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December 15, 2008

Forgot Something?

Today’s “Ordinary People” blog features two stories that involve curious episodes of memory loss.

The first story involves a concealed carry permit holder who was shopping at a Wal-Mart in Steubenville, Ohio, on December 3. When he departed the store that day, he had his purchases in hand, but not his firearm. His .40 caliber Glock handgun was left sitting in his shopping cart, conveniently marked down for a five-finger discount.

Authorities are now searching for a “man driving a red Dodge Ram pickup truck” who apparently found the gun later in the day and drove off with it. Hardly comforting, but better than the real possibility of a child finding the gun at the popular family store… Apparently, this permit holder forgot not just his gun, but one of the National Rifle Association’s cardinal rules of gun safety: “Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.”

Our second tale comes from the state of Tennessee, where authorities recently reported that 200 hundred state residents who have permits to carry concealed handguns might have their permits revoked or suspended because they have active restraining orders against them. Apparently, several counties in the state were failing to inform the Tennessee Department of Safety of such orders of protection. The Department of Safety did not realize this oversight through their own investigation-they were alerted to it by a Nashville television station.

Restraining orders are typically issued to protect spouses in abusive relationships. Charlotte Boatwright, President of the Coalition Against Domestic and Community Violence of Greater Chattanooga, commented, “We do know that there is a direct correlation between having weapons available in the home and lethality.”

Hopefully, the Tennessee Department of Safety will act quickly to revoke the permits of the 200 individuals in question. Public safety will also be better served if they remember in the future to audit their permit holder database to screen out potentially dangerous individuals who are prohibited under state statue from carrying concealed weapons.

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