Why Won’t Anti-Gunners Admit Concealed Carry Works?
By Harold Hutchison
THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRET OF MASS SHOOTERS
There is a dirty little secret about mass shooters: When confronted by armed citizens, they fold – and fold quickly. Whether it was the 2005 Tyler courthouse shooting, the 2007 shooting at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, or the mass shooting at the Clackamas Town Center in Oregon on 21 December – armed citizens often limited the damage done by violent psychos.
Yet we never hear about these armed citizens outside of the NRA or other alternative media. In fact, the notion they could stop such shootings will get dismissed, as Mika Brzezinski did in the wake of the New Life Church incident. But more often than not, they are ignored by the media. At WeeklyStandard.com, Mark Hemingway noted how one left-wing media outlet edited out a half-dozen instances where armed citizens held the body count down by simply setting an arbitrary figure of at least four deaths.
Why is this? Very simply, if anti-gunners had to admit that armed citizens were able to limit the damage done by mass shooters, they would have to concede the point NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre made in his 21 December press conference: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
If they concede that a good guy with a gun can stop a mass shooter more effectively than a gun ban, then their political agenda would go down the drain. They’d rather have the issue, because absent the emotions and hysteria surrounding a tragedy like Newtown, they cannot really push gun control laws through at the federal or state levels.
ARMED CITIZENS STOP SHOOTERS
While armed citizens that are on the scene have not been able to save everyone involved in a mass shooting, they have often stopped the attack far sooner than . Sadly, the initiative remains with the would-be shooter. In the case of the 2007 New Life Church shooting, the killer had hit another location first, killing two and wounding two – then he came to the church, intend on adding to his body count. He turned his gun on a family in the church’s parking lot, killing two teenage girls and wounding their parents, then made his way to the entry, where he wounded a third member of the church. Jeanne Assam, a former police officer who had a concealed carry permit, faced the gunman and fired several shots, wounding him. The gunman then took his own life. The priest at the church told UPI, “She probably saved over a hundred lives.”
In 2005, Mark Alan Wilson intervened when a man with an AK-47 went to a courthouse in Tyler, Texas. When the shooter opened fire, killing one person and wounding a civilian and three cops, Wilson engaged the shooter with his Colt M1911. Wilson was killed by the shooter after a shoot-out, but his actions bought time for additional law enforcement officers to arrive. Eventually, the cops killed the shooter. Wilson was honored by the Texas House of Representatives for his heroism.
But sometimes, the armed citizen won’t even need to fire a shot. In the 11 December, 2012 shooting at the Clackamas Town Center, the gunman was opening fire on people who were doing their holiday shopping. Nick Meli, a concealed carry permit holder, drew his Glock 22 pistol and leveled it at the shooter. The shooter, who had killed two people and wounded a third, saw the armed citizen, and stopped his attack – firing one more shot that ended his own life.
By contrast, where cops have to come – from minutes away – due to the place being a gun-free zone, the body count climbs. At Sandy Hook, the body count was twenty children and six adults. Two of those adults confronted the gunman armed with nothing but their courage – and failed to stop him. In the Aurora theater, 12 people died and dozens were wounded.
WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS?
The big lesson from these shooting incidents is that an armed citizen can help keep the body count of a mass shooting down. While the number of carry permit holders is still relatively small, it is still measurable. At the end of 2011, the Government Accountability Office estimated that there were about 8 million concealed carry permits across the country. This does not count those from states with “constitutional carry,” meaning about 2.66 of the overall population has a carry permit.
By comparison, the total LAPD force (9,925 officers) is 0.26% of the population of that city, and the NYPD’s force of sworn officers is 0.42% of the population. In a 2007 study of local police departments, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that there were 730,470 sworn officers. In essence, there are at least 11 times as many concealed carry permit holders as there are cops.
In the states that have either “shall issue” or “constitutional carry” laws on the books, there is a very good chance that at many places where a mass shooting might happen, an armed citizen will be present. In a given location with more than 50 people, there is a good chance there will be at least one permit holder in that location.
WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM THIS?
The facts are clear – concealed carry permit holders are a viable means to prevent mass shootings. The brave principal, guidance counselor, and teachers who died in Newtown, Connecticut, clearly showed the courage to try to protect the innocent children who died at the hands of the shooter. That they did not have the means to stop the shooter should shame politicians, teacher’s union officials, and school administrators.
As a first step, it may be a good idea to create a program similar to the Federal Flight Deck Officers program for teachers and administrators in the schools. This School Security Officer program could be enacted at the state or federal level, and would start by taking volunteers and giving them training, and possibly even a stipend to help pay for training time at the range. With the evidence that CCWs can mitigate the cost of attacks, Second Amendment advocates can turn the tables on the anti-gun zealots who seek to maintain gun-free zones.
The next step will be to make more businesses, movie theaters, and shopping malls more CCW-friendly. Second Amendment advocates need to politely, but firmly, present the facts to the owners of malls and other businesses, and when they do make the desired changes, support them from the inevitable hysteria from anti-gunners. The dirty little secret of the mass shooters is that the next one can be stopped before he racks up a body count and gets national news. One good guy with a gun can make a difference – and an anti-gun media cannot be allowed to cover it up.