Oklahoma mom's self-defense becomes part of gun control debate in Washington

At a Senate hearing Wednesday on gun control, featuring testimony by Gabrielle Giffords, the case of Blanchard mother Sarah McKinley was discussed. McKinley shot and killed a man during a home invasion in 2011.
by Chris Casteel Modified: January 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm •  Published: January 31, 2013
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“My problem with criminals is you're never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., shot back, “Mr. LaPierre, that's the point. The criminals won't go to purchase the guns because there will be a background check. We'll stop them at the original purchase. You missed that point completely.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said background checks required of licensed gun dealers since 1994 had prevented 1.7 million prohibited purchases.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, has been working with a bipartisan group of senators on legislation to expand background checks beyond licensed dealers. Coburn, a staunch defender of Second Amendment rights, said in an interview, “I really think the mentally ill need to be prevented from getting guns.”

Trotter, an attorney with the Independent Women's Forum, cited McKinley's case in her testimony and said violent criminals rarely use guns to threaten or attack women. That makes guns the great equalizer for women, she said.

Trotter also said the proposed ban on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines could put women at a disadvantage.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said McKinley, whose intruder wielded a knife, didn't use one of the weapons proposed to be banned. McKinley used a shotgun.

“You cannot understand,” Trotter said. “You are not a woman stuck in her house having to defend her children, not able to leave her child, not able to go seek safety, on the phone with 911 and she cannot get the police there fast enough to protect her child. And she's not used to being in a firefight.”

Whitehouse said, “My point simply is that she did it adequately and successfully with lawful firearms and without the kind of firepower that was brought to bear so that the 12th, 13th, 14th shots could be fired by the man who shot Giffords.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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