While gun ownership proponents like the National Rifle Association claim increased availability of firearms does not affect the threats of violence by ‘law-abiding’ gun owners, a study of crime records show an increasing number of such crimes involve those who purchased guns legally and had no previous run-ins with the law.
Relaxed gun laws that allow holders of concealed carry permits to carry guns in bars have resulted in upturns of violent acts by gun owners in such establishments.
And the NRA is taking steps to ignore or conceal such statistics from the public and press by slanting their own releases away from such facts.
In addition, highly-publicized public massacres by gun owners are increasingly committed by “law-abiding” citizens with no previous police records. Such massacres include the killing of students at Virginia Tech and the murders of theater attendees in Colorado.
James Holmes, the man charged with the mass killings at a movie theater in Colorado in 2012, was an honor studnet and Ph.D. program candidate in neuroscience at the University of Colorado with no police record and was able to legally purchase the multiple firearms and loads of ammunition used in the murders.
“It does make one wonder if the easy availability of firearms led to such violent acts,” says retired police officer Gary Jenkins, a former NRA member who now speaks out in favor of increased gun control. “We have become a nation awash in firearms.”
An examination of records of criminal activity by Capitol Hill Blue shows an alarming number of gun-related violent acts are committed by so-called “law-abiding” citizens with no previous police records.
In Virginia, where the General Assembly legalized the carrying of concealed weapons by valid permit holders in bars and other food establishments that serve alcohol, police have seen an upturn in acts involving such gun owners.
Although the law prohibits those carrying concealed firearms from drinking, the number of cases involving both consumption of alcohol and use of a firearm have increased by more than 15 percent since the law was enacted.
The NRA is painfully aware of the potential for gun use by those with no previous criminal records. In 2002, the son of American Conservative Union President David Keene used a handgun legally owned to fire shots at the driver of another car in a road rage incident on the George Washington Parkway in Virginia.
The son, David Michael Keene, who did not have a previous police record, was later convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Nine years later, his father was elected President of the NRA.
As NRA President, Keene has ordered others to “play down” statistics that show use of firearms by first time offenders or those without previous criminal records.
“We’re warned that such information is not useful to the NRA image,” says one lobbyist who asked not to be identified.
Capitol Hill Blue has also learned that NRA leaders have issued standing orders to play down crimes involving assault-style weapons at the same time that statistics show a sharp increase in violent acts involving such weapons.
Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue