15 Reasons Why The NRA’s “Good Guy With A Gun” Argument Is Deadly

And they know it

National Rifle Associations (NRA) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre listens at right as President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington — Feb. 1, 2017 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

We know about mass shootings: it comes as a shock; the shooter is well-armed; first responders are on the scene within minutes; in those few minutes there are many dead and injured.

The NRA’s “Good Guy with a Gun” notion (hereafter GGG) will not change that.

Here are 15 reasons why:

1. Rates of violence increased by 13–15% in states over the ten years following enactment of Right to Carry laws. Nor did such laws reduce incarceration rates. Right to Carry is GGG on a society-wide level. There is no reason to expect better results in a school than elsewhere in society. In fact, in an FBI study of 160 active shooter situations, 21 instances (13.1%) were stopped by unarmed civilians while only 5 active shooters (3.1%) were stopped by armed civilians who were not police, four of whom were security guards.

Of course, the NRA wants to arm teachers; some Legislatures and Boards of Education have clamored on board. What could possibly go wrong? (For good measure, the NRA in their love of freedom would block background checks preventing domestic abusers from having guns and legalize guns in bars and on college campuses.)

If some teachers are armed, at some point in the future, it may happen: an armed teacher will manage to shoot a would-be school shooter and prevent deaths. Our NRA friends will then aim for millions more armed guards. It is always too early to politicize a tragedy, but never too early to profit from one. The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre addressing CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee, on February 22, 2018, of course was reasoned and measured. “As usual, the opportunists waited not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain,” he said, while arguing for millions more guns in schools.

2. Even for highly trained police, in a stress situation, more bullets miss their targets than hit. Bullets go astray, sometimes striking innocent bystanders.

3. Most GGGs will be untrained, and unlike your father’s NRA, today’s NRA opposes a requirement for training as part of licensing to use or carry weapons, along, of course, with opposing licensing or background checks to ensure the “good guy” actually is. They do support a 3-day training for armed school staff. Three days…. Feel safer?

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4. Multiple deaths happen within seconds of the incident beginning, most within 5 minutes according to an FBI study. What is the GGG doing in those first seconds and minutes? Panicking; taking the gun from the locker; trying to put on his/her own body armor; running down the wrong hallway; putting the safety on and off and on (panicking); etc. Also, what if in that panic, they don’t even confront the shooter, like what happened in Parkland.

5. If the Bad Guy with a Gun (BGG) sees the GGG first, it is over in a flash: rapid fire, big magazine.

6. The BGG has hardware advantages: faster weapon, larger magazine, body armor, armor piercing bullets, safety off.

7. The BGG has significant strategic advantages: he (not a she thing yet) has no hesitancy about hitting innocent bystanders.

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8. If the GGG is a security guard at the door, the BGG will just shoot him or her and keep walking in. Security would have to be armored entrances with metal detectors to prevent the BGG from having a tactical advantage.

Now, as the GGG saving the school is a hypothetical case, let’s suggest 6 other hypotheticals that could play out any day of the school year:

9. An angry teacher or guard pulls a gun on a pupil or pupils, maybe is fired for it. Maybe not.

10. An angry teacher actually shoots a student, is fired for it, and perhaps goes to trial. Of course, if the student is black, the teacher will plead justifiable homicide, and the tiny but horrific percentage of police who murder people of color and are not held accountable will be joined by a tiny percentage of teachers who will plead fear for their life and get away with it.

11. A child finds a gun left even momentarily uncontrolled by the teacher, plays with it, waves it around, accidentally shoots another child.

12. A teacher is showing her/his gun to the children, showing them that they are protected by the teacher. S/he accidentally discharges it. A child dies.

13. The teacher is out of the room for a moment, comes in to see a child with his or her gun, shouts angrily, and a child impulsively shoots, perhaps hitting oneself, another child or the teacher.

14. The principal reprimands a teacher for something; it’s the teacher’s last straw; the teacher is armed.

The vast majority of teachers and other school personnel would carry this responsibility with integrity and devotion to their charges. However, a tiny percentage of tragedies would outweigh any benefit. How many such “accidents” would it take for all the mass killings supposedly prevented to be overshadowed by random deaths? Accidental gun deaths in the US happen “every day” (average 633 per year, 2005–2010): in homes, on street corners, … at gun ranges!

Games can always be played with statistics; still imagination allows us to make projections. So, reason fifteen.

15. If 5% of the approximately 3.5 million public and private school teachers in the United States had weapons in their classrooms, it would not prevent school mass shootings: see reasons 1–4; but it would mean that 175,000 classrooms had guns. If 1/10 of one percent (1 in 1000) of those classrooms had a gun injury or fatality in a year, that would be 175 in a year. The total US school shooting fatalities, 2000–2017 was 227.

The heads of the NRA, and the gun manufacturers they shill for, know this. They are not stupid, even if they are sociopaths.

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