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Thread: Suspect’s gun permit raises some questions

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    This man is accused of killing three people with a hammer and knives.

    http://www.thetimes-tribune.com/arti...89470_top6.txt

    Suspect’s gun permit raises some questions
    BY KIMM R. MONTONE AND BOB KALINOWSKI
    STAFF WRITERS Published: Wednesday, August 20, 2008
    Updated: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 4:30 AM EDT Randal Rushing was granted a concealed-gun permit in Luzerne County about 17 months before he allegedly set out to brutally kill three young men inside a South Side home.

    The application — listing illegible references and the address of a Wilkes-Barre homeless shelter — was approved in less than 24 hours Feb. 21, 2007.

    Though officials in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties say denying the permit alone would not have prevented the triple homicide at 1604 S. Irving Ave. in Scranton on July 17, it has raised several permitting concerns, prompted a review of Mr. Rushing’s application and was brought to the forefront as an example of why the Luzerne County sheriff has enacted a more thorough review of gun permit requests.

    Pennsylvania laws do not require registration to purchase or own a firearm but do require permits to carry a concealed gun.

    “At best, we should have called the people,” said Sheriff Mike Savokinas, who started his term in January, of the references listed on the application. “This wasn’t going to stop him from killing someone, but this goes to show if we had better procedures in place, he probably wouldn’t have gotten the permit.”

    Mr. Rushing had allegedly lived in Luzerne County before renting a basement from Cynthia and Wesley Collier. It was inside the South Side home that authorities say he used a handgun to intimidate and threaten his victims before killing Justin Berrios, 20, and brothers Dustin Hintz, 22, and Leslie Collier, 16, with a carpentry hammer and knives.

    The 25-year-old suspect also took hostage his ex-girlfriend Samantha Hintz, 19, and the 2-year-old son she had with Mr. Berrios, as well as Matthew Collier and Cynthia Collier, 43, who is the mother of Leslie, Dustin, Matthew and Samantha.

    Sheriff Savokinas criticized the practices of his predecessor’s administration, saying the sheriff’s office had been a “one-stop shop” for permits.

    “I can tell you there are two addresses (on the permit application), 70 Davis Place and 332 Park Ave.,” he said. “The 70 Davis Place is a VISION shelter. It’s a shelter for homeless people whether they need food or a place to sleep. In my opinion, it should have drawn a red flag.”

    The Times-Tribune obtained a copy of Mr. Rushing’s application. On it, he had written his address as 70 Davis Place in Wilkes-Barre and provided two references, whose names were illegible, and listed their addresses as a 70 Davis Place and 332 Park Ave.

    The Davis Place address is reserved for homeless clients to receive mail for work or medical services, said Vince Kabacinski, executive director of the Volunteers in Service in Our Neighborhood.

    “I was not aware of the fact that he had used it for a gun permit,” said Mr. Kabacinski, who declined to discuss Mr. Rushing’s association with the agency. “My question would have been, ‘Why would someone in a homeless shelter need a gun permit?’ ”

    Mr. Rushing initially checked the box indicating that the permit would be for employment purposes. However, he then scratched out that mark and instead checked a box for the “self defense” category.

    Former Luzerne County Sheriff Barry Stankus defended his administration’s decision, saying, “I followed all the guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and utilized the (PICS) system established by the Pennsylvania State Police.”

    While state police may review an applicant’s criminal history, department spokesman Jack Lewis said the county sheriff has the final authority on whether to issue weapons permits.

    “If they were disqualified for a criminal record, they wouldn’t be able to overrule that,” he said. “(The sheriff’s office) could disqualify them for reasons other than a criminal record.”

    The state criminal database, however, only includes records of arrests in Pennsylvania, Mr. Lewis said.

    Under the revised policy, Sheriff Savokinas said, the sheriff’s office policy will more closely resemble state laws and require that references are checked. This application process could take 21 to 45 days, he said.

    The sheriff, meanwhile, has also directed an independent investigation into whether there were other discrepancies with Mr. Rushing’s application.

    Reached for comment on Tuesday, Scranton detectives investigating the case said they were aware of Mr. Rushing’s gun permit, although Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola said he was not.

    “The gun was stolen that he had at the house,” Mr. Jarbola said. “It wouldn’t have made a difference if he had a permit or not. He wasn’t issued a permit to carry a stolen weapon.”

    Contact the writer: kmontone@timesshamrock.com, bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com



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    Permits are also not required for any of the tools used in committing the crime. Permitting the tools NOT used in the crime is red-herring bait for tyrant wannabes, safety being a tyrant's tool (because no one can be against safety).

    Did the alleged perp have a driver's license? How could that be?!

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

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    The permit has no bearing on this whatsoever. None, nada, zilch. The media and anti's are only using this to point the finger at permit holders, claiming that they are psychopaths. Whether the guy had a permit or not, he would have done (or had the means and will) to do the deed.
    Oh, but wait, I'm sure that little card in his pocket whispered evil things to him...eccchhh....


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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    ...killing Justin Berrios, 20, and brothers Dustin Hintz, 22, and Leslie Collier, 16, with a carpentry hammer and knives.

    So what is thenew Sheriffdoing to make us safe from hammers and knives? Blame it on guns and the old Pro 2A Sheriff.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    Regular Member sraacke's Avatar
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    I find it interesting that they require 2 references on the permit application. I don't have a lot of close friends and I'd have trouble finding 2 willing to sign as references on a permit for a gun. Heck, I'd have to think long and hard about it if a buddy asked me to be a reference for him. Today he may be my best pal who I trust. A couple of years from now he could have gotten divorced, lost his job and would be depressed and drinking himself sick each night. Would I have wanted to be the one who determined that he should have a CCW? Nope.
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    Regular Member sraacke's Avatar
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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    Did the alleged perp have a driver's license? How could that be?!
    Easy, he had a address where he got his mail delivered and the money to pay the DMV for theDL. Just because you are homeless doesn't mean you can't get a DL. I was homeless for a short time and lived out of my car. I kept my inspection sticker, Registrationand state required insurance current while couch surfing and sleeping at rest stops.
    President/ Founding Member
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    So homeless people are not alowed to defend themselves?
    I never read the abridged 2A that states homeowners may bear arms.

    We had same thing here in B'ham, sks shooting of police serving
    warrent and protests and call to ban guns, two weeks later
    car used to run down police serving warrent, and silence from the crowd,
    not one call to ban cars.


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    Campaign Veteran Nelson_Muntz's Avatar
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    yale wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    Did the alleged perp have a driver's license? How could that be?!
    Easy, he had a address where he got his mail delivered and the money to pay the DMV for theDL. Just because you are homeless doesn't mean you can't get a DL. I was homeless for a short time and lived out of my car. I kept my inspection sticker, Registrationand state required insurance current while couch surfing and sleeping at rest stops.
    Sir, you have mistaken Mr. Huffman's intent. He was pointing out that the suspect didn't use a vehicle to commit the crime either, but the fact that he had/didn't have a driver's license was known to be a moot point by the article author. Likewise, it follows that a permit to conceal a weapon not used in a crime is just as meaningless.

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    I think this is the most relevent fact of the whole article:

    “The gun was stolen that he had at the house,” Mr. Jarbola said. “It wouldn’t have made a difference if he had a permit or not. He wasn’t issued a permit to carry a stolen weapon.”

    The only reason I can possibly see for writing an article on a CHL holder who committed a crime is that it happens so infrequently that it is something the people will read and be scared and have to read on. Even if he did use a legally obtained firearm to kill those people, there are always going to be people who either slip through the cracks, some might just go off the deep end, and others still are just bad apples who happen to have a clean record and are approved for the permit any way since there are no external signs of deviant behaviour.

    NOT TO MENTION if he did shoot them instead of using tools, he USED A STOLEN WEAPON!!! It always goes back to 'IF GUNS ARE OUTLAWED, ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE GUNS.'

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    Nelson_Muntz wrote:
    Sir, you have mistaken Mr. Huffman's intent. He was pointing out that the suspect didn't use a vehicle to commit the crime either, but the fact that he had/didn't have a driver's license was known to be a moot point by the article author. Likewise, it follows that a permit to conceal a weapon not used in a crime is just as meaningless.
    Thank you. I would "hat tip" but prefer the older word 'doff'. I doff my hat.

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    Campaign Veteran Nelson_Muntz's Avatar
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    You're welcome sir. I see your doff and buy you a cold Duff!

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