During the attack on the recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the attacker chose targets in “gun free” or “disarmed victim zones.” He didn’t enter the first zone, he fired from outside of it. He didn’t hit any innocents there before moving on to a secondary target, also a disarmed victim zone at the Navy Operations Support Center, a few miles away. There he killed five marines and wounded another a police officer before he was stopped . . .

He fired at the first target for at least 20 – 30 seconds, perhaps as much as a minute. According to eyewitness reports he reloaded at least once and moved to his Mustang convertible before leaving. One eyewitness was only feet from the attacker, but unable to intervene. She was not armed. There were no armed citizens present to counter the attack.

One of the reasons: Tennessee politicians conspired to kill a constitutional carry bill that was up before the legislature this year. In 2010, Governor Haslam promised that he would sign a constitutional carry bill if it reached his desk – and then did everything he could to make sure that didn’t happen.

From dnj.com on March 15, 2015:

MURFREESBORO – State Rep. Rick Womick continues to pursue his “constitutional carry” gun bill despite opposition from Gov. Bill Haslam.

“According to the Second Amendment, we all have the right to bear arms,” said Womick, a Republican from Rutherford County’s rural Rockvale community southwest of Murfreesboro. “In Tennessee, you would be allowed to carry a gun without a permit. What my bill does is it allows the person who possesses a firearm to carry that firearm openly or concealed regardless of whether the person has a handgun permit.”

Womick, however, could face a harder time getting his bill through the House after the governor and his departments of education and safety red-flagged the bill, Haslam Press Secretary Dave Smith confirmed.

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee also defeated a similar open carry gun without a permit bill Wednesday.

Kansas passed constitutional carry this year. A young man carrying a pistol under the constitutional carry law recently foiled an armed robbery. So despite what you may read, it does happen. Constitutional Carry could have increased the number of armed first responders (i.e. citizens) in Tennessee at the time of the Chattanooga attack.

The Volunteer State charges over $100 to obtain a concealed carry permit. In spite of this price tag, over 10 percent of the adult population has a concealed carry permit. One out of ten adults. With the elimination of an expensive permitting process, the odds seem good that an armed American would have been able to confront the attack at one of the two shooting scenes. The attacker was visible for many seconds, and clearly vulnerable. The odds would have been better if Tennesssee was Constitutional Carry.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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43 Responses to Would Constitutional Carry Have Thwarted Chattanooga Terrorist Attack?

  1. I’ll give a node to something often said on Armed American Radio about this sort of situation. Just having a gun won’t guarantee your safety. But it sure as hell changes the arms in your favor.

    • Exactly. Police arrive in time to interdict 3% of violent crime. If armed citizens interdict 4% of violent crime attempts against them it is 25% better chance.

  2. Seemed pretty determined and prepared to me. Stupid people are going to do stupid things. Can’t stop them and I doubt it would have stopped him. He may have been more alert to potential opposition though and therefore moving with more caution or simply targeting bystanders between him and his intended target.

    • It is less likely this tragedy would have happened if military recruiters were armed as part of the uniform. That monster was going after high profile soft targets in so called gun free zones. These terrorists are cherry picking targets for maximum media impact. They are adding to their own ranks with every attack on U.S. soil. You’ve already seen the evidence.

      Constitutional carry would have increased the number of armed law abiding citizens. This lone fact may have been enough to greatly reduce these kinds of attacks.

      • I agree that any having multiple CCW’s around would greatly diminish the damage done by the bad guys in these situations. More armed resistance would likely thwart the duration but not the execution of the deed. Specifically to the question asked in the topic . . . I just don’t think that it would prevent them. Batshit crazy people are going to do batshit crazy things. He may have picked a different target, been more cautious or even taken the time to work out a more tactically sound plan but just like gun free zone signs don’t stop criminals I doubt an increased potential of armed civilians would have stopped this asshat. Or any like him for that matter.

  3. Can’t say for certain. But a “maybe coulda” is better than a “guaranteed no chance at all.” …which is what gun-control gave them.

  4. The death toll is now five (not counting the evil thug).

    We don’t live in a world of guarantees. But we know that it’s pretty damned hard to stop an armed murderer without a gun. This one was stopped by someone with a gun. Eventually.

  5. There are few guarantees in life, that said I’d like a fighting chance, hand gun vs. rifle is not ideal but vastly preferable to sign vs. rifle.

  6. Prevented? Absolutely not.
    Minimized casualties? Perhaps.

    As many have already said, having a gun doesn’t make you invulnerable, it only minimizes the damages.

  7. Any opposition, successful or not, throws off the plan and timetable giving people time to escape or find cover. Any delay improves the odds that law enforcement can get to the scene and intervene.

    The more potential opposition on scene at the outset, the more the the original plan goes to hell and he must improvise.

    • I agree. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy… unless your enemy has been rendered disarmed and defenseless, whereby you can slaughter at will.

  8. The guy just drove up and opened fire. Very hard to stop an attack like that considering most people, even armed people are in condition yellow or white. If the soldiers had all been armed and the citizens in the area armed, perhaps it could have helped but I still believe good guys would have gotten hit by the bad guy.

  9. It doesn’t matter if it would have thwarted the terrorist attack. At least they would have had a chance and could have died fighting back.

  10. Weather or not he could have been stopped by an armed person depends on several things.
    How close to the shooter he or she was, was your gun capable of stopping the shooter, before he had a chance to return fire, were you mentally capable of taking a life quickly, would this be a clean shoot?
    Many things to think about in a split second.
    One thing I’ve always thought about is: What if you stumbled on a situation, drew your weapon, fired and killed what looked like a bad guy attacking a defenseless young lady, only to find out the whole thing was staged for some kind of a video shoot!

    • What if you stumbled on a situation, drew your weapon, fired and killed what looked like a bad guy attacking a defenseless young lady, only to find out the whole thing was staged for some kind of a video shoot!

      The only way that would happen is if it was an amateur/hobby video shoot. Real productions have boundaries and personnel to prevent bystanders from stumbling into the video recording location.

      If it was an amateur/hobby video shoot, then the “reasonable person” standard would probably cover you just fine. Would a “reasonable person” who happened upon the woman reasonably believe that the woman’s life was in imminent danger of great bodily harm? If the answer is “yes”, then you would be justified using deadly force. The fact that the man and woman were actors acting out a scene is irrelevant — assuming you had no idea that they were acting out a scene.

      Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and the above commentary is my opinion, not legal advice.

      • Even if you’re right about this (and I suspect it strongly depend on how anti- the jurisdiction is) and you don’t go to jail, you have to live with the knowledge for the rest of your life or until Alzheimer’s really sets in, whichever comes first.

        • With me, the alzheimer’s or the dirt nap, probably wont be long.
          Regarding posting boundaries, I had considered that while posting. I was thinking of an amateur shoot. Not really worried about too much, has just crossed my mind, while reading posts.
          Thanks for the come back guys.

  11. I don’t know what would have happened. I only know what did happen, and it was a catastrophe.

    Knowing that the actual result was so awful, wouldn’t it make sense to change the dynamics and maybe the odds? Or is that too hard to understand.

    Note: TN has a population of less than 6.5 million and 500,000 gun permits. The pop includes children, so the state has a pretty high rate for permits.

    • About 70% of the population in any given state is eligible to carry a handgun in public. Applying that percentage to Tennessee means that about 4.55 million adults can carry in public. With 500,000 licenses, that means about 1 in 9 adults could be armed.

  12. It worked in Texas. The off-duty cop killed both terrorists. He had a .45 pistol; they had rifles. He had skill and determination; they had jihadi mindsets, i.e., kill all unarmed pig dogs and sheeple.

  13. An armed “good guy/gal” may very well have stopped the attack. Unfortunately, no such armed “good guy/gal” was present.

    I have to believe that eliminating the application and cost burden of obtaining a concealed carry license would result in more people carrying legally in public. And the more “good guys and gals” we have carrying in public, the greater the chances that an “armed good guy or gal” will be able to stop the next terrorist or spree killer.

  14. I’ve long suspected that the vas majority of people with permits do not, in fact, actually use them on a given day.

    How many “bystanders” were around during either part of this scumbucket’s rampage? Was it less than ten? Well over ten? How many had permits but blew off carrying?

    If (say) five percent of permittees actually are carrying at any given time, contitutional carry won’t actually help percentages much. Why do I say this? Because if the people actually motivated enough to get a permit in spite of the cost and effort don’t bother, why will anyone else?

    That’s NOT an argument against repealing restrictions on carry, by the way, it’s an argument against expecting it to make much of a difference in percentage of people carrying when it does happen.

  15. Not five Marines–four marines and a sailor were killed. And at least one other Marine was wounded (treated and released for a leg wound).

    There have been reports that a Marine was armed with a personal weapon and fired at the gunman, but that it was a police bullet that killed him; it has not been stated who that marine was (or if he was wounded or killed) or if he landed any shots.

  16. The thought occurred to me that with the 6, so far, state governors authorizing their soldiers to be armed, this could be the start of nationwide Constitutional carry.

  17. At best, it would have induced him to find an easier target. Unless we transform the entire country into a police state or a land of universal private carriers, then we’re really just talking about shifting the location of the attack, not on preventing it outright.

  18. I keep hoping to plop down in my recliner some afternoon to watch the evening news just in time to hear,

    “Early today, a gunman opened fire at a strip mall for unknown reasons and was promptly gunned down by at least eighteen public spirited citizens who paused in their shopping to end the threat. Police also said there many have been a number of other citizens returning fire and they are still investigating that aspect. The identity of the gunman has not yet been established due to the severity of his wounds. The Coroner confirmed that it appeared that a number of the citizens were apparently armed with double stack pistols and several were reported as having reloaded at least once during the gunfire”.

  19. i can’t believe you guys even published an article like this that is nothing but pure speculation. are we really going to sit around and ponder every “what if” in every gun scenario? what a colossal waste of time.

    • It’s called war gaming. If you don’t consider what the outcome can be, you’ll forever be caught by surprise.

  20. A fee – mandated by the state- that is charged in order to exercise one’s 2nd Amendment rights is no more acceptable than it would be if the government issued (for money) a freedom of religion license, a “right not to incriminate yourself” permit or a “freedom from unreasonable search and seizure” card. People wouldn’t stand for it.
    Elected officials take note: Constitutional Carry or I vote to fire you next election.

  21. Well, let’s see, the shooter had an AK(?), so the natural counter to that would have been a rifle rack like we had in boot camp with a M16A2/A4 for every man plus security rounds. Problem solved.

  22. It most certainly could have. At the very least, it sure as shit would have pushed the odds a whole helluva lot further in their favor. Just sayin’.

  23. Impossible to ever know. Ambush events are deadly. But the fact remains, without firearms they had zero % chance.

  24. I live in one of the “good” parts of Florida. Even with that, a number of people I know carry a rifle in their truck. Over 50% of the concealed permit holders I know carry every day. Not that a pistol would stop something like this, but bad guys do tend to flee when bullets are heading their way. As for the ifles they carry, let’s just say they do know how to use them. God bless rednecks

  25. Constitutional carry guarantees your right to carry but few people would exercise their rights. We all know that the percentage of people with CHL who carry on a regular basis is pretty low. So given that a terrorist can chose the time and place for his attack and gets the first shot I would have to say that the effect would be marginal.

  26. In answer to the article’s title; only compulsory carry would have thwarted the attack, constitutional carry only could have thwarted it.

  27. Would Constitutional Carry Have Thwarted Chattanooga Terrorist Attack?

    We can guess but we will never know. What we DO know is that *not* having it allowed Five innocents to be killed.

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