Pro-Gun Group Largely Agrees With Our “Pseudo Report”

Elliot Fineman


National Gun Victims Action Council


March 3, 2017


Two years ago, Bearing Arms, a leading pro-gun website, ridiculed our objection to the TrackingPoint military-style sniper rifle that lets someone who has never fired a gun always hit a target the size of a cell phone from 1,000 yards away.


One year ago, Bearing Arms called NGVAC “fanatical fascists” for asking President Obama to declare a national state of emergency over gun violence. Violent crime is not an “’epidemic’” said the gun advocacy group–2014 had “less than 8,500” firearm homicide victims.


Now, the gun advocacy group finds itself agreeing with the 57-page report of the independent study we commissioned from professors of criminology, sociology and quantitative research at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland, conducted at the Prince George’s County police department training facilities. The name of the study was: Firearms Training Self-Defense & Does the Quality and Frequency of Training Determine the Realistic Use of Firearms by Citizens for Self-Defense?




Test subjects, with varying skill levels, who participated in the research were allowed to have their guns drawn during three simulated scenarios the Prince George force uses (a carjacking, an armed robbery and a suspected larceny). The result was that civilians, including trained ones, never approached the accuracy and judgment of trained police officers–the quality and frequency of firearms training completely determined citizens’ ability to defend themselves.


While Bob Owens of Bearing Arms agrees with the basic findings of our research–that “concealed carry certification courses mandated by many states… are inadequate,” that “quality firearms training is invaluable” and that “scenario-based training…is imperative…to survive a real-world encounter”–he also terms our study “pseudo-scientific.”


Why? A citizen’s gun use is “radically different” from law enforcement officers who often have “no idea who the good guys or bad guys are” he writes. There is “far less shoot/don’t shoot ambiguity” with citizens because they know the bad guy “because of his current violent actions.”


When a citizen sees someone being robbed by a gunman at the grocery store, he only needs to determine if the gunman “constitutes a deadly force threat, and determine whether he wants to get involved, and if so, if he wants to open fire,” explains Owens. There are at least two risks to such vigilantism. The gunman may “turn around and blow” the carrier away without warning, writes Owens and police may mistake the vigilante for the gunman if he doesn’t call “911 and identify yourself as a concealed carrier who was forced to shoot an armed robber in self defense.”


Another reason our research is pseudo, says Owens, is “the subjects of the test were forced to role-play in a law-enforcement training scenario” forgetting that he just called scenario-based training “imperative” and ignoring the fact that a car jacking is a real world citizen risk.


If NGVAC “actually gave a damn about determining the importance of training and how much training is required to prevail in a gunfight, they wouldn’t have to rely on scenarios, but could instead put in the work and post the results showing the level of formal training must (sic) victors in gunfights have under their belts,” concludes Owens.


While the two types of research are not mutually exclusive, we welcome Owens’ research suggestion. If supplied with police reports and the cooperation to interview “victors in gunfights,” NGVAC will gladly study their training level and invites Bearing Arms to collaborate with us in this study.


Why does the quality of training matter? A growing number of states are passing laws that make mandatory training requirements for carrying a gun illegal. The result is that people who have never even fired a gun or received any training at all are carrying guns in public. Does anyone really believe that these people will be able to defend themselves? Further, with pending federal “reciprocity” laws they will soon be free to carry in any state or city.