Broome County Courthouse - Photo by: Aclan (GFDL)
CORRECTION (June 2, 2009): This article contains some inaccuracies. See the discussion thread in the comments below the article for clarification.
A lone gunman killed at least 12 people and himself Friday in an immigration services center in Binghamton, New York, a government official said.
Why did this happen and how could we have prevented it? The truth is that a police force cannot be everywhere all the time and cannot act quickly enough to prevent a shooting like this from occurring. But an alert and armed citizenry can. If someone at the Binghamton civil association building had been carrying a gun today, he or she might have been able to stop the shooter after he fired his first rounds, saving dozens of lives and wounded.
Unfortunately, Broome County and the State of New York have worked actively to prevent this possibility:
American Handgunner - Jan-Feb 2002:
The New York State constitution makes no mention of the right to keep and bear arms. This causes some people- notably, legislators, police, prosecutors and judges- to conclude that, in New York, there is no right to keep and bear arms and that whatever the state law says, goes.
In Broome County, where I reside, unrestricted licenses are almost never issued. The forms provided to you by the sheriff's office contain an application for a "target" license, i.e., a license limited to carrying between your home and the range for target practice.
In Broome County, as in most counties in New York, saving your life or those of your loved ones if violently assaulted outside of the home is not a proper cause to carry a handgun, but enjoying a nice day of shooting at the target range is.
Broome County Resident - March 2005:
[Referring only to a pistol license, not even a carry permit:] In Broome county, you need 4 references who have known you for the past 3 years and also live in Broome county for the background check. If you've lived in Broome county for less than 3 years (eg, me), you need an additional 3 notarized references from people who lived near where you used to live and have known you for three years. And of course, family members do no count. I suppose I could use some friends from college, but I'd have to find 7 people total (unless the second rule preempts the first rule... just how exactly can you get references from the same county who've known you for 3 years if you haven't lived there for that long?). And even though I'm getting a federal DoD background check for work, I still need to get these references.
NRA - 2006:
The media and Attorney General Eric Holder are likely to spin this story as cause for more restrictive gun laws, but it is precisely the opposite that New York State and Broome County residents need in order to keep themselves safe and have the legal means of defending themselves and the innocent lives of those around them from shootings like today's massacre in Binghamton.
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