Just as predictable as the swarm of conservatives who spent the past eight years condoning violent rhetoric against the first African-American President emerging to call for more “civility” in wake of yesterday’s Alexandria shooting was the wave of gun nuts arguing that the shooting presented evidence for their claim that we need more citizens armed and carrying concealed weapons in the U.S.
Now, it seemed not to matter to them that those who responded to the shooting were not armed citizens but a trained security detail. It also didn’t seem to trouble them that even these trained professionals took casualties and could not immediately stop the shooter despite heroic action on their part.
For the gundamentalist adherents of the Church of the Holy Second Amendment, every shooting in the United States is neither a moment to reflect on just how easy it is to get a deadly weapon nor time to consider how it is fewer guns, not more, that will make our communities safer.
Like Montana legislators, pumped up on their John Wayne fantasies, these absolutists are absolutely convinced that adding the steely gaze and iron nerve of an “armed citizen” will prevent most mass shootings from happening and quickly end those that begin.
This faith in the power of the gun is problematic when one looks at the statistics, however. In its study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013, the the FBI found that exactly one was stopped by an armed citizen with a valid firearms permit.
The .6% of active shootings stopped by the mythical “good guy with a gun” demonstrates that the idea that more guns will prevent these kinds of shootings is not based in fact, but rests on the mistaken belief that more guns won’t lead to more accidental shootings, more confusion and danger for law enforcement on the scene, and precious few Second Amendment heroes saving the day.
After every mass shooting in the United States, we’re told it’s not the right time to “politicize” gun violence, but we absolutely need to have a conversation about the reality of firearms, not the myths constructed by those who believe more guns are always the answer.
When can we have that conversation? Before the next shooting?