Two leaders of groups advocating the right to bear arms are advising lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the state to arm themselves against the kind of violent attacks that have injured three gay Utahns in a two week span.
“Surviving violence is dramatically increased when the victim is armed,” Stonewall Shooting Sports owner David Nelson said. “More than 91 percent of armed victims who stopped crimes never fired a shot at their attackers. Showing or telling a criminal that the victim is armed is enough to stop the crime immediately.”
Nelson said that privately owned firearms are used up to 2.5 million times a year to stop crimes according to the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, and that ongoing U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics research shows that such firearm use is six times higher than the number of firearms used to commit crimes.
“We all know gay people who we care about,” Women Against Gun Control President Janalee Tobias said. “We encourage citizens who feel vulnerable to use their non-controversial right to defend themselves. Gun rights are equal rights. Whether it’s a video game which pretends to kill Tea Party leaders, or someone who injures or tries to kill a gay person at his home, workplace or a public sidewalk, different kinds of violence reach all of us.”
Tobias says research shows that if women offer no resistance to an attack, the probability of serious injury is 2.5 times greater than for women carrying guns for protection. Unarmed men are 1.4 times more likely to receive a serious injury than when they are armed.
Tobias and Nelson stressed that it is important for anyone carrying a firearm to learn how to handle it safely and to know the laws concerning the use of lethal force. They said that state weapon laws help LGBT people protect themselves.
No permit is required to buy a weapon in the state, but a criminal-history background check is required. Carrying a firearm openly is legal in the state. A Utah Concealed Firearm Permit application can be approved quickly based on circumstances, like having recently been the victim of a bias-motivated crime or violence.