With all the discussions about people having guns at churches for self-defense, Dr. John Lott has a new piece at Fox News that details some of the cases where people have used permitted concealed handguns to stop mass public shootings:
Stephen Willeford’s heroic actions last Sunday saved many lives at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The killer, Devin Kelley, was shooting the wounded when Willeford showed up with a rifle. Willeford’s quick actions forced Kelley to stop his attack, presumably saving the lives of the twenty wounded and possibly many more.
The press derided President Trump for saying that Willeford saved many lives with his gun, and that stricter gun control regulations would have only made things worse.
It is only too bad that someone with a concealed handgun permit wasn’t already at the church. We may never have heard of the shooting — national news stories are virtually never done on permit holders stopping mass public shootings.
An article at Fox News this past week mentions four such cases. It talks about a 1997 shooting at a high school in Pearl, Mississippi; a 2007 church attack in Colorado Springs; and a Chicago Uber driver who in 2015 shot and wounded a man who opened fire on a crowd. The most recent case was a 2017 church shooting in Antioch, Tennessee. But those cases just skim the surface.
A 2014 FBI report claims that only once between 2000 and 2013 did a concealed handgun permit holder stop a public shooting (they claimed to look at all cases where guns were fired in public that weren’t part of a gang fight or some other crime). This single case occurred in Winnemucca, Nevada in May 2008, when a customer with a permit fatally shot an attacker who had just killed two people. They didn’t even include the 2007 church shooting in Colorado Springs, where a killer had already taken two lives at the church before being stopped by a permit holder.
This false claim just shows how politicized the FBI became under the Obama administration. Many times, police, sheriffs, and prosecutors have gone on the record and credited permit holders with saving many lives. These attacks didn’t get national news attention, but they would have been on front pages everywhere if a permit holder hadn’t intervened.
There are countless examples of people using guns in self-defense at their homes or workplaces. But I want to focus on a much narrower set of cases where permit holders stopped public shootings. Here are 10 additional recent cases.
— Arlington, Texas, May 3, 2017: A police spokesman stated that the concealed handgun permit holder “prevented further loss of life.” A Dallas Morning News headline read: “‘Hero’ stopped mass murder by crazed bar patron who was armed to the teeth, police say.”
— Lyman, South Carolina, June 30, 2016: Just a couple of weeks after the Orlando massacre, 32-year-old Jody Ray Thompson opened fire on another nightclub. Fortunately, permitted concealed handguns were allowed in South Carolina bars. Thompson was able to shoot three people before the permit holder fired back and wounded Thompson in the leg. Fox 5 in Atlanta reports: “At least one South Carolina sheriff are crediting a man with a concealed carry permit with preventing further violence at a nightclub this past Sunday.”
— Winton, Ohio, July 26, 2015: A man started shooting at four people who were walking outside on a summer’s evening. Fortunately, a concealed handgun permit holder fired at the attacker, giving the four people a chance to escape into their home.
— Conyers, Georgia, May 31, 2015: A man killed two people at a liquor store and continued shooting at others until a permit holder ran inside and exchanged fire. The killer then fled the store. “I believe that if Mr. Scott did not return fire at the suspect then more of those customers would have [been] hit by a gun,” said Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett. “So in my opinion he saved other lives in that store.”
— New Holland, South Carolina, May 5, 2015: New Holland Fire Department volunteers were hosting a children’s day event with ice cream and fire truck rides, when a man started shooting. Fortunately, two firemen were permit holders and were able to stop the attack. . . .
The rest of the pieces and examples are available here.