From “bad guys don’t obey gun laws” to “it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,” gun lobby dogma is repeated so often it appears true. But this summer’s bloodshed reveals how illogical and insulting the banal sayings are.
Here are some of the biggest lies.
- The Only Thing That Stops a Bad Guy With A Gun Is a Good Guy With A Gun
Thanks to Texas carry laws, there were so many carriers at the Dallas protest that ended in 12 police officers being shot, law enforcement did not know the “good guys with guns” from the “bad guys with guns.” But none of the good guys with guns, who consider themselves citizen law enforcers, stopped the bad guy or spared law enforcement officers being shot.
Last year National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) studied the role of training in gun self-defense, using simulators, at the Prince George’s County police department in Maryland–with shocking results. Even with their guns drawn, highly trained civilians were “killed” and failed to stop bad guys. “They didn’t attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy — they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough — they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at,” said the Washington Post.
In a growing number of states, gun advocates have made it illegal to require training for carriers because it is a violation of “gun rights.” Why should people carrying a lethal weapon know how to handle and use it? How many municipalities knew the thousands they could save by realizing police training and retraining is optional?
- Criminals Don’t Obey Gun Laws
Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter who killed 49 people and wounded 53, was a legal gun owner. So were Micah Johnson, who shot 12 Dallas police officers, and Gavin Long who shot six Baton Rouge police officers. Singer Christina Grimmie’s murderer, an apparent deranged fan in Orlando, had no criminal record. Allen Ivanov, who allegedly killed three people in Mulilteo, Washington on Saturday, was a legal gun owner. The Austin shooter, who killed one and wounded four on Saturday, has not yet been identified.
Criminals do obey laws. In fact, of 81 mass shooters since 1981, all but 12 were legal gun owners says Mother Jones.
- Gun-Free Zones Cause Gun Violence
When mass shootings occur in gun prevalent zones like the recent Dallas and Baton Rouge police shootings, the NRA likes to change the subject. Last year, gunmen attacked the “gun-free zones” (not) of the Dallas police station, Little Rock Air Force Base and Chattanooga recruitment centers. The gun lobby tried to pretend the Chattanooga recruitment centers were gun-free, but the military press reported that servicemen had personal weapons on them and shot back—saving no one and not stopping the murderer. Again, the good guys with guns did not stop the bad guys with guns. And yes, the murderer was a legal gun owner.
- Guns Provide Self-Defense
President Reagan was surrounded by hyper-vigilant Secret Service and local police officers but a would-be assassin with a cheap handgun was able to shoot all six of its bullets–hitting the president, his press secretary and two officers before being subdued. (Imagine how many people would have been hit if the assailant had a semi-automatic handgun.) Clearly, the element of surprise trumps training and preparedness whether President Reagan’s shooting or the 18 police officers shot this summer. Another example, of course, is the “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, arguably the best shot in the United States but shot and killed on a gun range.
- High Capacity Magazines Make No Difference in Numbers Killed
After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, parents testified that 11 children would be alive today if the murderer had had to reload. The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre (pictured) however, retorted that law-abiding gun owners often need high capacity magazines for “self-defense.” Right. Military style weapons and high capacity magazines are the clear choice of mass shooters including recent ones from the Dallas police murderer who used an AK-47 to the Baton Rouge police murderer who used an AK-15 style weapon to last week’s Mulilteo, Washington murderer who used an AR-15.