An armed citizen has almost never stopped a mass shooter, and has never stopped a terrorist.
Rhetoric vs. Research: 7 Facts About Guns Every American Should Know
4. Do most mass shootings take place in public gun-free zones?
5. Is “the good guy with a gun” an effective strategy to stop or prevent active shooter situations?
Mass Shootings in the United States
There’s no evidence whatsoever that shooters target locations because they are known to be gun-free. True motives are always personal.
US Mass Shootings, 1982–2023: Data From Mother Jones’ Investigation
The full data set from our in-depth investigation into mass shootings
A Mother Jones analysis found that the primary motive for a shooter to target a specific location is a personal or emotional grievance, such as workplace disputes, school bullying, or domestic violence.
Men, Masculinities, and Murder-Suicide
A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013
According to the FBI, most of the mass shooting incidents in the US occur either in private homes or public places where civilians are free to carry guns. In 63% of the mass shootings, the shooter had some type of relationship with the victims. It’s the personal motivation – not the number of guns likely to be present in a place – that defines the choice of a location in most mass shootings.
According to the FBI, of 160 incidents:
21 were stopped by unarmed citizens
Armed individuals stopped six incidents (four of them were trained security guards)
Two incidents were stopped by armed civilians – one was a former US Marine, and the other an off-duty police officer
According to a 2015 analysis of gun violence data, 57% of mass shooting victims in 2010-2015 were family members and intimate partners, with women and children accounting for two-thirds of victims.
Most mass shooters are on a suicide mission
School Shooters: Understanding High School, College, and Adult Perpetrators
"Dr. Peter Langman, a clinical psychologist, and author of School Shooters: Understanding High School, College, and Adult Perpetrators, explains that many mass shooters go on a suicide mission – either by their own hand or by cop. In which case, armed security is never a deterrent 'because they’re not trying to get away with it.'”
Gun-free zones are relatively safe
The “gun-free zone” rhetoric also conveniently ignores the fact that these zones are among the safest in the country. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report, less than 2% of youth homicides and less than 1% of non-fatal gun injuries occur at gun-free schools and college campuses. On the contrary, extensive evidence suggests that more guns lead to more firearm-related deaths and injuries in public places.
"RESISTING CRIME: THE EFFECTS OF VICTIM ACTION ON THE OUTCOMES OF CRIMES"
Crime victims who use weapons other than guns for self-defense are less likely to sustain injuries than those who use a firearm.
Hospital-Based Shootings in the United States: 2000 to 2011
25% of US hospital-based shootings that occurred from 2000-2011 were carried out by a gun taken from a security officer.
There’s little evidence suggesting civilians can stop the so-called bad guys during active shooter situations. Armed citizens often lack training in high-risk situations and can actually make it harder for law enforcement to minimize damage.
A 2012 analysis of 62 mass shootings found that armed bystanders increased the number of innocent people injured and killed.
The NRA Myth of Gun-Free Zones
Data shows the gun lobby’s chief argument for more firearms in schools, malls, and beyond is just plain wrong.
The NRA Myth of Arming the Good Guys
Mass shootings in the US are on the rise—and ordinary citizens with guns don’t stop them.
Unsurprisingly, law enforcement officials overwhelmingly oppose the idea of involving armed civilians in active shooter situations. It makes it far more difficult to control a situation where the first objective is to identify which of the shooters is the bad guy.
Gun-free zones, School shootings
A place to find quick links to facts that support reality. Good for ending debates quickly, especially repeated debates.
Not intended as a place for discussion.
Not intended as a place for discussion.
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