BELLEVUE, Wash. — In the aftermath of Friday’s tragic courthouse shooting in Yreka, Calif., the leader of a top firearms civil rights organization said this case is yet another example of why restrictive gun laws do not work.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said, “California has some of the most restrictive gun control laws of any state in the country, yet the gunman, who was on trial for sexually molesting two teenage girls, walked into the courthouse, shot one of the witnesses against him, then killed himself.
“What this incident really proves,” Gottlieb continued, “is what gun rights activists have been saying for years: Criminals, and, as in this case criminal suspects, don’t obey gun laws. All those California gun laws, which have severely infringed on the rights of millions of law-abiding citizens, did nothing to stop this tragedy.”
Last Friday, Edward Landsdale, 68, fired several shots into Amber Pearce before turning the gun on himself. Pearce, now residing in Oklahoma, was one of Lansdale’s alleged victims. When she was 14, according to news reports, Lansdale allegedly took her and another youngster into his home, where he had sexual relations with them.
Pearce had been brought to the Siskiyou County Courthouse in Yreka to testify against Lansdale, who had been on trial all week. How he got the gun into the courthouse is still not clear. Published reports indicate the courthouse staff uses a hand-held metal detector to check visitors for weapons, but it may not have been used Friday.
In addition to shooting Pearce, Lansdale also wounded her husband, Jeffry. He then moved onto a stairway landing, and as deputies closed in, he pressed the gun to his head and fired the fatal shot.
“I think the public has a right to know how it was,” Gottlieb stated, “that a man on trial for sexually molesting youngsters was able to stroll into the courthouse, carrying a gun, in a state where the gun rights of honest citizens are being attacked almost on a daily basis.
“I want to know,” he continued, “how any gun law, including ones that will undoubtedly be proposed in response to this horrible tragedy, would have prevented this shooting.
“After all,” Gottlieb noted, “it is illegal in California to carry a concealed handgun into a courthouse, and the last time I checked, it was illegal to shoot people. Lansdale knew this, just like he obviously knew it was illegal to have sex with minors.
“Tens of thousands of law-abiding California gun owners did not violate state laws last Friday, and one obvious miscreant did,” he observed. “But it’s all those law-abiding gun owners whose rights will be trampled with any round of new gun laws proposed in response to this outrage.”