She's just a 'mom who happens to carry a gun'
JIM ZENGERLE, The Lebanon Daily News, via the AP
Hain said she is "just a mom who happens to carry a gun ... everywhere."
No matter your viewpoint, there is no doubt Hain aroused a storm of controversy -- making headlines locally and nationally. Whenever The Patriot-News published a story about Hain on PennLive.com, dozens, sometimes hundreds, of readers weighed in.
Hain agreed to an interview by e-mail. Following is an edited synopsis:
Q: How do you feel about all the publicity?
A: The antis [those who are anti-gun] are happy being antis just as I am happy being a gun owner. None of them posting questions and ridicule on the Internet forums have any intention of changing their views just as I have no intention of changing mine. ... I have read all sorts of slander, personal attacks, and even threats toward me, my family, and, yes, some specific to my children.
Q: Why did you carry a gun to the soccer game?
A: Like it or not, I do not have to validate myself to the public for my actions, ... I have come to the conclusion that this is an impossible task. It may sound arrogant, but ... the Constitution has guaranteed me a right, and there is nothing more to say about it.
Q: Did you ever consider not carrying at the soccer game just to make other parents feel better, even though it is your right?
A: I think this question would be better directed at the parents who were bothered by my choice to openly carry to the game in the form of, 'Did you ever consider that had you taken a different approach with Mrs. Hain that you may have yielded a different outcome, perhaps the one you desired from the start of all of this?'
Q: How is your family handling this?
A: My husband has been supportive all along. He has just kept himself out of the public eye because of the sensitive nature of his employment. My children are also in the know in what has been going on, and they are very supportive as well. My mom is very supportive.
As for the rest of my family, I have never asked them if they are supportive, and they have never made it a point to tell me one way or the other. In previous conversations with them, I have come to the conclusion that they are not well educated about firearms and are basically anti-gun.
Q: Why did you decide to sue the sheriff?
A: Just the fact that he was wrong is evidenced by the fact that my license was restored to me. ... To think that people would know this and then question the lawsuit I am pursuing baffles me.
I am a victim of Sheriff [Michael] DeLeo's. I am a victim of those in society as a direct result of his actions as well. The way people look at me sometimes when I am out running errands, I feel as if I am wearing a scarlet letter. and really, it's a Glock 26.
Q: You say in the lawsuit that the sheriff's actions have caused you to lose clients in your day care business: How so?
A: People following the story actually believe that people left my business because I was carrying or because they were deceived, and this is just not the case. Not even close. ... The first client who pulled their child was one of the sheriff's deputies that I had been working for. We had a wonderful working relationship. He and his wife knew that I carried.
On Sept. 26, the deputy and his wife gave me their two-week notice ... I was told it had absolutely nothing to do with me but that he was being asked a lot of questions about me at work.
Q: Did you grow up with guns?
A: I did not grow up in a home with guns. ... I have been carrying for just about a year, although I did start learning about firearms, safe handling, and how to shoot more [than] 2 1/2 years ago. It was a long process as I wanted to do things in such a way that I felt I was ready to responsibly own and carry a firearm.
No, I am not a hunter. ... That question cracks me up! I am a vegetarian.
Q: How do you feel about the Brady Center becoming involved?
A: They offered some aid to the county, but to my knowledge, neither the county nor the sheriff have taken them up on that, so it would seem to me they are just sitting on the sidelines drooling in hopes that they do get the go-ahead to handle things.
Q: Are you getting support, financial or otherwise, from the National Rifle Association or other gun-rights organizations?
A: I am getting a lot of support from various groups and individuals across the country. Some even from other countries. It has been incredible, and words cannot express what it has meant to me during this difficult time.
Attorneys for a Lebanon County sheriff are seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Meleaine Hain, who sued county officials after her gun permit was revoked.
Lawyers for Sheriff Michael DeLeo filed a motion in U.S. Middle District Court Friday seeking to have the suit dismissed. Attorneys with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence have said they would assist in his defense.
The sheriff revoked Hain's gun permit after she carried her gun to her 5-year-old daughter's soccer game. A Lebanon County judge reversed the order, giving Hain her permit back. But she sued DeLeo and county officials for $1 million, seeking payment for her attorney's fees, lost wages and emotional distress.
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