The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Communications: (202) 898-0792

Only in America: Infamous School Shooter Almost Permitted to Carry Hidden, Loaded Firearm


Andrew Golden, who helped kill four students and a teacher and wound 10 others at Jonesboro, Arkansas' Westside Middle School in 1998, spent hours this year training on firearms and came close to getting approved for an Arkansas state concealed carry permit.

The permit was denied, police say, because of a fingerprint check - which is not required in applying for a concealed carry permit in some states with lax gun laws.

At a minimum, the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Pennsylvania and West Virginia don't require fingerprint checks from a person applying for a concealed carry permit, Brady records show.

"We don't do enough in this country to keep dangerous people from getting dangerous weapons," said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "A murderer came very close to getting a concealed carry permit. I applaud the Arkansas police for stopping Golden from getting a concealed carry permit. But it raises the alarm that people who are dangerous are getting concealed carry permits and endangering our families and communities."

Golden, who was convicted of murder in the March 1998 assault at the middle school, had his name legally changed by the courts - and his new identity sealed - after leaving prison last year. English teacher Shannon Wright and students Natalie Brooks, 11; Paige Herring, 12; Stephanie Johnson, 12; and Britthney Varner, 11 were killed at Jonesboro, and 10 others were wounded.

Golden applied for the concealed carry permit October 7 under the name Drew Grant, according to published reports.

Brady United formerly known as 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.