Mid-Southerners seek protection through gun permits

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Two recent crimes, one in which a burglar shot a homeowner and the other a knife-wielding man shot and killed by a potential victim, symbolize what has driven more and more people to get gun permits.

Chip Holland, training director at Range USA, said handgun permits could protect when law enforcement can not.

"When you need the police the most, they're not going to be able to be there," Holland said.

Nearly 33,000 people in Shelby County had gun permits in 2009.  This year that number has jumped to 38,000 people, an increase of 16 percent.

One person who said he planned to get a gun permit is Dennis Roberts, the man shot by a burglar in his home.

"I don't believe in carrying guns," Roberts said, "but I do now."

The man confronted with a knife in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store was prepared with a gun permit and a gun.

Police said the man with the knife had already attacked several people just before he chose the one who would be his final victim.

Police said it appeared the shooting was in self defense.

"They have to put you in fear of death or serious bodily injury," Holland said.

A person with a knife does not necessarily have to be within arms length for you to be in fear or your safety.  Studies have shown that someone could stab you within 21 feet before you were able to draw your weapon.

"Whatever you do, it has to be reasonable," Holland said.

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