Concealed Handgun Permits in action in NYC: Wheelchair-bound woman

This from the September 8th Associated Press:

NEW YORK Margaret Johnson might have looked like an easy target.
But when a mugger tried to grab a chain off her neck Friday, the wheelchair-bound 56-year-old pulled out her licensed .357 pistol and shot him, police said.
Johnson said she was in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood on her way to a shooting range when the man, identified by police as 45-year-old Deron Johnson, came up from behind and went for the chain.
"There's not much to it," she said in a brief interview. "Somebody tried to mug me, and I shot him."
Deron Johnson was taken to Harlem Hospital with a single bullet wound in the elbow, police said. He faces a robbery charge, said Lt. John Grimpel, a police spokesman.
Margaret Johnson, who lives in Harlem, has a permit for the weapon and does not face charges, Grimpel said. She also was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and later released.

This story is amazing in multiple respects. 1) Most people probably believe concealed handgun permits are not granted in NYC so this case should probably come as a surprise. 2) The AP rarely runs even the defensive gun use stories that get local coverage. A defenseless 56-year-old woman who was in a wheelchair should make this very newsworthy. That said, it is still a very short story. Compare it in length to cases where a gun is used in a crime.

UPDATE: Apparently the woman just had a permit to own a gun and was in the process of going to a shooting range when she was attacked. It is too bad that she doesn't have the option of protecting herself at other times as well.
Also, thanks to Curt Howland for pointing out a typing mistake in my earlier post.


Anonymous Curt Howland said...

Mr. Lott, I think you mean "assume permits are NOT issued in NYC".

Also, digg has picked up the story and put it on their front page, also a very rare thing for a defensive handgun story:


9/09/2006 5:41 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thanks, Curt.

9/10/2006 2:53 AM  
Anonymous blackwing1 said...

Mr. Lott:

This woman apparently committed a number of felony crimes, in that NYC law requires, when transporting a firearm from the premises to the range (only on permitted days), that both the firearm and ammunition must be in closed, locked, and separate containers.

As noted by many other bloggers, she will probably have her "premises" permit quitely revoked once the furor and publicity have settled. It's my opinion that the NYC D.A. is simply chosing not to prosecute because it would make them appear to more idiotic than normal.

9/11/2006 9:58 AM  
Blogger Sailorcurt said...

If I had popped someone in a city where concealed carry is virtually illegal (unless you are rich, famous or well-connected), I would conveniently be on my way to the shooting range myself.

Not only is Grandma capable of defending herself, she thinks quick on her feet (in a manner of speaking) as well.

9/11/2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear blackwing1:

Right. That is why I added the "update," though apparently it wasn't clear enough. Sorry.

9/11/2006 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called the "doctrine of competing harms." Simple case: should I cross the double yellow line in the roadway (illegal in NYS) or run over the 12 nuns in my direct path :). while DOCH won't wash as a defense against illegal CCW, it can at least be raised as a defense in granny's case, although it sounds like she won't need it.

9/14/2006 7:59 PM  

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