4 years, 5 months ago
Terry Madden weighs in on the issue of shooters in crowded places.
This past summer seems to have been a pretty violent three months. Between the Sikh temple shooting, the Colorado movie theater gunfire, the Empire State Building incident and others, guns have been in the forefront of the national discussion.
Firearms are a deeply ingrained part of the American fabric. We view firearms as a God-given right and some of the strongest lobbying comes from gun groups on both sides of the issue. I personally have no problem with the owning and use of pistols, rifles, shotguns or other similar firearms. I do have opinions on fully automatic weapons, but ultimately that isn’t the point of this article.
I have to admit it pains me to hear of a massacre like the one in Colorado happening, and the first thing many like to argue is that people in the theater would have been safer if there were more liberal laws allowing licensed owners to carry their guns. In other words, if someone else in that theater had a gun many people may not have died. We will never know for sure, but statistics tell us that, other people shooting as well is probably a recipe for disaster.
I don’t know why guys in particular buy a gun and automatically think they are marksmen. Any time these topics come up, many guys start preening about what they would have done if they had been in that theater. In Ramboesque bluster they claim they could pull their gun and put the shooter down. Isn’t that the main argument you get from those in favor of “open carry” and “concelaed carry” laws? The argument is we are all safer if others have guns. Let’s explore this.
The Virginia Coalition of Police and Deputy Sheriffs put out some interesting statistics regarding handgun accuracy when an officer discharges his or her weapon. Keep in mind these are people who are trained to shoot under pressure situations, not the average citizen.
According to the coalition, “in 1992 the overall police hit potential was 17%. Where distances could be determined, the hit percentages at distances under 15 yards were:
Less than 3 Yards — 28%
3 Yards to 7 Yards — 11%
7 Yards to 15 Yard – 4.2%”
This seems to indicate that the hit rate for highly trained officers is 15-25 percent. That ratio has been pretty consistent for the last 30 years according to multiple studies. That means they have a 75 percent chance or better of missing. This is not an indictment of the police as they do amazing work, but rather the inherent unreliability of a shooter in a pressure situation.
Using the movie theater as an example, not only was there imminent danger, there were people running in all directions as well as smoke and darkness. To believe an average person with a pistol would have stopped this massacre is Hollywood fantasy. Could they have? Potentially, but it seems as if the probability is pretty unlikely.
I believe people have the right to guns and if you want to own them, have at it. Please, however, don’t tell me I am safer because you have a gun on your hip. Statistics say you are as likely to shoot me as the bad guy. If I am in distress, please save your bullets.
When someone has to remark that he believes in the second amendment and the right to own guns, he usually doesn’t. It’s usually just a ruse.
But take careful note of the silliness of Terry’s argument. First of all, most of the gun owners I know make it to the range every week or two just like me, and practice their drills such as close quarters shooting, failure to stop, rapid target and sight picture acquisition, etc. Also, many law enforcement officers I know make it to the range once per year to qualify with their issued weapon. Terry is merely assuming the worst in trying to make his point stick.
I am not willing to concede at all that a concealed carrier would be so ineffective against someone trying to take his life. But for the sake of argument, let’s stipulate his case, or worse. Let’s assume that a law enforcement officer would be 30% effective against a shooter, that a shooter in a crowded place would be no more than 25% effective with his shot placement, and worst of all, that a concealed carrier would be no more than 20% effective.
Terry’s argument is this: I am willing to subject my family to a shooter at 25% effectiveness for the duration of time it takes a LEO (at 30% effectiveness) to arrive on the scene, usually 10 – 15 minutes, rather than have a concealed carrier attempt to deal with the shooter at 20% effectiveness, because of the fact that a concealed carrier might also harm me or my family just like the police might harm me or my family.
It’s worse than nonsense. It’s irresponsible nonsense. But hey, whoever said that I am not easy to get along with. If I’m ever in this situation with Terry’s family and I have gotten my own out of harm’s way, I will oblige Terry’s edict. I’ll leave the shooter alone for Terry to deal with unarmed. As they say … as you wish.