Hickenlooper, Concealed Carry, and the Planned Parenthood Murders

Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper chose the immediate aftermath of the Planned Parenthood murders to insult and demean peaceable gun owners in the area. Today the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Greeley Tribune carried an op-ed by Dave Kopel and me titled, “Hickenlooper’s shots at law-abiding gun owners don’t help.” From the op-ed:

Hickenlooper told CNN: “In Colorado Springs, it’s one of the more conservative parts of the state, we probably have more people that have licenses for concealed weapons, probably more guns around. That didn’t help.”

Hickenlooper’s gratuitous insults are baseless. The only person with a concealed carry permit who had anything to do with Planned Parenthood was the clinic’s armed security guard. Apparently deterred by the armed defender, the criminal did not attack the clinic until after the guard had left for the day.

The op-ed goes on to discuss the heroism of Jeanne Assam, who previously used her concealed handgun in Colorado Springs to successfully defend a church full of people from a mass murderer.

The op-ed continues:

The mass shootings you’ve never heard about are the ones that were stopped by lawfully armed citizens, so the number of fatalities did not become “mass.” Recent ones include Logan Square, Chicago (2015, Uber driver), a West Philadelphia barbershop (2015, passer-by intervened), and Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. (2014, armed doctor). [Read the entire piece.]

Here I want to mention some additional notes about the case and the op-ed, in no particular order.

Although my name appears first and I wrote some initial text, Kopel took the piece over and contributed most of the interestingĀ material.

It is not entirely clear whether the guard on duty at the Planned Parenthood office prior to the attack was armed that day, nor whether the perpetrator intentionally waited until the guard left to attack. Here’s what KKTV reports:

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains President and CEO Vicki Cowart told 11 News over the weekend that safety measures are already in place. . . .

Cowart said the Planned Parenthood clinic off Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs had one security guard on duty that day.

ā€œHe had finished his duties and he was gone by the time the individual showed up,” said Cowart.

Cowart said no one replaces that security guard. Most of the time, she said security guards are armed.

For more regarding Hickenlooper’s remarks, see CNN’s blog, related video, and an article by Valerie Richardson for the Washington Times. I called Hickenlooper’s office to ask for clarification; I left a message but my call was not returned.