It is nearly impossible to get a handgun for self-defense in my hometown of New York City. Here, if you want to keep a handgun in your home, you must pay $340 and fill out a 15- page application about why you want a handgun. It can be rejected for any reason. Want a realistic toy handgun? Banned. Want to carry a handgun on your person? Forget it.
Unfortunately, laws like that... kill people. No one knows that better than Suzanna Hupp, whose parents were murdered in a mass shooting at a Lubys restaurant in Texas. Here's what she told Congress:
This guy kept shooting... When I finally realized what was occurring I thought, "I got him!" And I reached for my purse. He was maybe twelve feet away...
But then I realized that a couple of months earlier I had made the stupidest decision of my life. I took my gun out of my purse and left it in my car. Because as you well know, in the state of Texas, it's sometimes a felony offense to carry a gun in your purse.
People in the restaurant tried to stop the shooting, but they were unarmed.
My father, at that point, said, "I've got to do something! He's going to kill everybody in here!" And he rushed the man.
No way. This guy turned and shot him in the chest. He went down; [he] was obviously mortally wounded...
When I saw what looked like an opportunity to escape, I turned around and I grabbed my mother by the shirt and I said, "Come on! Come on! We've got to run! We've got to get out of here!" And then my feet grew wings and I was out the back window. As soon as I got out, I realized that my mother had not followed me out... she had crawled over to where my father was and cradled him until the guy got back around to her, put the gun to her head, she looked up at him, put her head down and he pulled the trigger. My parents had just had their forty-seventh wedding anniversary. She wasn't going anywhere.
Remarkably, Suzanna is not angry at the murderer. She doesn’t want tougher gun laws.
I'm not really mad at the guy that did this and I'm certainly not mad at the guns that did this. They didn't walk in there by themselves and pull their own triggers. The guy that did it was a lunatic. That's like being mad at a rabid dog.
I'm mad at my legislators for legislating me out of the right to protect myself and my family. I would much rather be sitting in jail with a felony offense on my head and have my parents alive.
Suzanna's story, which she tells in a new book, "From Lubys to the Legislature," helped get Texas to pass a law allowing citizens to pack heat.
Odds are, that law saved lives. Here is a graph, from More Guns, Less Crime, on the effect of concealed carry laws on mass shootings:
Giving citizens the right to carry concealed weapons is especially helpful in preventing mass shootings, because when there are many intended victims, it is likely that someone there will have a concealed weapon to stop the attack.
Tonight on my show, I interview Suzanna Hupp and others with gun self-defense stories.