This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, January 23, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: In late December, Illinois homeowner Hale DeMar (search) shot a burglar who had returned to his home for the second time in less than 24 hours.
The burglar fled the scene by crashing to the living room window. But DeMar found himself in trouble with the law, too.
He was charged with breaking state law by failing to renew his expired firearm owner's identification card. He was also charged with violating his town's handgun ban.
Joining us now, the former president of Handgun Control Inc. (search), Richard Aborn.
I know those people who are for fewer restrictions on guns say, this guy should not be charged. But as a matter of fact, he was not charged in the shooting because this was self-defense.
RICHARD ABORN, FORMER PRESIDENT, HANDGUN CONTROL INC: Clearly.
COLMES: So I think that was a good decision. They didn't want to charge him in this shooting.
ABORN: Absolutely. I was a D.A. in this town for years. I would never charge this guy.
COLMES: But he is being charged with violating the handgun ban and breaking a state law by not renewing his firearms owner's identification card.
ABORN: Right. Precisely. That's the right call.
COLMES: But they are saying don't charge him with anything? Why would that not be the right thing?
ABORN: I don't know. If they, like the guy on the right...
COLMES: Meaning the other side.
ABORN: If they respect the law, they would have to understand that he has to be charged with not complying with state requirements to register the gun and go through the background check.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: It was registered.
COLMES: Hold on.
HANNITY: It was registered.
COLMES: Let Richard speak.
HANNITY: It was registered.
ABORN: He didn't renew his firearms card, OK? Which gives the state the ability to do a background check on him to make sure that he still has the right to possess the weapon.
And he also violated a local ban, but that's a very minor charge. It's only a $750 fine.
COLMES: Well, right, but is there any validity to the argument that, you know, look, this guy was saving, perhaps, the life of his family, other -- there are other families in the neighborhood which could have been burglarized and be victimized ... and he did a good deed for society?
ABORN: Well, whether or not he did a good deed for society or, we don't know because we don't know what may have happened.
We do know he did a good deed for his family.
There are instances in this country and throughout the world where guns held for self-defense are used legitimately and lawfully and properly. It does happen.
The odds are that won't happen to you, however. If you look at the data, you're far more at risk by having a gun in the home than not. But these are not absolute arguments. There's no black and white.
HANNITY: Let me get a few facts on the table. No. 1, the gun was in a safe. It was secure. It was licensed. It was registered.
ABORN: And I just said that. I said that quite clearly.
HANNITY: In this particular case.
This guy has an incredible history of criminal activity as a second point here.
He had a 90-pound German Shepherd. He had lights all over the house, because this, again, was two days in a row he was robbed here. His family was scared to death. And he had a security system, and the police didn't get there until 15 minutes later.
Somebody breaks into your house, gets past your dog and security system, what are you, Richard Aborn, going to do?
ABORN: I'm going to call 911.
HANNITY: Fifteen minutes later, you're dead.
ABORN: Not in New York City. New York City is going to be three and a half minutes, because that's...
HANNITY: He lives in Chicago.
ABORN: ... the response. I just said to Alan these are individual choices. And you need to make a decision on whether or not you're going to own a gun based on the data.
It is not a risk-free proposition. And all I'm suggesting is that people understand both the risks and in some cases the benefits.
HANNITY: But if you had your way, most people would not be allowed to have guns, correct?
HANNITY: You don't care? Every American can have a handgun in their house? Can every American carry a handgun in your world?
ABORN: Wait. You and I have been talking about gun control issues for five years or more. I have always supported tight restrictions over the way guns are distributed in America, make sure criminals don't get guns, make sure criminals can't buy guns in bulk.
HANNITY: Should the average law abiding American be allowed to carry a weapon?
ABORN: If they go through an appropriate background check.
HANNITY: What's appropriate?
ABORN: A Brady background check.
ABORN: Go through whatever state requirements there are, get mandatory safety training, don't have a criminal history, then yet.
HANNITY: You should be allowed to carry a gun?
ABORN: No. Carry gun no. That should be up to...
HANNITY: Nobody should be allowed to?
ABORN: I didn't say that. That should be up to the local jurisdictions. The local jurisdiction should decide the conditions under which their own safety...
HANNITY: I find this odd. Licensed registered gun, man breaks into his house. He has children in his house. And you even acknowledge, and they acknowledge, that in this particular case he shouldn't be charged, it was self-defense.
But he didn't want to charge him on this other crime. He wouldn't been able to have self-defense if he didn't have the gun. That's insane.
ABORN: It's not insane at all.
HANNITY: It is very much so.
ABORN: But actually, your argument is self-contradictory, because...
HANNITY: Not at all.
ABORN: ... what -- It is, because you're saying this is a lawful citizen lawfully having a gun when, by your own recitation of facts, you're saying he broke the law by having a gun by not properly applying the state law.
HANNITY: Look, I don't have time to get into this. You're going to say yes; I'm going to say no. Yes, no. It's not the point.
You ought to read John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime," and they went to every jurisdiction, every city. And in spite of what you and liberals like yourself that really are very anti-gun say, you are safer having a gun.
The more guns, the safer the city, the safer the municipality and the less crime that takes place because criminals fear them. That's why what this gentleman did in Chicago was a great thing.
ABORN: The only problem with that argument is that the...
HANNITY: It's the truth.
ABORN: The only problem with that argument is that Lott's thesis was proven absolutely wrong.
HANNITY: Wrong. Wrong. Not true.
ABORN: Because he failed to take into account the major cities in the country have the strictest gun control laws. And I will tell you, that the cities with the strictest gun control laws have had the most rapidly declining crime rates throughout the United States.
HANNITY: Because they elect Republican mayors. That's a different issue.
ABORN: And -- And the jurisdictions with the weakest gun control laws have had the highest crime rates.
HANNITY: The evidence -- the evidence...
ABORN: That's the evidence.
HANNITY: That's not true. John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime," is the definitive book on the issue.
But here's my final point. The evidence is, though -- But if somebody broke into your house and you lived in an area where you didn't have police around you. And you had your young children in the bedroom next door, you'd rather have a gun, or at least maybe not you, but most Americans would rather have a weapon there to protect themselves and defend themselves.
And that makes my point. Had this guy waited 15 minutes...
ABORN: And my point is Americans should have the right to make that choice.
COLMES: Which is why -- this man made a choice. He maybe knew that he might be get charged with something, but prosecutors did the right thing by not charging him with the shooting.
COLMES: He was not charged with the shooting. This law having to do with the owner's identification card, which he was found lacking, he didn't renew it -- it's called the FLID (search) law -- has kept guns out of the hands of 1,619 people in his municipality...
ABORN: In the last year.
COLMES: ... in the last year.
HANNITY: According to who?
COLMES: According to the police records.
And so that law, by being enforced, indeed has helped save lives, as far as we know. You can't not enforce the law.
ABORN: That's exactly right. We have to go through background checks. That's the lesson of Brady. And if you extrapolate this argument over the nation, Brady has stopped over 900,000 felons from buying guns. Now, that's a very effective law.
COLMES: Also, then how do you make the argument that a law -- do you pick and choose which laws we enforce and which we don't enforce based on circumstances? Is that, you know, flexible morality?
ABORN: It is flexible morality if you do it in the way you're suggesting. What the prosecutors did here was they analyzed the factual situation; they understood that he used the gun as self-defense in the home, understood that was fully justified.
And therefore, there was no law broken for the use of the gun other than the failure for the card.
HANNITY: You know, you're right. We should have prosecuted Clinton for perjury.
ABORN: I'm right. We should have prosecuted Clinton for perjury.
HANNITY: Apply the law. Good to see you, Richard. Thank you for being with us.
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