More nonsense from the Memphis Commercial Appeal--"Armed and Dangerous"


March 12, 2009, 01:47 PM
The front page of the CA today has a huge headline that reads "Armed and Dangerous" with mugshots and information about three thugs who had Handgun Carry Permits (HCPs). After the jump there are 6 more similar mugshots. These scare tactics are really too much.

As to the content of the article, where to start? Some of the unstated but obvious (though flawed) assumptions in the story are 1) anyone accused merely accused of a crime should be denied an HCP, 2) we can tell who is going to commit a gun with a handgun, and 3) if people are denied HCPs they won't commit crimes with guns. Oh, if only law-enforcement had discretion over whom to issue HCPs too we wouldn't be in this terrible shape. . . . After all, they are now forced(!) to issue HCPs to known criminal! :rolleyes:

Armed and dangerous: Dozens with violent histories received handgun carry permits

The 'shall issue' rule 'forces officials to issue (permits) to almost anyone'

By Marc Perrusquia,

Memphis Commercial Appeal
Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kiandre Sims was well armed the night he kicked in a back door and sexually assaulted his ex-girlfriend.
Carrying an assault rifle and a handgun, Sims forced the woman into a car at gunpoint and took her to his house where, court records show, he told her he "didn't want to hear no."
At the time of the 2005 incident, for which Sims was later convicted, he had a permit to carry a handgun. The state of Tennessee renewed his permit in 2004 despite two prior arrests and a judge's 2001 order requiring him to stay away from another woman.

Shelby County residents with violent histories who have received permits to carry handguns in Tennessee include (top row, from left) Dewayne Turner, Antonio Jackson, Reginald Miller; (middle row) Bernard Avery Joseph Fellie, Kiandre Sims; (bottom row) Antonio Bedford, Jimmy Earl Harris and Taurus Carter.

Sims is among dozens of Shelby Countians with violent histories who have received permits to carry handguns in Tennessee, according to an investigation by The Commercial Appeal.
The newspaper identified as many as 70 county residents who were issued permits despite arrest histories, some with charges that include robbery, assault, domestic violence and other serious offenses.
One man had 25 arrests on his record when he was licensed. He is now charged with a series of bank robberies in federal court, where he's pleading insanity.
Another, booked 11 times before getting licensed, held on to his gun permit after three new drug arrests and guilty pleas on two felony cocaine-dealing charges. His permit was revoked this month -- 10 months after his last conviction -- when a reporter asked about his status.
Statistically, such cases are anomalies. More than 32,000 Shelby County residents have permits, licenses that allow them to travel or walk about with a handgun.
Yet the newspaper found that mistakes, a state law that gives authorities little flexibility to weed out questionable applicants and limited government resources combine to allow a collection of rogues to go legally armed.
The newspaper uncovered these findings through an examination of public documents -- records that would be sealed from public inspection under a bill now making its way through the legislature.
In the spirited debate surrounding the bill, advocates for gun control and open records say the public would suffer if permit files are sealed because no one could examine the actions of regulators.
"There needs to be public scrutiny over the permitting system ... by the media and others to ensure the system is working," said gun-control advocate Brian Malte, state legislative director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Gun-rights activists argue that identifying permit holders threatens their safety.
"People need to protect themselves and their families,'' said Chris Cox, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.
Cox had harsh words for The Commercial Appeal, which touched off intense criticism and the current legislative battle when it published a searchable database on its Web site that includes the names of the state's permit holders.
"What they've done is give criminals a lighted pathway to (burglarize) the homes of gun owners," said Cox, who grew up in Jackson, Tenn., and graduated from Rhodes College.
Authoritieshad warning signals long before July 2005 when Sims kicked in his ex-girlfriend's door, handcuffed her and drove her at gunpoint to his place.
Sims had been arrested twice as a juvenile and, as an adult, was the subject of a 2001 judge's protection order.
By then, he had a permit, issued a year earlier by the state Department of Safety. The woman seeking the protection order told a General Sessions judge that Sims had choked her, slapped her and threatened to kill her. He told her "he has a permit to carry a gun and does have possession of a weapon," a court report said.
Nonetheless, Sims qualified again when his permit came up for renewal in 2004. State law doesn't allow a permit for applicants "currently subject to any order of protection," yet the 2001 order against Sims, capped by law to a year, had expired.
Sims managed to retain his permit for another four years -- despite a string of arrests and violent outbursts, records show.
Arrested in June 2005, Sims, armed with a handgun and described as heavily intoxicated, was charged with assaulting his girlfriend. The charges included unlawful possession of a handgun while intoxicated.
A month later, another protection order was issued against him -- an action that should have triggered revocation of his gun-carry permit had the safety department been informed. That never happened, a department spokesman said.
Sims was legally armed weeks later when he was arrested again, this time for the alleged kidnapping and rape. In March 2007, he pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, aggravated assault and attempted rape -- all felonies.
In February 2008, almost a year after his plea, the state revoked Sims' permit.
How Sims, 32, managed to get and keep his permit is, in part, the story of a system with limited resources trying to police its many permit holders.
For a year and a half -- from September 2006 to March 2008 -- the state lacked the ability to run background checks when renewing permits because of a snafu involving access to a crime database. There were other obstacles, as well.
"Keep in mind we do not routinely conduct background checks on handgun permit holders unless they are up for renewal or information (is) brought to our attention from the courts," Safety Department spokesman Mike Browning said in an e-mail.
"... If we are not notified by the court(s) at the time of the arrest or conviction then we are not aware of the charges until we run new background checks on renewals or duplicates,'' Browning said.
State law provides regulators with little or no discretion when issuing permits, unlike some states. Tennessee regulators must issue a permit when an applicant meets certain minimum standards.
Tennessee's "shall-issue" permit rules don't allow discretion to root out applicants such as Sims, gun-control activists say.
"It forces officials to issue (permits) to almost anyone," said the Brady Campaign's Malte.
In Iowa, a "may-issue" state, local sheriffs have broad discretion in issuing gun-carry permits.
Permitting standards consequently vary considerably by county, yet many believe the system provides greater protection for the public, said Sam Knowles, program services bureau chief for the Iowa Department of Safety.
"Some people feel a sheriff has a better feel for those people who reside in his or her county. A sheriff may have more resources to know more things about somebody without actually having a conviction on their record," Knowles said.
However, the NRA's Cox said "may-issue" systems are rife with bias and unfairness.
"The only way to get a permit in New York City is to be one of (the mayor's) Hollywood buddies, one of his Wall Street rich buddies, or one of his political cronies," Cox said.
Reasons to disqualify a Tennessee applicant include most felony convictions, a misdemeanor conviction involving domestic assault, a judge's ruling of mental defectiveness and willful nonpayment of child support.
By law, Tennessee can't reject an applicant just because he or she has a long rap sheet with numerous arrests or because the applicant pleaded down felony charges to misdemeanors. Similarly, juvenile arrests and convictions don't disqualify an applicant.
As a result, the CA's background checks revealed examples of applicants with long arrest records who received permits then caused serious public-safety problems. Among them:
Jimmy Earl Harris, 28, was booked 11 times before getting a gun-carry permit in 2006. Charged twice with assault, convicted twice for disorderly conduct and once for unlawful possession of a weapon in a public place, all misdemeanors, Harris was picked out of a photo lineup and named as a suspect in a robbery two days after getting his gun permit. The charge was dropped.
With a gun permit, Harris was booked twice more and finally had his permit revoked last year following a felony conviction that involved firing a .32-caliber Colt revolver into a crowd off Beale Street.
Taurus Carter, 31, was booked twice as a juvenile and six times as an adult before getting a permit in 2006. His adult record included misdemeanor convictions for unlawful possession of a weapon and criminal trespassing. His permit was revoked last year after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence involving a handgun.
Reginald Miller, 29, was booked 11 times as an adult before getting his permit in 2006. His prepermit record included a felony drug charge pleaded down to a misdemeanor and three separate allegations by women that he had beaten them -- all dismissed when the women backed down.
Later convicted in two felony cocaine cases, Miller, now wanted for probation violations, kept his permit until this month, when it was revoked after an inquiry from the newspaper.
Bernard Avery Jr., 27, was booked 25 times -- 17 as a juvenile and eight as an adult -- before getting a permit in 2006. Many of those charges, ranging from illegal possession of a loaded pistol to assault, burglary, vandalism and robbery, resulted in counseling as a juvenile and dismissals as an adult.
Within five weeks of getting his permit, Avery admitted to a role in the robbery-gun slaying of longtime Corps of Engineers employee Raymond Brady and was indicted in federal court for a string of robberies.
A state first-degree murder charge was dismissed after a determination that he was mentally incompetent. According to a document released this month by Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons' office, the charge will be reinstated against Avery "if and when he is deemed competent."
Still, Avery's permit remained valid until a reporter asked about it this month.
In all, there are 220,000 permit holders in Tennessee. The newspaper examined the backgrounds of 28 Shelby Countians whose permits were revoked last year and another 126 who appeared to have an outstanding arrest warrant as of February.
Seventy of those individuals had at least one arrest before getting a permit; 37 had two or more arrests. Thirty had pre-permit arrests involving violence, drugs or gun crimes.
Jimmy Earl Harris: Gun crimes
Seven misdemeanor convictions before getting handgun-carry permit in 2006 -- including unlawful possession of a weapon in 2003. Named in a robbery two days before getting gun permit; charge didn't stick. Lost permit last year following felony conviction for firing into a crowd off Beale Street.
Joseph Fellie: Assault, child support
Had two outstanding arrest warrants for contempt involving child support -- disqualifiers for carrying a gun -- when state gave him a permit in 2006. Warrants still outstanding; now owes $40,000 in arrears to two women. Served diversion for assaulting pregnant girlfriend in 1998; charge then dismissed.
Taurus Carter: Assault, gun conviction
Booked 8 times before getting permit in 2006. Qualified despite 2001 protection order, which had expired, and 2003 conviction for illegally carrying 9mm handgun, a misdemeanor. Kept permit through series of assault allegations; revoked last year after domestic-violence plea involving pistol-whipping a woman.
Bernard Avery: Bank robbery, 25 arrests
Before getting permit, was booked on charges including taking a gun to a public school, burglary, theft, assault and robbery. After getting permit, admitted to role in a murder and was charged with a series of bank robberies. Gun permit remained valid until reporter asked questions this month. Will stand trial in April; he's pleading insanity.
Antonio Jackson: Drug dealing
Arrested in narcotics bust five weeks after getting permit in 2004. Search warrant uncovered stashes of cocaine, digital scales, cash and a 9mm handgun. Pleaded guilty to felony in 2006 yet kept permit for nearly two years. Free from jail and armed with a valid gun permit, arrested again in January 2008 on new felony burglary charge.
Kiandre Sims: Rape, assault
Got permit renewed in 2004 despite a judge's protection order against him for assaulting a woman. The 2001 order didn't disqualify him; it had expired. Kept permit despite a second protection order in 2005, which was missed by state regulators. Permit revoked last year after Sims pleaded guilty to a sex assault committed with a handgun.
Antonio Bedford: Reckless endangerment
After state gave him a permit in 2007, authorities discovered they'd made a mistake: Bedford had pleaded guilty to felony reckless endangerment in 1995. Court records show he shot a rival in a dispute. By law, that conviction precluded him from a permit. His permit was revoked last year, though Bedford now says he was only defending himself.
Reginald Miller: Drug dealing
Booked 11 times before getting permit in 2006. Includes three arrests on domestic-assault charges, all dropped when alleged victims failed to cooperate, and a felony drug charge pleaded down to misdemeanor. Kept gun permit despite 2008 guilty plea to felony crack cocaine charges. Permit revoked this month after reporter asked questions.
Dewayne Turner: Domestic violence
Booked 7 times on a variety of robbery, assault and car-theft charges before getting permit in 2004. Arrested months later for pistol-whipping a teen. Pleaded guilty to felony and placed on diversion in 2006. Revocation should have followed. Still holding permit, was convicted on new drug charge and domestic assault in 2006. Permit revoked 18 months later.
-- Marc Perrusquia: 529-2545
Data reporter Grant Smith contributed to this article.

If you enjoyed reading about "More nonsense from the Memphis Commercial Appeal--"Armed and Dangerous"" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 12, 2009, 10:47 PM
I'm sure the guy in the opening to the story had a driver's license too. How many people are issued driver's licenses with prior DUIs who then go and drive drunk and kill people? Maybe we should end driver's licenses as well?

Duke of Doubt
March 12, 2009, 10:49 PM
The Ol' Memphis Pecker strikes again!

March 14, 2009, 09:44 AM
The 'shall issue' rule 'forces officials to issue (permits) to almost anyone'...within the scope of law. What is wrong with that?

Guns and more
March 14, 2009, 10:22 AM
Dear Memphis Commercial Appeal:

What percentage of crime in your dangerous city is committed by those with a carry permit?

If no law abiding citizen were allowed access to a gun, do you believe crime would go down?

Old Fuff
March 14, 2009, 10:22 AM
Does the editor believe that if the individuals he cited didn't have permits (which they obviously shouldn't have had) they wouldn't have had guns, carried them, or not commited the crimes that they did?

It is a far jump to say that if no one had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, criminials would cease to do it to.

In our imperfect world there was a time when otherwise law-abiding people illegally carried concealed weapons to protect themselves and others, because they had no other option -except to become victims of criminals that ignored all laws. Today the only difference is that those that obey the law can legally protect themselves, and the authorities have some control and imput in the process.

Would the editor perfer they we went back to the other way? :evil: :rolleyes:

March 14, 2009, 10:37 AM
Here is a few replies to the article...

Contact the paper and voice your opinions and arguments.;)

March 14, 2009, 01:09 PM
The Memphis paper editor is just begging for a lawsuit.

March 14, 2009, 01:35 PM
Sounds like they want to repeal RKBA because we don't have a Department of Precrime.

March 14, 2009, 06:05 PM
Would the editor perfer they we went back to the other way?

Old Fuff, I know that you already know the answer to that is yes. He would prefer that everyone carrying be considered a criminal. As it is, his newspaper already makes that leap and is now gleening through the thousands of violent crimes that occur in the city each year to find a handful of permit holders who have committed crimes. This, after his newspaper's website posted the name of all permit holders in the state.

Saw a news commercial tickler the other night that said that there are over 50,000 people in Memphis that have been convicted 6 times or more. I have not checked the facts out, but if even remotely true in a city with about 600,000, that is a startling number. Why wouldn't anyone carry regardless of the law when one of every twelve people you're liable to meet are repeat offenders.

March 14, 2009, 06:31 PM
Isn't Memphis a really high crime city? I wouldn't be surprised at all if it became like other cities with high crime and make it damned near impossible to get a ccw or even own handguns.

March 14, 2009, 07:16 PM
to those who still subscribe to papers such as the commercial appeal,nashville tennessean,or whatever your local paper is that adheres to gannetts or any other anti-American line,please cancel your subscription. you can still go online just do it once a day.

we still get a paper at work,primarily for the obits,the only part of most papers you can believe,and they are not written by the staff.

a lot of people read that one paper at work.,and how would you know what advertisers to boycott without it?

i suggest krogers and its affiliates. i let them know by placing ads in the local paper you agree with and support their editorial policy.

Old Fuff
March 14, 2009, 07:25 PM

Old Fuff, I know that you already know the answer to that is yes.

Sure I do, and the city's leftist side will agree with him. But others might get the point that he's willing to hang them out to dry. He offers no guarantee that disarming those that are now carrying under the color of a license will do anything to substantially reduce crime, and it would make more potential victims vulnerable. The best he could do is come up with 70 or so bad eggs out of the total number of permit holders that I believe numbers over a thousand.

Like most of his kind he believes that people carrying guns are bad news, unless they are law enforcement officers. But criminals pay no attention to this. If they did there wouldn't be any gun-related crime in his fair city. As it is they are up to their eyeballs in it.

Concealed means concealed, and in New York City, Washington D.C., and Chicago - just to name a few places, otherwise law-abiding people go armed. Passing more laws won't stop them, and so long as what they are doing is illegal the authorities will have little to say about it. On the other hand if these same people can legally carry with a permit, they will get one. That makes it possible for the authorities to have some input and impose some conditions, such as training and background checks. This is not a perfect system, but from most people’s point of view any system is better then no system at all.

So bird-brain is saying it would be better to do away with permits under the illusion that would stop people from carrying weapons. It didn't work before, and it wouldn't work in the future. Clearly he doesn't understand human nature.

If you enjoyed reading about "More nonsense from the Memphis Commercial Appeal--"Armed and Dangerous"" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!