It’s difficult to say if a mass shooting has ever been stopped by an armed civilian. For every source that lists an occasion when a civilian was able to stop an active shooter, there are three sources ready to point out that the “civilian” involved was really off duty or retired military or that the shooter was out of rounds anyway. Frankly, it’s difficult to evaluate the intentions of a shooter, so it appears that that many documented accounts of armed civilians stopping mass shootings are speculation at best.
Although many conservatives point to the idea that having more guns around would act as a deterrent for would-be mass shooters, Dr. Peter Langman, a clinical psychologist and author of the book School Shooters: Understanding High School, College, and Adult Perpetrators, argues that it wouldn’t. When asked if shooters consider the presence of guns as a deciding factor, he replied
“I don’t think it is. Many of these shooters intend to die, either by their own hand or by suicide by cop. There was an armed guard at Columbine. There were armed campus police at Virginia Tech. The presence of armed security does not seem to be a deterrent,” Langman said. “Because they’re not trying to get away with it. They’re going in essentially on a suicide mission.”
Langman also said that rather than choosing a place where there won’t be many guns — a myth often propagated by the gun lobby — shooters might choose places like schools, theaters, and churches because there are a lot of potential victims. “If you’re going to do an act like this, you need a certain number of people in one space.”
The verifiable fact is that more guns do not make us safer. During the Dallas sniper attack in July 2016, in which five police officers were killed, there were 20 to 30 “good guys” with guns in the immediate vicinity. Not only did these untrained civilians not stop the shooting, but their involvement would have likely made the tragedy even more deadly. “In the middle of a firefight,” the Dallas mayor said, “it’s hard to pick out the good guys and the bad guys.”
According to the Washington Post, mass shootings “on average account for much less than 1 percent of the U.S. homicide rate.” Suicides, however, account for roughly two thirds of gun deaths every year. About 1 in 10 college students seriously consider suicide every year. So it seems there’s a much higher probability that allowing guns on campuses would be lethal, without a mass shooter.
We know that colleges in states that now allow campus carry have seen a huge increase in injuries, lawsuits, security spending, and protests from student and faculty opposition. Yet no one has stopped any armed shooters.
But pro-gun extremists and gun lobby do not care about your facts. Or your reason. Or your logic. Or what the experts have to say.
Pro-gun extremists want untrained people of all ages carrying guns everywhere, all the time, with zero restrictions.
Despite the fact that majority of Georgia students, parents, teachers, police, gun experts and school officials don’t want guns on campus, both the House and the Senate kowtowed to the gun lobby and passed campus carry bills. Fortunately, it’s not too late.
Call Gov. Deal today and tell him to veto campus carry.
Governor Deal’s Office: 404-656-1776