On September 11th, 2008, Meleanie Hain, did something that most
mom’s don’t do. She openly carried a loaded Glock pistol to her
5-year-old daughter’s soccer game, claiming her right to protect
herself and family as the key motivation. Doing so, launched her onto
the national stage making her a poster mom for the gun lobby and open
carry advocates alike.
Sadly, this past Wednesday night,
Meleanie was shot and killed in her Pennsylvania home reportedly by her
husband before taking his own life. The couple’s three young children
were home at the time and ran from the house to notify neighbors of the
shooting. Ironically, it was Meleanie’s law enforcement husband, Scott,
who had taught her to shoot.
At the time of the
murder-suicide, Meleanie was embroiled in a $1 million lawsuit she had
filed against Lebanon County, Pennsylvania and Mike DeLeo, the sheriff
who revoked her gun permit due to complaints filed following the soccer
game incident. In the suit, Meleanie claimed her civil and
constitutional rights had been violated.
This tragic shooting highlights the recklessness of myths being perpetuated by the gun lobby on several levels:
Myth #1: Owning a Gun Makes You Safer
For years, the gun lobby has been perpetuating the myth that guns make
people safer. They argue that by having guns in the home, carrying them
with you in public and keeping them tucked in your belt at all times
makes it less likely that you will be a victim of a crime. What they
fail to tell you is that facts say otherwise. A new study by University
of Pennsylvania researchers found that people in possession of a
firearm were almost 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than
people who did not possess a gun. Other studies have found that the
risk of homicide in a home where there is a gun increases three fold,
and that the risk of suicide increases fivefold.
Myth #2: Only Criminals Misuse Guns
The gun lobby tries to convince Americans that only criminals commit
crimes with guns. The reality is that everyday there are legal gun
owners like Scott Hain who misuse guns with deadly consequences. Prior
to the shooting, Scott had worked in Reading, Pennsylvania as a parole
officer and as a guard at a state prison. In fact, before the shooting,
the gun lobby would no doubt have argued that he was one of them, one
of the good guys.
Myth #3: More Guns Equal Less Crime
The United States currently has over 280 million guns in civilian
hands. Each year, 3-4 million more guns are manufactured and sold to
Americans, with only a small fraction of those being taken out of
circulation each year. Combined with our nation’s weak gun laws, it’s
no coincidence that with 30,000 gun-related deaths each year, the U.S.
is the most deadly industrialized county in the world. Despite these
facts, the gun manufacturers and gun lobby continue to spread their
deadly lies in hopes of selling more guns.
to reinforce the gun lobby’s distorted view of the world, in a
Philly.Com article posted on December 12, 2008, Meleanie was described
as never leaving home without her gun for self-defense purposes as she
saw danger lurking everywhere. She was quoted as saying “When seconds
count, the police are minutes away.”
Thanks in part to the
gun lobby’s reckless agenda, little did Meleanie know that the real
danger lurked inside her own home by choosing to bring a deadly gun
into the mix for self-protection.