Gun-Toting Folks Never Stop Mass Killings – or Do They?
Russ Chastain 10.06.15
Eugene Volokh, a writer at the Washington Post, recently took a look around for incidents in which armed citizens prevented–as near as can be determined–mass killings.
Backers of laws that let pretty much all law-abiding people carry concealed guns in public places often argue that these laws will sometimes enable people to stop mass shootings. Opponents occasionally ask: If that’s so, what examples can one give of civilians armed with guns stopping such shootings? Sometimes, I hear people asking if even one such example can be found, or saying that they haven’t heard of even one such example.
Well, he seemed to have had little trouble finding an example. In fact, he cited nine specific cases. In each of them, there are of course unknown quantities, which he freely admits, but it seems very likely that in all or most of these situations, the bad guys would most likely have shot more people if they hadn’t been dealt with by armed citizens.
Naturally, such examples will be rare. Even in states which allow concealed carry, there often aren’t people near a shooting who have a gun on them at the time. Many mass shootings happen in supposedly ‘gun-free’ zones (such as schools, universities or private property posted with a no-guns sign), in which gun carrying isn’t allowed.
He excluded cases in which police, off-duty or otherwise, were the shooters. He also noted that he omitted “some other cases which struck me as borderline.”
It wouldn’t be ethical for me to steal his list and post it here, so you’ll need to read his article to see them.
Mr. Volokh seems to be a thoughtful type and provides some interesting points after presenting his list. Here’s a taste:
Of course there’s much we don’t know about civilians and mass shootings: In what fraction of mass shootings would such interventions happen, if gun possession were allowed in the places where the shootings happen? In what fraction would interventions prevent more killings and injuries, as opposed to capturing or killing the murderer after he’s already done? In what fraction would interventions lead to more injuries to bystanders?
Thanks to Mr. Volokh for this great article, refuting the thoughtless claims of the antis that guns never prevent violent crimes.