As the Orlando mass-shooting has raised the issue of gun control with America’s gun-loving culture once again, The Nation interviewed real experts who have demolished the myth that if only more “good guys” carried guns, we’d all be safer.
On Monday, Donald Trump complained on CNN that if only there had been guns in the Orlando nightclub where the shooting occurred, the tragedy would have been averted. This is little more than National Rifle Association propaganda.
In fact, there was an armed security guard at the Orlando club and tragedy was not averted.
The Nation explains why untrained “good guys” are likely to make a bad situation worse and why trained good guys don’t open fire at the first sign of a threat:
“Tactical officers typically receive training in “judgmental shooting,” which includes knowing when it’s prudent to hold their fire, and “blue-on-blue awareness,” which drills into them the importance of considering whether other cops are present, including officers who aren’t in uniform. They’re trained to overcome tunnel vision by looking not only at their target but also maintaining an awareness of who or what is behind it.
A case in Texas two weeks ago highlights the risks of civilians intervening in chaotic situations. Police say that as two carjackers struggled with the owner of a car at a gas station in northeast Houston, a witness decided to take action into his own hands. He fired several shots, but missed the perpetrators and shot the owner of the car in the head. He then picked up his shell casings and fled the scene. Police are still looking for the shooter.”
In other words, untrained “good guys” can do more harm than a “bad guy.” Statistics bear this out:
“Last year, epidemiologists at the University of California, San Francisco, conducted an extensive analysis of data from 16 previous peer-reviewed studies, and found that having access to a firearm makes a person almost twice as likely to become the victim of a homicide and three times more likely to commit suicide. Previous research has shown that countries with higher rates of gun ownership also have higher rates of gun deaths and states with more guns have higher homicide rates. (The gun lobby’s side of the scholarly debate rests largely on the discredited and allegedly fraudulent work of economist John Lott.)”
As retired agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, David Chipman, put it:
“The question is: If you see someone running out of a gas station with a gun in their hand, do you want an untrained person jumping out and opening fire. For me, the answer is clearly ‘no.’’”
And isn’t it long past time we called out this myth for what it is: an effort to stymie sensible gun control regulations and not something that will keep us safer.
Watch “good guy” veteran, and Umpqua Community College student, John Parker, explain on MSNBC why he didn’t pull out his weapon and shoot the bad guy during last fall’s mass shooting there.
h/t to The Nation