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.
Seeming 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.