“Suppose I’m legally carrying a concealed gun at a business when armed robbers show up,” Jan Miller postulates in her letter to latimes.com. “Fearing for my life, I just want to get out of the store, but the front door is the only way out. Let’s assume I can’t tell who is whom by how they’re dressed.” OK, that’s the set-up. TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia is sure to have some tactical advice for Ms. Miller’s thought experiment. Find cover or concealment, draw your weapon and wait to see what develops. Never draw on a drawn gun – unless you have to. Bottom line: it’s better to have a gun in that situation than not in case the armed robbers decide to kill everyone. Ms. Miller doesn’t see it that way . . .
How will I know which of these gunfighters to shoot as I try to get through the doors to safety? Should I just kill anyone between the door and me? Will any police officers who arrive know that I am not one of the robbers? Suppose an undercover officer “looks like” a robber and I shoot him, thinking I’m a “good guy with a gun” taking care of a “bad guy with a gun.” What do I tell their families? “My bad”?
Hey Jan! There’s no getting around it: shit happens. As the Rabbi taught me back in the day, you can do everything right in a gunfight and still die. And you’re absolutely right: a good guy can shoot a good guy by mistake (just ask the police). But just because bad things can happen to a good guy with a gun doesn’t mean carrying a gun is a zero sum game. In other words . . .
Successful defensive gun uses, Jan. Millions of ’em! Statistically speaking, every day in America at least 100 people uses a gun to defend their life or the life of their loves ones – without dying! Or getting wounded. Or wounding a good guy. In fact, there are plenty of researchers that reckon most defensive gun uses end without a shot being fired (or a report being filed, hence the conjecture).
Bottom line: the chances of a good guy with a gun shooting the wrong person or getting shot in a gunfight are far less than the chances of a successful outcome. Think about it logically: if that wasn’t true millions of Americans wouldn’t carry a gun – no matter what the NRA said. Why would they?
For those of us who’ve already made that calculation, and work to defend and extend our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, Ms. Miller’s FUD indicates that we’re on the right track when we highlight successful defensive gun uses. If we can expose antis or (more likely) fence-straddlers to the positive possibilities of armed self-defense they might reconsider their irrational opposition.
Take them to the range, show them that guns can be handled safely, that they can handle a gun safely, and . . . that’s about as good as it gets, conversion-wise. (Showing them David Kenik’s Shoot/No Shoot video wouldn’t hurt, either.) True?