidate who makes it easier to carry guns in public.
  • When it comes to concealed weapons, 57 percent of respondents said they
    felt less safe knowing people can carry loaded, concealed guns in
    public. Fully 39 percent of respondents said they felt much less safe
    knowing that people may be carrying concealed, loaded weapons.
  • Women across all groups oppose open carry broadly - 76 percent of women
    of color, 68 percent of urban women and older women, 59 percent of
    suburban women 55 percent of younger women and a majority of rural
    women.

In its report Law
Enforcement and Private Citizens Killed by Concealed Handgun Permit
Holders
, the Violence
Policy Center
found that in a two-year period, from May 2007 to
April 2009, concealed carry permit holders killed more than 50 people,
including seven law enforcement officers. 

###

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its legislative and grassroots affiliate, the Brady Campaign and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence.

We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.

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