Saturday, January 05, 2008

With more people carrying guns, self-defense killings on increase

"The number of justifiable homicides in Memphis jumped from 11 in 2006 to 32 in 2007.

No one is sure why, but one man has a theory.

"The thugs have started running into people who can protect themselves," said Tom Givens, owner and instructor at the firearms training school RangeMaster, 2611 S. Mendenhall in Memphis.

Police detectives and prosecutors don't think it's that simple, and they acknowledge the spike could be a one-time occurrence.

"It's hard to put your finger on it," said police Lt. Joseph Scott. "There are more handgun carry permits, there is more education, but you can't say that's the reason."

More people are getting carry permits and more people know their rights. As many as 35,000 people in Shelby County have carry permits, which means they have had some training on the laws governing self-defense.

But there were more deadly shootings by law enforcement officers last year -- four by Memphis police, including one by an officer assigned to a federal fugitive task force. There was also one by a Shelby County sheriff's deputy and one by a University of Tennessee officer. All were found to be what internal affairs investigators term "good shoots."

Tennessee law gives citizens the right to defend themselves if they have a reasonable and imminent fear of harm from a carjacker, rapist, burglar or other violent assailant. They can also employ deadly force to protect another person..."

So then. More people are carrying guns, and more thugs are dying, but the police aren't sure the two are related?

How's about giving this a try, Lt. Scott; disarm all of your men. I will bet you that fewer criminals will be killed by police, and more police will be killed by criminals. Whomever is more capable of defending his or herself is MOST likely to fight off an assailant.

Mind boggling stuff, eh?

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