Posts Tagged ‘ABC 20/20’

Charlie Hebdo Re-enactment Reveals NGVAC Tenet: Carrying a Gun Does Not Provide Self-Defense

Monday, January 19th, 2015

 January 19, 2015


Elliot Fineman


National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC)


Open and concealed carry laws are based on the tenet that carrying a gun provides “self-defense” to citizens. We at NGVAC disagree.


President Reagan was surrounded by Secret Service agents on the lookout for assassins yet John Hinckley Jr., untrained and armed with a $45 gun, shot the President, his press secretary, a police officer and a Secret Service agent. If carrying a gun provided self-defense, why would any law enforcement officer be killed? And if highly-trained officers are killed, why would armed citizens do better? The folly of “citizen defense” is exposed in the ABC 20/20 special “If I Only Had a Gun,” and recent episodes in which carriers’ guns were stolen.


Now a test of whether carrying provides self-defense conducted by a gun rights group has again proved it does not. The group, Texas-based The Truth About Guns, simulated the Charlie Hebdo shooting 12 times at Patriot Protection, a defensive and firearms training facility in East Plano with armed “employees” intent on defending themselves against the gunmen. Only one “employee” escaped death–by running away not by shooting back–and none of the armed employees “killed” the simulated gunmen.

Paris terror attack simulation conducted in Texas by gun group -




“Problem was, I ran out of ammunition, and they kept coming,” said volunteer employee Parks Matthews who was shot in the back of the head, forearm and finger despite his firearms training. “I wasn’t smart enough to get out of the way and take cover.”


At NGVAC, we are not surprised at the results. For three years, we have challenged the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) to exactly such a simulation at police training facilities with agreed upon carriers and scenarios and it has refused. To remove any financial hardship, we proposed both NGVAC and ISRA post $50,000 earnest money, which the winner would keep, less the costs of the simulation. Given the bias-free terms and financial windfall to the winner, ISRA’s refusal meant only one thing: it knew it would lose.


While ISRA did not acknowledge our challenge, other gun rights groups suggested we would rig the results. That’s why the failure of The Truth About Guns’ simulation is shocking: it was conducted by a gun rights group.


Even without the Charlie Hebdo and ABC 20/20 simulations, statistics show a gun does not protect carriers and actually heightens their risk. Epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.


The Truth About Guns admits its failure. “Suffice it to say, things did not go well for the faux victims when a single armed defender faced a two-person terrorist team armed with rifles,” wrote publisher Robert Farago. “It’s interesting to see how people react under stress. It’s not what you’d expect people do,” conceded group member Nick Leghorn. (The Truth About Guns’ Dan Zimmerman may not be convinced. He writes that “more than just one good guy with a gun would likely have been needed to save lives.”)


If carrying does not provide self-defense, as proved again this week by The Truth About Guns, why are open and concealed carry laws, based on this myth, on the books? The only protection they provide is of gun manufacturer profits. The inescapable fact is that the element of surprise always defeats the gun carrier.

National Gun Victims Actions Council is the U.S.’s largest gun victims group. Join our effort to get corporate America to take a stand against gun violence. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.  Follow us! @GunVictimsAct

Are You Falling for the Latest Pro-Gun Ruse?

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

The pro-gun lobby has successfully changed the gun violence argument from asking how mass shooters pass background checks and buy guns legally to why weren’t there more guns around. Almost every mass shooter from Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech), James Holmes (Aurora), Jared Loughner (Tucson) and Stephen Phillip Kazmierczak (Northern Illinois University) to the more recent shooters, Aaron Alexis (Navy Yard) and Paul Ciancia (LAX airport) sailed through their background checks and bought the weapons legally.


These facts unseat the pro-gun lobby’s meme that “criminals won’t obey laws” because these criminals did obey laws–and the law smiled on them. (Nor did Adam Lanza’s mother break laws in amassing her many weapons and regularly taking her son to shooting ranges.) So now the pro-gun lobby wants to pretend the issue isn’t the EZ procurement of guns but lack of more guns to stop the bad guys who easily procured them.

The “gun-free zone” meme is not just an insult to every citizen who does not want to live in an armed society, it is an insult to law enforcement personnel who give their lives to protect us. By implying that the lack of “armed citizens” is the reason for gun deaths in a shooting, it actually equates cop wannabes like George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn (the loud music shooter) with hired and trained law enforcement personnel.

Open and concealed carriers are so full of fear, they are afraid to go where normal people go–including children, the elderly and 90 lb women–every day unless they have their loaded lethal weapons. Yet they parlay this cowardice into some kind of public service in which they are protecting you and me. Most, if not all, examples of “armed citizens” protecting the public are anecdotal and there are even instances where the “armed citizens” added to the bloodshed. When the ABC news show 20/20 conducted an experiment of “carriers” protecting against an armed assailant they failed miserably, sometimes even failing to get their gun out or a shot off.

According to the “gun-free zone” meme, a mass shooter chooses a gun-free zone because no one will shoot back. Does anyone believe Aaron Alexis chose the Navy Yard or Paul Ciancia the LAX airport because they were “soft targets” with no armed guards? Or the Fort Hood shooter? Hello? But there weren’t “armed citizens” in the actual room the pro-gun lobby would whine as if the 20/20 experiment and other instances haven’t buried this fallacy once and for all.

“Crazy people shoot up schools and other institutions because they are crazy and harbor some angst toward those institutions,” wrote a recent poster on our website. “It’s the same reason they tend to shoot family members or close acquaintances. They are not targeting ‘soft targets,’ they are targeting places with lots of people, lots of publicity, and some sort of revenge motive. There is no evidence that these crazy people would be in ANY way discouraged by a minimally trained civilian waiting to pull his gun for the first time. Statistically, such a person will only serve to increase the chaos and help the shooter claim more victims in the crossfire.”

If the self-flattering fiction of gun-free zones that are soft targets because they lack George Zimmermans and Michael Dunns were true, why are there no shootings in Congress or other government buildings? Why are there no shootings in every corporate headquarters in America which are also gun-free zones since they ban guns?

The gun-free zone fiction is an insult to the public and law enforcement personnel. It flatters the cop wannabes who have morphed their fear of going places unarmed into some kind of public service. Thanks but no thanks.

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