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Do Good Guys Stop Bad Guys With Guns?

This month The Daily Show presented some research and thoughts to suggest that despite the cry from gun supporters, the truth is that Good Guys virtually never stop Bad Guys with guns or that Good Guys are not even generally capable or qualified to do so. I want to address the facts and opinions that were presented.

Good guy with gunFirst, on the show they suggested that after an average citizen obtains the minimum required training to get a concealed carry permit, in simulators they still fail to address mass shooting situations and active shooter situations properly. They came to this conclusion based on the experience of a single member of the show. First, no decent journalist (or politician) should make claims based on the experience of a single individual. With millions of Americans armed with concealed carry permits its hardly sound to suggest from the experience of one journalist (that reports for a politically bias show) that all of the permit holders out there are unqualified.

Don’t mistake my words. I heartily agree that gun owners have a responsibility (not a legal obligation) to train with and work toward mastering their firearm as it relates to self-defense in the same way that we expect anyone who gets a new job to not be good at it at first. Does that mean that we shouldn’t allow people to get new jobs or embark on any new hobby or thing unless they can first demonstrate expert performance? Of course not. Everyone has to start somewhere and speaking as the owner of an organization that teaches gun classes, in person, in 15 states, instructors always teach students about the importance of ongoing training.

Next, The Daily Show uses an FBI stat to suggest that there isn’t really any instance of good guys stopping bad guys. To quote:

According to the FBI’s report on active shooter events between 2000 and 2013, only about 3 percent were stopped by a civilian with a gun.

Please note that The Daily Show did not clarify how the FBI defines active shooter events in the report. Active shooter situations are fairly rare events as the FBI defines them.

The FBI report includes all events regardless if they took place in a place where a good guy with a gun is legally able to have it. The obvious solution is to remove the barriers that create no gun zones where good guys can’t go with guns. Arguably, the FBI report would be more relevant to the argument if it only reported on events that took place where good guys with guns are allowed to be.

Further, a measurement of what percentage of events are stopped by a good guy is a poor way of measuring the opportunity for good guys to stop said events. In order for the statistics to be sound and relevant the report would have to analyze the number of events at which there was an opportunity for a good guy who was present and armed to stop the shooter and then measure that against how many of those events were successfully stopped by the good guy. Put differently, if the FBI analyzes 100 active shooter events and 3 of them were stopped by a good guy with a gun then it is accurate to say that only 3 percent were stopped by a good guy. However, that isn’t relevant to the argument unless the report shows that all 100 events had a good guy with a gun present and that 97% of those good guys failed to stop the shooter.

In fact if the FBI report reflected how many of those events had a good guy with a gun present I suspect that we would find that a good guy with a gun is the best chance we have of stopping an active shooter and the obvious solution would be to arm good guys.

In case you are curious if good guys with guns really stop crimes and shootings you won’t have to look very far. You can check our archive of “Justified Shooters” to get started but there are websites that are dedicated to sharing the many daily instances of good guys with guns in action.

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10 Responses to Do Good Guys Stop Bad Guys With Guns?

  1. Margaret Handley December 31, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    A good statistic would require filtering out “active shooter” events that occured where guns are forbidden, such as government buildings, medical facilities, most business offices, and all schools and THEN see which of those events actually had an armed good guy present who failed to stop the shooter compared to the ones where the shooter was stopped.
    I have thought for a long time that people who own weapons should be required to continue training in the use and care of their weapons especially if they plan on carrying the weapon outside of their home. I also think that gun organizations and the government should funnel funds into public safety messages on gun safety, just like for car safety, to reinforce safe carry and safe handling and safe storage practices.

  2. Irvin Queen December 31, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

    How can a Citizen get Training , if He does not yet have a gun ?

    • Irvin Queen December 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

      I would like info on my comment, not having asked before, Please

      • RG in KC May 18, 2016 at 11:41 am #

        Many shooting ranges have options to rent a pistol. One near me has everything from pistols to UZI machine guns to rent. You need to buy ammo, but to become familiar with all of the different types and different caliber rounds,

        Try it beforehand is a great thing to do of that is an available option. I regularly carry a full-frame Glock 20 (10mm) IWB with a VersaCarry.

      • Jeffrey July 1, 2016 at 4:24 am #

        Many gun shops have ranges allowing you to try different guns out, if your unfamiliar with guns they will usualy have a guy go in with you and show you how to shoot each one etc, as in getting additional training you can take classes on them , some CCW classes you don’t need a weapon because the instructor will be teaching fundamentals etc , some classes don’t require a shoot section in a class. The gun shop here has a gun familiarization course 101 which is free for the public and if you have a gun you can bring it or if you dont have a gun they will let you handle a gun , go through the motions with in house guns etc, then if you want you can purchase ammo for a certain gun you may like, then theirs the CCW class which is the next step up with pepole who already have guns or shop around for a firearms instructor /range that let’s you use their guns and plenty of places you can get additional training you can rent their guns if you find the right place

    • Jacob Paulsen January 1, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

      Irvin, in most places in the US anyone can buy a gun who can pass a background check. Only a limited number of states/cities require any sort of license or training to just touch and/or buy a gun.

    • Gene January 1, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

      You can attend training classes at places like FrontSight where they will rent you all the equipment and sell you the ammo at a reasonable cost. All you have to provide is a clean background report.

    • Jerry June 6, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      Many gun stores have shooting ranges and offer training.

  3. LEON DAVILO January 1, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    if you do not like hand guns it will take longer to instruct and teach you since you are willing to learn and with a caring instructor you will be a responsible firearms owner .

  4. Jeffrey Turner July 1, 2016 at 4:12 am #

    2 good guys with guns stopped a shootout in a walmart parking lot in Augusta , Maine this past sunday!! The shooters were from Rochester NY ( carrying illegal guns) doing a drug sale when they started shooting at each other ( 1 guy got grazed in the head by a bullet) it proceeded to them getting out of their vehicles and luckily the guy with the Glock accidentaly ejected his magazine ( 17 round capacity) which is illegal in NY anyways but legal in Maine , anyways 1 good guy with his wife, mother in law and his 17 yo daughter and 8 yo son were backing out when the shots initiAly were fired. He put his vehicle in park exited it and ran towards the ruckus ( armed & another good guy ( off duty FF CCW carrier too) ran up and the 1st guy kicked the dumped magazine away and the dropped Glock because the 2 drug dealers were fisting it out both good guys yelled they were armed and told the 2 drug dealers to stop it ( they did) and both good guys held the bad guys at bay untill the police arribed ( 7 minutes later) at the same time their was a crowd surrounding the scene. All I can think is if that magazine had not had fallen out that when the w bad guys exited their vehicles their could have been fatalities because of onlookers!! It was a Sunday afternoon at 530 in the afternoon and I’ve personally been to this super walmart when visiting the VA Hospital theirs all kinds of stores in this shopping center

    It’s kind of shameful that the papers reporting this reported the shootout , drug deal etc gone bad but wasn’t untill the very last paragraph, in the paper did they mention it was stopped by 2 armed bystanders!!
    Our state is low crime and our Governor caught crap for saying out of state drug dealers coming up here etc , named like Huey, Louie, Duie,! The papers were mad, then when Constitutional Carry bill was passed ( Everytown & mom’s ( Bloomturd funded morons screamed it’s gonna be the wild west), anyways once it was passed our GOV saidv (load up and take care of the drug dealers) LOL!!’
    Unfortunatly Everytown &:Mom’s demand action used the money Bloomturd gave them to collect 60,000 signatures for anti -gun bills which they don’t delve into they lied about the initiative and got ALL the signatures from Southern Maine because it’s mostly Transplants ftom anti gun states , liberal and Demorat haven!! Northern Maine we carry guns, have them in the back windows of our trucks!
    Where this happened was in Augusta Maine ! Our STATE CAPITOL!! & 7 min response time!! Northern Maine your lucky to get an officer in 20 min and his backup maybe 30 min or more away.
    I was thanked I CCW by a local cop because I’m retired CG and Beenjoy through the milt cop school and qualified every 6 months and did the shot don’t shoot quals.
    But you don’t hear anything about stories like this.
    Wherr 2 good guys stopped the bad guys !!

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