From Paul Valone at The Baltimore Examiner:
The words of a grandmother whose grandchildren were murdered as the result of California’s mandatory gun storage law…
Yesterday, St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner Kurt Hofmann wrote a powerful piece entitled, “’Protecting’ children … from the ability to defend themselves” in which he discussed the plight of the Carpenter family. On August 23, 2000, Jonathan David Bruce broke into the Carpenter home and, armed with a pitch fork, brutally attacked the four children at home alone, killing two. Although the children were trained in the use of firearms, the family’s guns were locked away in compliance with California law.
The Carpenters turned tragedy into heroism, however, when they became national gun rights advocates. Grandmother Mary Carpenter brought two surviving grand-daughters, Anna and Jessica, pictured with Mary at right, to North Carolina in early 2001 to help defeat House Bill 320: “Safe” Storage of Firearms.
Below is the letter Mrs. Carpenter wrote to the North Carolina General Assembly, detailing how California’s mandatory gun storage law cost the lives of two of her grandchildren. Mary understands better than any of us that, as she put it: “You may declare gun free zones, but you cannot declare killer free zones.”
North Carolina General Assembly
To Whom It May Concern,
“To my understanding you are debating the passage of laws requiring trigger locks and mandatory storage of guns. I am a second generation resident of the State of California, a mother and a grieving grandmother. I wish to express to you how trigger locks and mandatory storage laws in the State of California affected my family. I hope my testimony may save someone in your state from sharing the pain we must now endure for the remainder of our lives. No law you can pass will keep the irresponsible from shooting accidents or a felon from stealing a gun. I am enclosing a portion of a letter I wrote to my own state legislators concerning the constant progression of laws restricting our guns in my state.
“Depending on whether or not you truly care, you may or may not recognize my name. I am the paternal grandmother of the two children who were brutally murdered inside their rural Merced California home on August 23, 2000 by a stranger with a pitchfork.
“Instead of suing gun manufacturers, I am of the opinion it is our lawmakers who need to be sued. It was you who created the laws that kept my grandchildren from being able to defend themselves with any weapon greater than their bare hands. All of my son’s children had been trained in the use of firearms but were unable to get to their Dad’s weapon because of California State Law.
“You, who have CCW permits or armed body guards, or both expect me to face a society gone mad because of drug altered brains and lax laws on the perpetrators of crime? You had no room in your prisons for the killer of my grandchildren though his wife had reported to the police in Mojave California in June of 1997 that he had forced her and their infant son into his car (kidnapping) while living in southern California? At that time she also reported how she had managed to escape from him in Mojave after he held a gun to her head (assault with a deadly weapon) threatening to kill her and their one-month-old child? Though more recently she had given to the Dos Palos California Police Dept. the tape from her message minder threatening to kill her present husband? Though he had assaulted a police officer while resisting arrest for drug charges? Though he had violated his parole by not appearing at his hearing and they had a warrant out for his arrest? Though they knew where he lived, and also his mother and grandmother, yet failed to pick him up? Will you then find room for my son in your prisons should his fourteen year old daughter have access to his gun while she is baby-sitting her siblings?
“There is a growing list, in my area alone, of people (mostly women) who might still be alive had they not been in a state where the use of a gun was prohibited. Juli Sund, Carole Sund, Selvina Pelosso, Joie Armstrong, Ashley and John William Carpenter to name a few. Lawmakers talk big about a woman’s right to choose yet don’t allow me the very basic right to choose to defend myself? If teachers were allowed to carry a concealed weapon to school you would see the school shootings disappear. The same is true with the citizen on the street. The reason is, these killers are cowards. You can tell by their choice of victims. They operate best where they know there are no guns.
“Look at your child tonight and imagine him or her with their eyes jabbed out, their skulls splintered, their brains pierced, and their spines broken with the heavy tines of a spading fork. In defending her sisters to the death with the only weapon you allowed her, Ashley had 138 puncture wounds. Twenty-nine of them were on the right side of her face, five on the back of her head, and thirty-seven to her chest and lower neck. (Obviously he was trying to behead her.) She was nine years old. While committing no crime greater than sleeping in his parents bed, in his own house, John William, 7 years old, was stabbed 46 times, with most of them in the chest, neck, and head. Depending on the condition of your heart, you may or may not feel a small measure of the pain my family and I must endure for the remainder of our lives.
“Now, imagine all the gun laws you can dream up and honestly admit whether or not they would have stopped such a mad dog as this. This man was a total stranger to the family, and other than a trace of marijuana, was not on drugs at the time. However, by the testimony of his wife and girlfriend, he was a drug user who became frightening whenever he used them. All your imagined gun laws will do is insure someone’s children will die again. Take a drive downtown and see for yourself all the drug-addled brains.
“You may declare gun free zones, but you cannot declare killer free zones.
“This tragedy has made me realize I am not even safe in my locked home, my barn, or my backyard. I dare you to request the autopsy reports of John William & Ashley Danielle Carpenter done on August 28, 2000 from Sheriff Tom Sawyer of the Merced County Sheriffs Dept. Also ask him for the police interview with the killer’s wife and girlfriend telling about his drug use and devil worship. Ask Detective Parsley about his fetish for horror movies produced by a John Carpenter, (no relation to us), and one he especially liked, that we have learned depicts a killing done with a pitchfork. His last employment was as a telemarketer in Merced. If you have an honest bone in your body you will see this country is in desperate need of a change of heart, not the gun laws that have been in place for over two hundred years. All the gun laws you can imagine cannot change the heart of a killer and you know it. Until man’s heart is changed, we will be like sheep led to the slaughter without our weapons of defense. May you stand before God and man as my two precious grandchildren’s killer if you pass any more gun legislation that will make me a felon should I own a handgun or any other gun for that matter.”