THE COPS ARE ONLY MINUTES AWAY WHEN SECONDS COUNT. Want to stop mass shootings? Let’s get more guns in the right hands by David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee.
The recent mass murders on London Bridge ended eight minutes after they began, when armed English police officers arrived and shot the killers. Other police officers, who had batons but not firearms, happened to be near the scene when the attack began. Some of them fled, according to an eyewitness account published in The Guardian. Another officer bravely used his baton against the multiple men with knives, incurring severe injury. Some people threw chairs at the assailants. One man heroically fought the terrorists with his bare hands, despite being stabbed repeatedly.
For defense against a murderous attack, batons and chairs are better than nothing, but not nearly as effective as a firearm. The fact of the matter is that more firearms in the right hands mean fewer deaths from mass attacks.
In the United States as in the United Kingdom, the casualty count often depends on the time it takes for the first armed defender to arrive. At London Bridge, that was eight minutes. In December 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, armed police entered the school in less than six minutes, by which time 26 students and teachers were dead.
One year later, at Arapahoe High School, in the Denver suburbs, a would-be mass-killer’s attack ended eighty seconds after it began. Fortunately, an Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Deputy was already stationed at the school, and he immediately rushed into action. One student was killed, many fewer than the criminal had intended.
Mass killers often select targets because of the absence of armed defenders at the scene. The Aurora theater murderer selected a “gun-free” theater, which forbade licensed handgun carry by its patrons. He had chosen not to attack an airport because of “substantial security.” The Santa Barbara murderer decided against attempting a massacre at a public Halloween party because “there were too many cops” and “one gunshot from a cop will end everything.” The Charleston church murderer abandoned his original target, the College of Charleston, “because of the security.” The Los Angeles Jewish Community Center murderer passed on three other Jewish institutions because the “security was too tight.” In Detroit, a would-be ISIS murderer, who was stopped before he could execute his plan, targeted a large church since “people are not allowed to carry guns in church.”
So who are “the right people?” The right people are the ones already there before the shooting starts. They are law-abiding citizens with firearm training who may legally carry concealed firearms. They are the true first responders. They should not be restricted by any foolishness such as “gun free” zones, which are simply magnets for crazed killers.