DRGO at the 2017 GRPC: I Abhor Gun-Free Zones!

(from alloutdoor.com)

(from alloutdoor.com)

[Ed: Back from Dallas, we’re posting our presentations this week. You can also watch us in living color at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmyEJ7KJMIs]

As many of you know, I abhor gun free zones, in general and in hospitals, in particular. Over the past year we have seen more violence against health care workers both in and out of hospitals:

Terrorist attack in Kabul

In March of 2017, the 400-bed Military Hospital in the secure area of Kabul, Afghanistan, was the target of a terrorist attack. Over 100 patients and staff were slaughtered in an attack that lasted 7 hours. The incident was facilitated by two interns who helped the terrorists with access and intelligence. I discussed these types of attacks in my article “In the crosshairs: Are our hospitals targets for terrorist attack?” which appeared in the July 2016 Concealed Carry magazine and on the DRGO website.

Kidnapping and rape of nurse in Illinois

On May 13, 2017, two nurses were taken hostage and one raped by inmate Tywon Salter, who was able to take the 9mm service pistol from a Sheriff’s deputy at a hospital in Geneva, Illinois. After being disarmed, the deputy ran away to a separate room. The stand-off lasted 3½ hours until the assailant was shot and killed by the SWAT team. Were these two nurses served by the hospital’s gun free zone?

Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Shooting

On June 30, 2017, Henry Williams Obotetukudo (AKA Dr. Henry Bello) used a NY SAFE Act compliant rifle, after passing a background check, to kill one doctor and wound 6 others before shooting himself. A Nigerian national and former pharmacy technician, who was forced to resign due to sexual misconduct, Mr. Obotetukudo had been arrested for sexual assault in 2004, but was allowed a plea deal which reduced his conviction to a misdemeanor and allowed him to pass his NICS check. None of the myriad NY State gun control laws and gun free zone signs stopped this murderer. By offering the plea bargain, the District Attorney became an enabler in this crime.

Recent shooting at Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital in Lebanon, New Hampshire

On September 12, 2017, Travis Frink, 47, walked into the ICU and shot to death Pamela Ferriere, 70, his mother. A Code Silver was implemented, staff and patients were told to evacuate or shelter in place. Fortunately, the only intended victim of the deranged killer was his mother. This is another example of the failure of gun free zone signs.

Man denied purchase of gun still able to stab doctor to death

Umar Dutt tried to purchase a firearm on September 9, 2017. The ATF put a hold on the purchase after the NICS check. The firearms dealer had a bad feeling about the proposed purchase, and had already decided to refuse to sell Dutt the firearm. Four days later, he was arrested for the stabbing murder of psychiatrist, Dr. Achutha Reddy, whose body was found behind his office. Even when background checks prevent the acquisition of firearm, there are other ways for a murderer to kill his intended victim.

My good friend Rob Morse wrote a series of articles in his Slow Facts blog about how the current system keeps people from getting their concealed carry licenses. There are three licensing schemes: “may issue”, “shall issue” and “unrestricted (constitutional) carry”. Many of the “may issue” states refuse to grant ordinary citizens carry permits.

Both higher fees and more training requirements have a negative effect on the rate of concealed carry in a state. Concealed carry licensing costs $4 billion and required 65 million hours of training in order to exercise a constitutional right. These fees and requirements disarm approximately 8 million US citizens. These infringements disarm the poor disproportionately. Is this not akin to a poll tax on voters? It disenfranchises the poor and denies them their civil rights.

The last time I looked, each state ratified the United States Constitution prior to joining the union, including the 2nd Amendment. We need to demand that our Representatives and Senators pass concealed carry reciprocity.

It is obvious to me that many states infringe on the civil rights of their citizens. How do we “Make the Second Amendment Great Again”? Are there any statutes on the books that can be used to help us regain that which has been eroded over the last century and more?

18 USC 241 outlaws conspiracy to deprive someone of their civil rights

It can carry a fine or a prison term or not more than ten years, or both. If death results from the acts committed in violation of this section, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

18 USC 242 outlaws violation of someone’s rights under color of any law

Punishment includes a fine or imprisonment of not more than one year or both. If bodily injury results from acts committed in violation of this section, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

President Trump and Attorney General Sessions should explore using these statutes to actively prosecute those who would deprive us of our civil rights. Not only would it remove those who would actively conspire to strip citizens of their right to keep and bear arms, but it would act as a deterrent to those who would consider these acts in the future. There is precedent for the Federal government to step in and protect the civil rights of those who were deprived by state and local governments. Many of us remember Governor George Wallace standing in front of the entrance of the University of Alabama in an attempt to stop the enrollment of black students. President Kennedy, in response, federalized the Alabama National Guard.

Some would argue: “What about State’s rights?” First, States have powers. The people have rights. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The denial of Second Amendment rights to the citizens is a blatant violation of the Bill of Rights and is tyranny of the highest order. This demands action on the part of the Federal government to restore the rights of those who are discriminated against by their own state and local governments.

Just because politicians are elected by a majority of the voters in an area, that does not allow them to ignore the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. We are a country of laws, not men.


erdeen—Dr. John Edeen is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in San Antonio, TX and is active in seeking the right to carry for qualified hospital staff. He is DRGO’s Membership Director.

All DRGO articles by John Edeen, MD.