“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Former NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre following the Sandy Hook Elementary Mass Shooting in 2012
“Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns…” That has been a core argument offered by the NRA to combat efforts to limit access to weapons. It joined the other standard defenses for virtually unlimited access to a variety of weapons and other equipment that are regular features at events where multiple casualties occur.
Nearly every state implemented new gun laws after the Sandy Hook shooting, BUT about two-thirds enacted laws that actually made access to guns easier and gave more rights to gun owners, the New York Times reported in 2013. That trend has continued.
Experts on violent crime say such incidents make clear that despite the NRA’s post-Sandy Hook justification, relaxing gun laws to let more people to arm themselves has done nothing to prevent mass shootings.
In states where Republicans have control, laws that loosen gun restrictions increased by 75% in the wake of mass shootings, according to a 2019 Harvard Business School report.
Texas––which has long had permissive laws on guns––was among the states that expanded gun rights, by reducing safety training requirements to apply for concealed-carry permits. During its 2019 session alone, the state legislature passed 10 laws making it easier for gun owners to keep and carry their weapons. The laws, which take effect Sept. 1, will, among other things, let Texans carry guns in places of worship and prohibit schools from barring licensed gun owners from bringing their weapons onto school property, so long as they are kept in a locked vehicle.
Similarly, Ohio has also expanded rights for gun owners since the Sandy Hook shooting. In 2017, Ohio lawmakers passed a law that allows people with concealed-carry weapons permits to bring firearms into day care centers and onto private planes and lets employees bring guns to their company parking lots.
So where were those “good guys with guns”? If by “good guys” you mean law enforcement personnel, then they were there and they responded speedily (in 32 seconds in Dayton, and in six minutes).
In Dayton, police were already nearby when the gunman, armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle fitted with a 100-round drum magazine opened fire. He fired at least 41 times in the seconds it took for six officers to respond and kill him. The shooter killed 9 people and wounded 14 in 32 seconds.
In El Paso, police were not nearby but were able to respond to the situation within six minutes. By that point, the gunman had stopped shooting and left the scene—leaving 22 people dead and 26 wounded.
While mass shootings have not increased in frequency since 2012, they have become deadlier, according to a 2017 analysis by Politico. Five of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred since Sandy Hook (El Paso ranks no. 7). These include the two deadliest attacks––the October 2017 shooting in Las Vegas where 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured, and the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where 49 were killed and more than 50 injured.
Both in states where access to arms is easy and where gun ownership is very high.
Given the nature of the attacks, gunmen can inflict horrific casualty counts within seconds, before anyone can respond. The have the advantage of surprise with the chaos that ensues, soft targets and weapons built to fire rapidly, and be reloaded rapidly. There have been a number of cases where shooters have been “dressed for combat” sporting body armor, helmets, goggles, and ammo bags. All easily available.
Experts point out that were civilians to open fire it is very likely that such action will make things worse. Stanford Law School professor John Donahue’s research has focused on gun violence and policy. “Unless you’re very well trained, you usually add more to the body count than you subtract,” he writes. Donahue points out that in cases like this a chaotic scene is made more chaotic by those who show guns but who are not easily identifiable as law enforcement. Lacking the coordination that communication equipment and command centers provide, the chances of shooting in error or in being shot by someone else increases exponentially. “Most gun owners understand this and choose not to pull out weapons they are carrying,” says Donahue.
There was at least one armed citizen at the Walmart in El Paso during the shooting. Army Pfc. Glendon Oakley said in interviews that he was carrying a licensed handgun and drew it when he heard the gunshots on Saturday. “That’s what you do,” he told the military publication Task & Purpose. “You pull your gun, you find cover and you figure out what to do next.”
But, he said he didn’t see the shooter and so instead focused on rescuing as many children as he could in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. “I holstered my weapon and hid it so that I was just focused on the kids, I wasn’t really worried about myself. So just put my head down and just ran with them as fast as I could,” he told CNN. “They were anxious, when they were in my arms, they were trying to jump out of my arms but trying to keep them as tight as possible. They are kids, so they don’t understand what is going on.”
It’s extremely rare to find instances of armed civilians responding to mass shooters in public spaces, even when they have the legal right to carry weapons––like most residents of Texas and Ohio do. Typically, mass shootings occur in crowded, populated areas—and people never respond exactly how they might imagine they’d react, says Joe Hendry, director of risk assessments and a national trainer at the ALICE Training Institute, which focuses on response strategies to shootings.
“Carrying a concealed weapon is basically for the defense of yourself. It’s a whole different level of training and expertise to defend others. Being able to defend others takes intense training, frequent drills, well developed plans and command/control services in place,” Hendry said.
Even law enforcement officers, who receive training to respond to mass shootings, often don’t react as expected. For one thing, police usually respond to shootings once they are already underway—whether they appear on the scene within a few seconds or several minutes, the damage has already been done. According to Hendry, only about one in five rounds fired by officers responding to shootings hit their targets.
“It’s a very difficult thing to shoot in a room that’s full of people, while someone is shooting at you,” he says.
And even with the proper training and being in the right place, armed citizens cannot always stop a shooter before the assailant opens fire.
Off-duty Border Patrol agent Jonathan Morales was hailed as a hero for pulling his concealed gun and responding to a gunman who entered the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Southern California in April.
“It happened so fast, literally within seconds,” Morales said. “With our police training and shooting scenarios, you already know what to expect but he was moving so fast and there were so many people in the way, I could not get a clear shot.”
Ironically, it was an unarmed Army veteran, Oscar Stewart, who chased the gunman out of the synagogue while shouting at him. As the shooter got into his car to flee, Stewart wrestled his weapon away from him. That’s when Morales fired four bullets into the car.
Principle Source Material Drawn From: https://time.com/5644578/good-guys-with-guns-el-paso-dayton/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the-brief&utm_content=20190807&xid=newsletter-brief