This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," September 22, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
JOHN GIBSON, HOST: After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans last year, Houston took in tens of thousands of evacuees. Many of them remain. Some locals aren't happy about it. They are blaming Katrina evacuees for an increase in crime. Now one gun shop owner is calling for people to arm themselves against evacuees. Take a listen to this dramatic radio ad:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOUSTON GUN SHOP RADIO AD: When the Katrinians themselves are quoted as saying the crime rate is going to go up if they don't get more free rent, it's time to get your concealed handgun license.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So, Jim, are people responding to that ad? Is there a run on conceal permits?
JIM PRUETT, HOUSTON GUN SHOP OWNER: There's been a response to that ad for a long time. It's been running for at least three weeks and one of the ways of measuring it is, the commercial calls for us to make sure that people get their concealed handgun license so they will be legally qualified to carry a handgun on their person or in the car and if they are threatened by either criminal evacuees, MS-13 gang members or just thugs in the parking lot, they will have that weapon close by because if you don't have a CHL in Texas and you have a gun in your car or on your person, it's a felony and you go to jail.
GIBSON: Jim, look at this. We've got some facts and figures about Katrina evacuees. They are suspects or victims in over 20 percent of Houston crimes this year. The number of people applying for gun permits has risen 25 percent and of the 250,000 evacuees who came to Houston, about 120,000 remain. Jim, is there something specific about the Katrina evacuees that makes you so worried or is it just crime in general and they are getting stuck with the blame?
PRUETT: It's another rock in the pond, John. What's happening is we had a criminal problem before there were other people preying on us and now this is just even more and so it's not specifically about the evacuees. I think about 15 percent of our population here in Houston is made up of law-abiding citizens who came here with their kids, their families, who wanted to rebuild their life. They settled in Houston, Texas, and they remain here. They are Houstonians now. It's a beautiful thing because it's a wonderful city and we welcome them. However, whenever they get on TV and they are quoted as saying when the FEMA money runs out, then we're going to turn to crime, then this is something we got to pay attention to. And the best way to do it is to be armed.
GIBSON: Jim, what kind of gun do you carry?
PRUETT: I carry a Kimber 45. It looks very much like this. Mine is a little smaller, because it's designed for concealed carry. This is a 45 ACP. It's one of God's favorite calibers. It has a large hole and when you shoot into the night, it makes a big fire. And after all, when you're going to be attacked, it's probably going to be at nighttime and it's going to be cold. You're going to not feel well, so you might as well have the biggest caliber you can get your hands on. And let me tell you this, John, you have time for this. The police are not your bodyguards. They are policemen who will come out and investigate, draw a white chalk outline around you. They will investigate and because they're good at their job, they'll track down the bad guy but your immediate safety is your responsibility in the society. Certainly if you are at a ballgame or a sporting event, there will be policemen there who can guard you. But when you are walking through that parking lot or driving around trying to avoid being carjacked or having kick burglars knocking on your door, you have to take care of the immediate problem and the best way to do that is with a handgun.
GIBSON: Jim Pruett, radio talk show host, gun shop owner in Houston, thanks very much.
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