On November 1, The Week claimed that self-defense gun uses are really not that common, therefore, “most civilians don’t have the skills to handle” a situation where a criminal with a gun is trying to kill them or others.
The Week also claims armed law-abiding citizens rarely “foil mass shootings.” They base this claim on an FBI report that was released last election cycle–one which Breitbart News questioned upon release and which The Wall Street Journal later revealed to be full of incorrect information.
For example, the authors of the study–Texas State University’s J. Pete Blair and M. Hunter Martaindale–admitted essentially making up data for part of the study because they could not find extant data that supported their thesis. Blair and Martaindale said, “Because official data did not contain the information we needed, we had to develop our own.”
So The Week relies on this debunked study to support their claim that armed Americans rarely “foil mass shootings.” And in the seven events where the study admitted an armed American did foil such a shooting, The Week made sure to point out that the armed American was an off-duty officer or “armed security [guard]” the majority of the time. i.e., average Americans are not stopping such crimes.
Two important points. The first has already been noted, and that is that the study The Week relied on is riddled with error, it’s own authors admitted it. The second is that it will always be hard to find law-abiding citizens who foil a mass shooting in a gun free zone. And make no mistake about it, that is where mass shootings most often occur. This fact alone means law-abiding citizens will be unarmed, sitting ducks just like everyone else in the room when the gunman decides it’s go time.
Instead of putting these things together and reversing course, The Week extrapolates their final contention from the debunked study; namely, that “most civilians don’t have the skills to handle an active-shooter situation.” To be fair, an “active shooter” situation can vary considerably. But in a classroom, church, or business setting where the gunman goes victim-to-victim at his own pace–because his victims are unarmed, thus unable to fight back–having a gun for self-defense could be a game changer.