IF ONLY THEY WERE ARMED

June 24, 2017

 

by

Elliot Fineman

CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council

 

Less than two years ago, attackers killed 89 at the Bataclan theatre in Paris and injured another 368 people. Donald Trump, Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich, unable to wait for the three days of mourning then-President Hollande had called for, declared “if only the people in the theater had been armed things would have been different.”

 

While campaigning for the presidency, Donald Trump continued to blame gun violence on “gun-free zones.” For example, he said, the 89 who died in the Bataclan theater in Paris might be alive today if they had been armed. He did not explain how, in the dark, the thousands of people in the audience––having pulled their guns out––would know the good guys holding guns from the bad and not shoot each other or innocent bystanders. Nor did he explain how untrained carriers would shoot accurately when studies show that fully trained police officers in the U.S. miss seven out of 10 shots.

 

Now, after last week’s shooting of Republican members of Congress while they practiced for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, the same ignorant and opportunistic talk is emerging. The problem wasn’t that a clearly unbalanced and violent person could legally buy assault weapons, the problem was baseball playing lawmakers were unarmed said both Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative Tom Garrett of Virginia.

 

 

 

The gunman at the baseball practice carried a legally purchased 9-millimeter handgun and a SKS 7.62-millimeter semiautomatic assault rifle which he bought despite domestic and gun violence charges in his past and widely reported alcoholism. He was able to fire 60 shots before being subdued.

 

More than 200 rounds of ammunition and additional SKS rifle components were found in a storage unit the gunman had rented.

 

Like the Paris nightclub shootings, the carnage could not have been stopped by untrained, fearful lawmakers and their aids. In fact, two armed Capitol Police officers themselves were wounded and did not stop the gunman.

 

Recently, NGVAC tested gun carrier self-defense with 77 volunteers at the Prince George’s County police department in Maryland with Mount St. Mary’s University criminologist professors. Even with their guns drawn (so they would not lose time retrieving them from holsters), civilians, including highly trained ones, were unable to approach the accuracy and judgment of trained police officers in all scenarios.

 

Civilians were “killed” despite their weapons, failed to stop the bad guys and even “shot” at unarmed bad guys. Civilians didn’t even take cover reported the Washington Post on our research. “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.”

 

To blame the baseball shootings from which Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana is still recovering on the baseball players being unarmed is an insult to the intelligence of the public and lawmakers. But it keeps the discussion away from questioning why unbalanced, violent citizens—intent on murder—can legally buy all the guns they want including military style weapons.

 

National Gun Victims Action Council
www.gunvictimsaction.org/donate

www.gunvictimsaction.org

 

 


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