Question of the Day: Would The Ottawa Attack Have Happened in Austin, Texas?

Austin, Texas state house (courtesy 900congress.com)

Texas residents who hold a concealed weapons permit – or an out-of-state carry permit recognized by the Lone Star State – can enter the Austin state capitol armed. Does the presence of a significant number of armed Americans deter terrorist attacks like what happened in Canada’s parliament yesterday? What about all those states that don’t allow concealed carry inside their legislatures or other public buildings? Do those states’ armed guards and security theater screening prevent a terrorist assaut? Or do our sworn enemies not take any of that into consideration? While we’re at it, more guns, less terrorism?

comments

  1. avatar v v ind says:

    Well considering that almost every spree shooting takes place where the shooter knows they’ll encounter the least resistance.

    1. avatar borg says:

      The end results of an attempted attack in Austin would result in all of the attackers having more holes in them than Swiss cheese.

      1. avatar Sammy says:

        Agreed. It could have been attempted in The Lone Star State capital, but the ending would most probably have been quite different. The fatal attack on Cpl. Cirillo shows offense has an advantage over defense, in the sense that in a surprise attack no human has the trained reaction to prevail, especially if they have an inoperable firearm.

        1. avatar Justin says:

          This. +100000000

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Not if you count the titular attack in Ottawa. I’m pretty sure if they wanted to face no resistance they could have found a better spot to attack than Parliament.

      Yes, it could happen anywhere. And that’s why I carry.

    3. avatar JasonM says:

      Somebody did some analysis here on TTAG a few months back showing that most mass shooters had a strong link to the target location, and the location fit into their delusional schemes to get revenge on the world. So it might not be that they intentionally target easy targets, but our stupid gun laws (is that redundant?) make those places easy targets.

    4. avatar Chris says:

      I think the important factor is not the possibility of armed resistance, because in Canada and now New York we have seen attacks on armed targets. However, in conservative parts of Texas these radical views are probably more likely to be challenged in debate rather than politely ignored or even encouraged by empty-headed PC-types.

  2. avatar JohnB says:

    I think the number I saw here on this site was that 90% of “active shooters” suicided or were stopped by anyone armed who confronted them. The main problem with these people (Al Queda or Daesh/ISIL) is that they want to die and, as anybody who has been there knows, it is very hard to kill someone who wants to die.The other problem is that when the LEO’s show up they tned to shoot anyone in sight untill they are out of ammunition.

    So the answer to you question is, No. The bad guys are going for the soft targets first.

  3. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Since the Ottawa attack happened mostly inside government buildings (which are still gun free in most places), I doubt a similar attack would have ended much differently in the US. Now, if a Kenyan mall style attack were attempted in a pro gun state, I am fairly confident the results would be VERY different.

    1. avatar JWTaylor says:

      To be clear, it is completely legal to carry a concealed firearm (with a CHL permit) inside of Texas state government buildings. You can’t carry inside of a building while judicial actions are taking place (like inside of a courtroom while court is in session) but you can take a pistol right inside of the Capitol and right into the House of Representatives chambers even right now. In fact, if you have a CHL permit in the Capitol, you skip the security line by showing it. It is actually faster to enter the Capitol legally armed than unarmed.

      1. avatar Gene says:

        In Virginia, it’s legal to carry in the General Assembly Buildings if you have a CHP.

        https://www.vcdl.org/chp

      2. avatar Dr. Vinnie Boombotz says:

        Yup. Gotta love the fact that they give CHL holders their own express lane to get in the Capitol! (last time I was there anyhow)

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Yeah, it makes it easier for the bad guys to figure out who to shoot first.

      3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        Close, but not quite right.

        It’s true you may legally carry while licensed into government buildings (state, county and municipal) in Texas, but there are two major exceptions:

        1. While any official government meeting is underway in the building.

        2. Buildings where carry is prohibited by statute regardless of activity, official or otherwise, taking place inside.

        The Texas state capitol building is open to licensed carry right now, but only because the legislature is not currently in session and actually meeting. Come January, even licensed carry will be off limits, as the Legislature will be meeting. (This fact also mars the comparison to Canada today, as their Parliament was in session and just as “gun free” as our state capitol will be in January.)

        Buildings such as courts and schools are carry-prohibited, flatly, by statute. It does not matter whether court is in session or the school is conducting classes at that moment.

        It’s not merely an academic point, either. Consider the county tax assessor-collector building. Don’t carry while official property tax review boards are hearing property tax valuation protests, as that’s an official proceeding. What about when those aren’t being held and you pop in just to register and transfer title on a used car you just bought? Can you licensed-carry there then?

        Nope, don’t do it. Why? Because that same buildings also house the Justice of the Peace (small claims court), too. So the whole building is off limits to legal licensed carry.

        Strangely, Texas has seen courthouse murders and spree shootings before, despite these ironclad laws banning guns…..and murders. Huh. (See the footage online from the 2005 Tyler, TX courthouse spree shooting. Scary stuff.)

        1. avatar John says:

          Yep, recently bought a car and had to go to the new building for the tax assessor to do the title transfer, which now has all of the local courts as well. Can’t carry even a knife inside, has airport style security entry.

          Funny thing though (at least to me), the printed signs all say “Weapons Free Zone”, which to me and likely many of you, means something totally different than what they intend.

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    Neither the fake security infrastructure or the knowledge that a carrier may be on the grounds would deter a nut from acting nutty.

    Folks who believe there is a deterrent quality assume too much of the lunatic actor. Very little thought and planning go into these events despite what the media says. The media thinks if you bought a rifle 5 years ago and shot somebody at the coffee shop tomorrow you must have spent that five year period meticulously plotting and scheming your great super-villianesque assault.

    If people could carry at VT Cho still would have done what he did. If people could carry at that theater Holmes still would have done what he did. If teachers could carry at Sandy Hook what’s his name still would have done what he did. They all would have been stopped much much sooner and lots of lives would have been saved but they still would have gone where they did to do what they did.

    The best outcome would be a good guy with whatever tool putting down the bad guy with whatever tool ASAP.

    1. avatar HamChuck says:

      I don’t know about Holmes. He is nuts not stupid. I think the fact that he chose neither the closest nor most crowded theater, but the one that banned concealed carry as his target would argue against your supposition.

      Planning for maximum effect prior to meeting resistance makes sense on the part of the Jihadist/Paychopath.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Cho was downtown Blacksburg buying chains etc. for hours without going ballistic in the midst of armed people, went back to guaranteed unarmed strangers to work his evil. I graduated VT in ’69, can tell you we’re talking about a 5-10 minute walk, but he waited until he was safe from CC people before resuming his murders (he had already murdered a couple people, VT security did not see fit to shut down the campus. Trust that security to protect you.)

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Absolutely. Well said.

    3. avatar HeySpanky says:

      I think Bilbo here makes a good argument. Crazy is as crazy does. Our greatest pro gun fallacy is that we try to apply rational though to an irrational mind. If you think that killing a large number of people is a good idea, then I’m willing to bet that your cheese has slid off your cracker.

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        Define crazy?

        As we speak, in certain predominantly Muslim nations, children are taught from birth that all infidels are evil, that we must be killed, and that it is morally right to do so. They believe they will go to heaven after slicing off someone’s head. They are surrounded by like-minded people and the indoctrination process proceeds in the absence of critical thought.

        Are they crazy? Or would they plan their attacks as meticulously as Dwight Eisenhower planned D-Day?

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I believe you are completely correct, and that illustrates that we need to be at war with the entire culture, since it is producing tens of thousands more murderous nutbars every year. We will never be free of the threat until that culture is disassembled, crushed, eliminated from the face of the planet. They wish to build an expensive mosque at Ground Zero, they should be allowed to do so, and then the edifice dynamited, everyone protesting that deported. Every mosque in America, for a start.

  5. avatar Craig says:

    Austin if full of liberals and people from liberal places, so sure, might’ve taken awhile to put the guy(s) down.

    But why would terrorists go after the Texas state capitol? Not very important in comparison to DC or NYC. Plus you know people in those two towns are disarmed.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      There were plenty of guns going after that guy, I don’t see how Austin could have been less hospitable.

  6. avatar Nick D says:

    It might have still happened, but it wouldn’t have lasted very long…

  7. avatar GWHNick says:

    It is less likely, but it can happen anywhere. Look at what happened to Gabby Giffords right in this gun paradise known as Arizona. Loughner didn’t meet armed resistance and this is one place where a CCL holder (it was before constitutional carry here) would be expected to intervene. Maybe it was the crowd element, who knows. Point is that it is less likely to happen in Austin than say Los Angeles, but a crazy person is crazy and they are going to do whatever it is that is driving them regardless of where they are at.

    1. avatar HamChuck says:

      IIRC, there was a CHL at the Giffords shooting. He didn’t pull for reasons I can’t recall. Too crowded maybe, or he froze up. It happens.

      1. avatar John M. says:

        He was late to the scene and noticed that the Glock the guy was waving around had its slide locked back so opted to watch a bit longer before shooting him. As it turned out, the guy waving the Glock right then was a good guy who had wrestled it away from the shooter when the shooter had stopped to reload. The shooter was at that moment at the bottom of a pig pile of good guys.

        1. avatar HamChuck says:

          Thanks John,

          I was in Korea then so I didn’t get the whole story. Sounds like the CHL did exactly the right thing.

    2. avatar JasonM says:

      It was a rally for a democrat in Arizona, so the chances of a concealed carrier were lower than for the general population.

  8. avatar ADC USN/Ret says:

    I believe that it easily could and will happen in the United States.

    The reason, you ask? Is simple, whether the Islamist are legal/illegal aliens or home grown, it is their way of life and death.

    The parents may be law abiding, but what about their dissatisfied kids?

    The concern is that the Pres wants more of them. Insanity runs deep in the current administration. The proof is in the pudding and they wont look at the facts as long as they can manipulate them to suit their idealized perception of the world.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Does the presence of a significant number of armed Americans deter terrorist attacks? No. Terrorists expect to die. As legal firearm carriers, we may find ourselves in the unfortunate position of making sure they do.

    1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      ^^^This. And don’t freeze up like Brendan McKown. If you are going to intervene against someone willing to shoot unarmed people (political terrorist or lone lunatic), you better be willing to pull the trigger as many times as it would take to stop the threat.

  10. avatar William says:

    I can’t see how Texas could have done any better. After all they put that dog down pretty damn quick didn’t they?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Well, he did kill a uniformed military member in broad daylight, then made it several blocks to Parliament before being capped. In Austin, I don’t think he’d have gotten that far. Probably would have died on the street, a few paces from the soldier he killed.

  11. avatar Jim R says:

    It definitely could’ve happened in Austin. It could happen in my hometown as easily as yours. The difference is in how long it would’ve lasted before someone put the jackal down.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Correct.

  12. avatar jdb says:

    Here’s a question: if the honor guard had been armed, you know, with guns that were actually loaded, would one of them have had to die? Oh, and if they’d had bullets, presumably the shooter wouldn’t have made it to Parliament.

  13. avatar borg says:

    The end results of an attempted attack in Austin would result in all of the attackers having more holes in them than Swiss cheese.

  14. avatar Bdub says:

    Could have happened….yes. Would….well, it wouldn’t be my first choice for the attempt – too likely to meet resistance.

  15. avatar Terry says:

    I don’t think that something like this is likely to happen in the Texas capitol building just because of our fairly permissive concealed carry laws – but, it IS Austin with all its sprout-eaters and UT liberal arts hipsters running around loose and unarmed, so….maybe it could happen.
    But, I would like to think that there are more attractive targets for the whack-a-doodle terrorists to consider for attack that might have a lot less risk.
    And they sure as Hell wouldn’t try anything in College Station!

  16. avatar Tom in Georgia says:

    Well, these are uncertain times…and the only certainty is that there will be more and more ‘random’ attacks like that in Ottawa, and elsewhere. So my answer is unfortunately, YES it could happen in Austin, or anywhere else, even a free state. Slave states just make it easier to be a target but no one is completely immune. That’s just life, though.

    Consider this: Corporal Cirillo had a rifle, but no access to ammunition, so for all intents and purposes he was armed with a club. What’s that saying about carrying a club to a gunfight?

    I observed a comment elsewhere on TTAG noting that the Old Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns did not have ammunition either and probably still don’t.

    This, more than anything, has got to change. If you’re guarding a high-profile target such as the Canadian War Memorial or Arlington National Cemetery, or whatever in any country, then you would be wise to have a proper weapon AND live ammunition on your person. There’s no reason the Old Guard shouldn’t each carry a pair of 20rd mags for their M-14’s with further supplies in the guard shack. And certainly, they have the training to use their rifles….I’d like to think so, anyway. And if you’re a civilian, then just as self-defense against regular crime, you should carry a gun everyday, everywhere you can legally do so, and in my personal opinion, a few other places besides. In my opinion there are only TWO places you can’t or shouldn’t carry – one is a jail and the other is open court. And even open court is a bit of a stretch to me – I’d grant them the benefit of the doubt only on account of an armed bailiff’s presence.

    So in short, there’s going to have to be a real sea change of mindset for there to be a tangible increase in safety and security, considering the sporadic and random nature of these attacks. Otherwise you can expect them to continue.

    Tom

    1. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

      From a logical standpoint you are right, and there is no reason he shouldn’t have at least had a magazine or two on his person. If he was doing “drills”(not sure, but stuff like what you see at the tomb of the unknown soldier) then maybe having one in the chamber may not be the best idea. That is a side point though. The bigger issue here is not the practicality of it, but the fact that many in power see no reason for a soldier to be armed(just like they see no reason for you to be armed) unless they are facing the enemies of those who would challenge them either at home or abroad. Sometimes they make exceptions for groups who are really into the power structure.

  17. avatar danthemann5 says:

    The fact that this happened in common-sense-gun-control Canada instead of crazy wild west America is telling, in and of itself.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Point!

  18. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    People have already touched on this but these assholes go into somewhere wanted to cause mayhem, fear, and destruction and then die. So I doubt the presence of armed resistance would deter them too much. Now it might make this kind of incident less deadly if a CHL got the drop on the shooter, but that’s about it. Also the last few times I have been at the Capitol here in Austin, there has been a very heavy DPS presence so any CC’er would be wise to only draw if they found themselves face to face with the attackers. All of these “mass shootings” as the media likes to call them seem to start out with “Officials looking for multiple gunmen” etc until hours after the original shooter is at room temp and no one else has been shot. I would hate to have my gun out and round a corner only to be face to face with a 1911 wielding State Trooper who is looking for the “other gunmen”.

    I’m much more worried about one of these guys blowing themselves up at the metal detector line where we all wait to get in to most of these places. No CHL or armed guard will protect you from that.

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      That last paragraph raises a really good point.
      It might be really difficult to take down an airplane these days, but how hard would it be to fill a roller bag full of explosives and blow up a TSA checkpoint with 500+ people waiting at it on November 26?
      The TSA does the terrorists’ work for them, by corralling the victims into those long lines.
      Yet another reason to avoid the airports until the TSA goes away.

      <Ding Dong!>
      Me: Who is it?
      Agent: FBI. We have some questions about your internet posts.
      Me: Ah crap!

    2. avatar Amok! says:

      +100 right here.

      There is a large DPS presence at the capitol. Draw, fire only if confronted with deadly force and holster immediately or risk getting shot from multiple angles from responding DPS. This is the 10000lb tactical elephant in the room regarding using legal deadly self defense force in the capitol.

  19. avatar Roll says:

    Not sure if true, but I think I read somewhere that during the Clock tower shooting in 1966 the Police actually let some of the citizens take turns shooting at the assailaint with their own personal rifles…

    Not too sure if the Police would let that happen now…but I dont think that might stop some people from trying lol

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Without the hunters’ suppressive fire, Whitman would have been able to kill a lot more people. That crazy bastard could really shoot.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Dozens of shooters, the police had nothing to do with it, they pulled their guns and started firing. Most guns were lever 30-30s, and they drove there from across town to dive in. Called “running to the sounds of the guns”. Few could match his accuracy, none could approach his cover, but they were there, and they were risking their lives in the attempt.

      Nobody asked the police, and nobody would ask them today. What, somebody’s shooting people, let me find a cop and ask if I can shoot at him? That’s a really silly concept.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        It’s a silly concept because the cop would probably arrest you for open carry or menacing or discharging a firearm within city limits.

  20. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    My best guess is that Islamic terrorists will attack anywhere that suits them. The main difference is that their casualty count will be lower if they attack a location in a shall-issue state and a concealed carrier happens to be close by when the attack starts.

    1. avatar Mack says:

      That’s pretty much it, in a nut shell.

  21. avatar Phil COV says:

    Austin is in Texas, but Texas isn’t in Austin.

  22. avatar JWTaylor says:

    Thousands of people can, and will legally concealed carry in the Capitol while the legislature is in session. They can not carry into the House and Senate chambers themselves while the legislators are actively engaged in creating legislation.

  23. avatar CBI says:

    I just finished an online course of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism from a European university.

    Three observations might be of interest.

    1. The professor was not hesitant to label some terrorist groups as “jihadist” or “islamicist” — something our own government has difficulty doing.

    2. For the most part, terrorists — including suicide terrorists — are rational individuals who have rational reasons for what they do and take rational steps to be successful.

    3. One effective technique for reducing the effect of terrorism is to let people follow their need to “do something”, rather than promote a feeling of helplessness by having the “government do it all”. (Yes, this was from what I’d guess was a fairly left-wing professor.) In application to concealed carry, if nothing else, the mere feeling by many individuals that they would not be helpless in the face of such an attack reduces the effectiveness of such attacks and, consequently, makes such attacks less likely.

  24. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

    The answer is a no-brainer. Those Arab/Muslim……whatever they are/were, went to the proverbial flock of sheep to inflict their terror.
    Sure they may have been able to walk up and shoot someone in Texas as it’s very hard to defend yourself against a spontaneous unprovoked attack, but the guys would have, as others pointed out, been gunned down.

    But I’m sure those brainless twits at MDA can find a way, no matter how difficult it is, to spin it to fit their agenda.

    As for Bloomberg, hell he doesn’t care. He has armed security that rivals that of heads of state security. Those guys talk into their wrists! Bloomberg is an elitist beyond elitist. It’s no damn fun to be filthy freaking rich if you can’t stomp on virtually everyone and do as you damn well please.
    Anyone wonder why that scrawny two-faced piece of sh– doesn’t have the balls to go after big tobacco?
    Because he’d get squished. That’s one industry that has more money than he does and he’d lose and he knows it. Bullies know who to bully..most of the time.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Bloomberg personally hired his former NYC protection crew to guard him now that he’s a private citizen. All SEVENTEEN of them.

  25. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    ” . . .But I’m sure those brainless twits at MDA can find a way, no matter how difficult it is, to spin it to fit their agenda. . .”

    It’s worth keeping in mind that the Mom’s believe they are unable to defend themselves. Their goal is to make us like them.

    1. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

      Security is always comprised against a perceived or likely threat. As I was saying in my previous comment, it is difficult to defend yourself against a single person. That is unless you have layers of high end security like Bloombag and the like.
      Now we have the guy in NY hacking the cop in the head. The perp. walked up and gave him a hack. Very hard for the unsuspecting individual to defend themselves against. However, he died almost immediately because he chose cops to attack and like good cops, they gunned him down. Since NY is virtually unarmed, I find it curious as those guys could have entered a subway car and created all kinds of havoc, although I have little doubt that people would have pounced on him, but not before causing death and or significant injuries.

  26. avatar John L. says:

    What is the presumed intent of the attackers, for themselves and for their actions’ effects?

    Do they want to try to live through it (classical terrorist), don’t care (classic nutter), or actually hope to die in the action (new-model terrorist or suicide-by-cop)?

    Do they want to kill as many people as possible, kill as many of a certain type of person as possible (eg politicians, judges, soldiers, etc.), or demonstrate that they can attack anywhere even if they don’t wind up killing many people?

    The likelihood of an attack at any given place depends on how you choose your bad guy.

    If a new-model terrorist wanted to show that anyone, anyplace is vulnerable, then Austin’s state capital building isn’t a bad choice.

  27. avatar former water walker says:

    Chicago would be a prime target. Lots of clueless sheep. Very few or no civilization interference. Don’t know enough about Austin to even comment…

  28. avatar ensitue says:

    the favored method in the west is to run down unarmed, defenseless civilians, especially the elderly and then cut their heads off. However with the surfeit of LoFo Losers in socialist nations there will always be ones who get it backwards, w/limited sucesss

  29. avatar bn says:

    …Short answer – no.

  30. avatar TheBroke1 says:

    Keep letting the Islamic meatheads into these countries and give them free rein threw political correctness hell Yes There Going to Jihad on places there asses are fed up with and keep up the free business and money to start along with trying to Breed the AMERICA out of Americans and Canada out of Canadians this is only the beginning!!! Our Leader need to pull there Heads out of Each Others Asses and Remember how and Why they were voted in!!
    NEXT??

  31. avatar bandolero says:

    What about Florida? More concealed carriers there. It’s the gunshine state. Hell it’s even shaped like a gun.

  32. avatar Dale says:

    I don’t know about Texas, but I was coming back from lunch in Washington DC in 1994 when Duran opened fire on the White House. I was across the street and walking past a bunch of protesters when the shots started and I remember having the extremely clear thought about finding cover because I sure couldn’t shoot back (Work in DC? No guns for YOU). To be honest, even if I had been able to carry and had been armed at the time, I can’t say if I’d have attempted to stop Duran since I was about 50 yards away and there were a LOT of people rushing around at first but unarmed as I was, there certainly wasn’t any option.

  33. avatar DetroitMan says:

    No, concealed carriers would not have deterred the type of attack that occurred in Ottawa. It is a mistake to assume that jihadi terrorists are like other mass shooters. Jihadis are trying to become martyrs by dying in battle with the infidels. Nidal Hasan did not turn his gun on himself when he was confronted with armed resistance. He fought back until he was incapacitated. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau must have known that there would be armed security at the Parliament building. Only a very stupid or deluded shooter would believe that there would be no armed resistance in a national government building.

    Jihadis aren’t necessarily looking for the easiest possible target where they can wrack up the largest body count. They are looking to make a political statement, and to get their reward in heaven. Being killed in the act is an honor to them, not something they fear or that foils their plans. So, while I fully support constitutional carry, I have no illusions that it will deter terrorists. It will give citizens a fighting chance when the terrorists decide to strike, and that is all we can ask.

    1. avatar borg says:

      They want to take as many people out with them as possible which is why it is unlikely for them to start with the lone star state.

  34. avatar LongPurple says:

    “It isn’t the tiger you see that kills you, it’s the tiger you don’t see.”

    Armed guards and uniformed police are the tigers the criminals and terrorists see.
    Armed citizens are the tigers they don’t see.

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