Tag Archives: Harris

TN Handgun Permit Holders Have Killed 13 People, Report Says

The Violence Policy Center cites 10 Tennessee cases since December 2008 in which 13 people have died when shot by handgun-permit holders, reports ‘Action’ Andy Sher. In five of the 10, the shooters were convicted of murder, and in a sixth the man killed his girlfriend then killed himself.
“The gun lobby’s worldview is the good guy is always stopping the bad guy,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center. “I think we’re just seeing the exact opposite.”
Rand, whose group culled much information from news accounts of shootings, arrests and court proceedings, called the Tennessee figures the “tip of the iceberg.”
Nationwide, the group estimates that, since May 2007, at least 381 people — including 11 law enforcement officers — have been killed by permit holders in incidents not considered as legitimate self-defense by police.
John Harris with the Tennessee Firearms Association, a gun-rights group, questioned basing the information on news accounts.
“First, by law, the Tennessee Department of Safety has to track data concerning handgun-permit holders who are charged with crimes and the disposition of those crimes,” said Harris, an attorney.
He said the Violence Policy Center’s “reliance on news reports, which seldom track dispositions, is suspect because they’re intentionally selecting less reliable data as to how many of these permit holders were wrongfully charged in shooting incidents as opposed to those [deemed] justifiable.”
He noted permit holders must pass criminal background checks and complete an approved handgun safety course.
Rand said the group relies on news accounts because many states either don’t collect the data or else don’t make it publicly available.
Violence Policy Center data, as well as additional reporting by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and other news organizations, show five permit holders in Tennessee have been convicted of first-degree murder or second-degree murder out of the total 10 cases the group found. Charges are pending in three other cases.
In a ninth case, a Memphis permit holder shot his girlfriend to death, then committed suicide as police prepared to arrest him on murder charges, according to news accounts.
In the 10th case, an apparent road rage incident in June, a Middle Tennessee permit holder shot another motorist in Ashland City. Despite being wounded in his chest and hip, the other man managed to wrestle the gun from the permit holder and shoot him dead, said Ashland Detective Jason Matlock. The wounded driver has been indicted for voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

Unicoi County Sheriff Indicted on ‘Multiple Felony Charges’

News release from TBI:
Knoxville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation served a criminal summons this afternoon by order of a judge on the current Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris on multiple felony charges after he was indicted by the Unicoi County Grand Jury on Friday, October 14, 2011.
Harris was indicted on six counts official misconduct, one count of theft over $1,000, one count of tampering with evidence, one count of criminal simulation and one count of attempted aggravated assault. TBI began the investigation into allegations of misconduct made against Harris in September of 2010 after being requested by the 1st Judicial District Attorney General’s Office. The six counts of official misconduct stem from incidences on June 23 through 24, June 30, July 12 through July 13, July 15, July 17 and July 19 of 2010 when Harris had inmates at the Unicoi County Jail perform labor on property on North Mohawk Drive in Erwin, Tenn. that Harris owns.
Additionally on September 6, 2008, Harris altered or destroyed a record related to evidence or the evidence itself that was part of investigation which is considered tampering with evidence. He also made or altered a memo requesting payment from Unicoi County for a vehicle that was donated to the county resulting in the criminal simulation charge. The theft incident occurred on September 23, 2008, when Harris received $4,500 that was property of the county. Most recently, on July 21, 2011, Harris attempted to assault another man with a deadly weapon.
Harris has to appear in court within ten days to be processed.