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Later today TTAG’s Bruce Krafft will take apart an anti-gun screed from writer Sanjay Sanghoee. I’ve bumped Bruce’s piece back to the future to address Mr Sanghoee’s most recent effort Friendly Fire: What NYC Shooting tells us about Cops, Guns, and Armed CitizensBefore we dive in, a quick check on the pro-gun interpretation of the shooting outside the Empire State Building, during which two NYPD officers wounded nine civilians . . .

1. Cops need better firearms training. Across the board.

2. Cops are no better at shooting bad guys than civilians. All things being equal, worse.

3. Arguments against allowing Americans to exercise their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms based on the possibility of collateral damage (the “O.K. Corral” scenario) are fundamentally flawed.

Now, Sanghoee’s spin . . .

This weekend, after the NYPD announced that all nine of the bystanders injured in the shooting near the Empire State Building were shot by cops responding to the gunman, the predictable response from many readers was that since it was the cops’ fault, guns were not the problem.

Aside from the screwy logic in that, the fact is that the NYPD’s frank admission makes the case for gun control even stronger. What happened in New York City is an example of the mayhem that ensues when guns are used in any situation.

There’s the short version: guns are dangerous, period. And if they’re dangerous for cops—trained professionals—how could anyone seriously propose “letting” armed civilians loose upon society?

Sanghoee wants you to imagine “what would have happened in that situation if all New Yorkers were armed.” All I tell you! Every damn one of them!

With more guns in the mix and more citizens deciding to take matters into their own hands, many more shots would have been fired, and if the professionals themselves could miss their target and shoot innocent bystanders instead, you can imagine how ordinary citizens, most of them with only amateur shooting experience, would have done a hell of a lot more damage. In the madness that would have erupted, a simple take-down of a suspect by police would have turned into a modern day shootout at the OK Corral. Anyone who believes that a scenario like that would have resulted in fewer casualties is patently insane.

Suggesting that a ballistic free-for-all is the inevitable result of lawful gun owners carrying firearms lawfully is willful ignorance. It flies in the face of common sense and factual evidence.

Example given: in March of 2011, The Columbus Dispatch detailed Ohio’s 2010 concealed carry permit stats. The Ohio AG reported 60k permits with 720 permits suspended, 206 revoked and 655 denied. So the AG revoked less than one half of one percent of all the permits issued.

Even if we assume that the AG pulled a percentage of these permits for gun crimes—a wild stretch of the imagination—it’s not exactly a case for a plague of “concealed carry killers” is it? [FYI: Florida provides similar data.]

The Giffords shooting offers anecdotal evidence that an average citizen with a firearm is not a trigger-happy vigilante. Joe Zamudio, a civilian with a concealed weapon, physically restrained spree killer Jared Loughner, rather than plugging him.

As a gun blogger who’s spend the last three years scanning the web for defensive gun use, I can’t recall of a single instance of OK Corralage, where armed citizens made a criminal situation worse. Not one. And hundreds where they made it better. All by themselves.

The other important thing to recognize is why our police need to carry guns in the first place. It is because we have a proliferation of guns in America in private hands. As I have said earlier, the cowboy culture and the spread of heavy duty weapons like the AR-15 semi-automatic rifles make our society a dangerous place, which then necessitates a strong armed response by law enforcement.

Sanghoee could have argued that the sheer number of guns in circulation in America facilitates their criminal use, which led to armed law enforcement. (The counter: it is what it is.) But suggesting that Americans’ generally pro-gun stance (shamelessly derided as “cowboy culture”) and the popularity of AR-15s put Glocks on cops is patently insane. To steal a phrase.

Sanghoee goes on to offer the UK as an example: less guns equals less gun crime equals less cops with guns. We’ve been there, parsed that. So let’s move on to the coupe de grace.

. . . the only surefire way to avoid “friendly fire” is to obviate the need for guns all around – something that cannot happen as long as civilians want to be armed. Contrary to popular Constitutional lore and manipulative NRA rhetoric, an armed citizenry does not make us safer but destroys our safety completely.

If civilians didn’t want to be armed cops wouldn’t need guns thus avoiding (if not eliminating) friendly fire. Does the Geneva Convention allow logic to be tortured like that? More to the point, what about criminals? Aren’t they the reason civilians and cops tool up? How do you obviate them?

The Empire State Building incident may have had a lower body-count than the shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, but given how it played out, it should be a cautionary tale of what can happen when guns are used at all, and should be utilized to ramp up the pressure against gun violence, the gun culture, and the twisted arguments of the gun lobby.

Mayor Bloomberg, can you hear me?

Unfortunately, yes. Yes he can. Even worse he’s one with your twisted arguments. Which just goes to show that Voltaire was right: common sense is not so common.

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  1. “Trained professionals”?

    Putting on a badge does not make someone a “trained professional”. Neither does having one’s scribblings exposed on the Huffington Post.

    • This. Taking a few month (or is it weeks?) long course at a police academy doesn’t make you a “trained professional” anymore than taking a year of German in high school makes you a “fluent interpreter”.

  2. So far, 12 out the first 14 replies at the Huffington Post ridiculed the story by Sanjay Sanghoee poking holes in his fallacies and lack of common sense. One comment was neutral and only one was in support of the written story.

    On the commendable side, a gun grabber finally got the technical terminology correct: “weapons like the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle”. Bravo! He didn’t call it a fully-automatic assault weapon.

    “Mayor Bloomberg, can you hear me?”
    Um, yeah I think you and Bloomer-boy are on the same page about grabbing guns.

    • Hey Aharon, I went over there and dropped a little knowledge on them. Unfortunately, when I went over there about a half hour ago, the count was 17 comments and 10 more “pending moderation.” I left my comment, and 30 minutes later, neither of those numbers have moved. Maybe my post will show up someday.

      • And another hour later, we’re up to 18 posted comments, 13 “pending moderation,” and mine hasn’t shown up yet. I’m unfamiliar with HuffPo’s comments section, do they drag their feet when the comments aren’t going their way?

        I’m not going to keep updating this, but I will keep an eye on it.

        • Matt in Florida,

          Good for you to keep spreading the word about the RKBA. I don’t know about how HP manages or mismanages its comments section.

  3. CCW holders will always shoot better than cops. Because they read about gunfights. They participate in forums. And they shoot targets on one-way ranges. And they have gats, and OWB and IWB holsters. They give stars for weapons they like, or not, and participate in 3 / 2/1 gun shoots.

    Their brother-n-law knew someone whose sister in law once had to shoot someone stealing watermelons. And the beat goes on…and few have ever done it.

    They walk down the street in OC recording it all, and would wet their panties if the freindly cop drew down on them.

    I thank the good lord that my military days are over, because I would refuse to share a fighting hole with any of these wannabees…I have, however, had to engage in ‘civilian’ combat a number of times. I wouldn’t trust any of you with my life….you are entitled to your opinion….kinda like asking a bus driver what it’s like to fly a 747, you have your opinion on the subject, but you have no fu*cking idea what you are talking about.

    • Joseph, in your list of why CCW holders will shoot better than cops, you forgot: Because many put more practice rounds downrange in any given 60 day period than most cops do in any given year.

    • “CCW holders will always shoot better than cops. ”

      You make a lot of assertions, but I don’t see any sources to back them up.

      While I have no problem being critical of the police and Police State — I’d like to see more cops and DAs in prison for their crimes — this idea that “civilians/CCW-holders shoot better than cops” is baseless. I know plenty of civilian gun owners and CCW holders who are lousy shots; including admittedly myself.

      According to Todd Green in a comment at :

      The generally accepted number in the gun industry, based on various surveys of gun-buyers over the years, is that on average, a handgun purchased in the United States will be fired less than 50 times. For every internet poster who own ten guns that have each been fired 1,000 times, there are dozens and dozens of people who walked into a gun shop, purchased a pistol and a box of ammo, and never once took that gun to a range. Those people, obviously, don’t read and post on forums and gun blogs.

      Ask anyone who’s worked at a gun shop and I guarantee they’ve had customers complain about having to buy A WHOLE BOX of ammo when the gun only holds 15 (or 8, or whatever).

      When I worked at SIG, there was serious discussion about producing a pistol that came PRE LOADED with 15rd in a non-removable mag. The gun could be made of very cheap material because it only had to survive 15 rounds of fire. It was rejected on technical capability grounds, not because there would be a lack of demand.

      Yes, there are civilians and CCW holders who participate in gun matches, just as there are police officers who do.

      If you’re going to spread the oft-repeated meme that cops shoot worse than civilians, please back it up with facts.

      • valid points. i have known people who buy 1 gun and load it and leave it until the bump in the night. but those people are generally not the ones who jump through the hoops to get a cc permit. those that do tend to practice and train much more, at least in my experience.

      • I think there is a very different mentality between the person who buys a gun to put in a closet or nightstand and the CCW permit holder to carries daily. I would trust that the CCW permit holder would practice more.

        That said, NYPD firearms qulifications is 20 rounds on a stationary target at 10 yds, 15 shots must land in the black. It used to be every six months, it has now been stretched to once per year. Thats 20 rounds per year. If you shoot one box of pistol ammo a year, thats 150% more rounds down range than most of the NYPD per year.

  4. Thats the best comment i’ve seen in a long time:

    “Please, although I agree with you completely, do you think rational arguments will make a dent on these rabid gun-toters? Their position makes no rational sense, so no rational argument can get through to them. We need strict laws…but that won’t happen any time soon.”


  6. To all this nonsense about bashing gun owners and guns (Which makes no sense to me. No more than bashing a Chevrolet small-block engine. Why even waste the time?) I have adopted the John Lott reasoning. It is a pure numbers argument. I acknowledge all the bad stuff that happens with guns. Now I want the morons on the other side to acknowledge all the good things: crimes prevented, discipline instilled in kids, management of a continent full of wildlife, money spent in a floundering economy, etc etc etc. The good outweighs the bad. I win.

  7. I am always amazed when the police are called “Professionals” .
    Many of them seem unaware of what the actual law is beside being unable to shoot well.
    I would hazard a guess that the average CCW holder practices more than the average police officer. In the Tuscon incident, where a Marine was killed in his own home, the SWAT team can be seen firing wildly into a doorway, it is amazing there were no friendly fire casualties there. Yet, these were supposedly the best of the best, the SWAT team.

    • I saw that video and laughed, then I felt really depressed because apparently piling up in a door way like Moe, Larry, and Curley and blind-firing is an accepted tactic in the “professional law enforcement community”. I shudder to think what their drills were like.

  8. So let me get this straight,

    poorly trained cops+NYC crowd+ the accuracy of a blind man + 9 pedestrians wounded = a bad day at the office


    law abiding armed citizen + training + more training + surprise surprise more training + cornered with nowhere to run + two fired rounds + one dead nut job + ZERO pedestrian casualties = a deplorable action whose perpetrator must be screwed over for life?

    I swear sometimes I wanna throw in the towel and give up knowing the stupidity and sheep-like dependence these people have.

  9. so if we give up all our guns, according to the author, there’ll be no reason for the cops to be armed and they can surrender their’s also. let’s hear from all the cops that think this is a good idea.

  10. Just curious, but anyone here know of any DGU by a civilian where they had as many innocents hit as the NYPD?

    Current leader, for most bystanders hit: NYPD.

  11. Let me make one thing very clear: NYPD have “amateur shooting experience.” It is the desire of the NYC Govt that the NYPD not become trigger happy. To that end, with the exception of the ESU (what they call SWAT), patrol officers are only required to shoot ONCE PER YEAR. Firearms training is very limited and recreational shooting is discouraged. The NYPD feels that too much shooting practice makes cops too likely to solve a problem by shooting.

    I agree that cops too often solve problems by shooting at them. But the issue is not guns, its the paramilitary/WAR on terrorism/civil liberties are a hindrance to law enforcement/us-vs-them attitude that makes cops prone to shooting. A lack of training combined with a 12 lbs trigger pull is what causes 53% of your shots to hit people you were not aiming at.

    As for civilinas. I put down range more rounds in a year than most NYPD do in a year. At least once a month with my CCW pistol. That is the way many CCW permit holders are. Keeping citizens from carrying guns for personal defence becuse the cops are incompetent with the weapons they have is … wrong.

  12. Oh! I’m so sorry that the man didn’t stab his boss and viscerally drop his blood and intestines all over the sidewalk, and have the cops splatter his gray matter as they bashed his skull in afterwards. Honestly! This sick bastard writing that column would have preferred the horrors of that Slasher-style I guess, cause spoons make Rosie O’Donnell fat, and I now don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  13. Sanghoee says that we private citizens have “only amateur shooting experience.” Let’s consider that word, amateur. These days, it’s been abused into meaning “unprofessional,” but its origin was a person who loved the subject in question, someone who wasn’t merely doing a job for hire, but wanted to know all there was to know about the skill or the body of knowledge. Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, and Albert Einstein were all amateurs for significant portions of their lives. Lately, the world has rejected the amateur. One person can’t build a 747 in his basement and fly to Europe. One person can’t construct a supercollider, and so on.

    But how many people build ultralights and go flying for the joy of it? How many of us practice shooting because it’s fun? The day of the tinkerer and amateur will only be over when doing things for yourself and for the love of doing it are outright banned. At times, I fear that we’re only a step away from that.

  14. He used my country as an example? Big mistake seeming as straight after the handgun ban of 1997, gun crime had skyrocketed all over the country and since then hasn’t fallen below pre-ban levels even once.

  15. if the professionals themselves could miss their target

    I only wish that Sanjay would worship truth as much as he seems to worship the state. Get off your knees, Sanjay, and stop genuflecting. Most cops can’t hit the broad side of a barn from the inside. Why? Because they’re not trained. Training is what makes someone a professional, not a flashy badge, a uniform and a proclamation. Yet the NYPD won’t spend an extra dime on live-fire training.

    And it’s not just NYC. I’ve shot side by side with Massachusetts LEOs and Feds. All the Secret Service types I’ve seen are very good triggermen. They’re fast, accurate and well-controlled. I get the feeling that they train their asses off, and it shows. On the other hand, the locals and staties blew like Gideon’s trumpet. They qualify once a year (twice if they screw the pooch), they do all their shooting at 3-to-5 yards and I’ve yet to see one shoot a tight group, much less a controlled pair.

    Anyone who reads this blog would outshoot them hands down. Yet they’re the professionals? Sanjay, you’re a dope.

  16. I’d go to the range once a week if I could. As it is, I try to get out at a minimum of once a month, preferably at least every other week. When I go, I usually shoot about four or five boxes of ammo.

    Some calculations here. Taking the minimum of that range (200 rounds, once a month, this “amateur” would do 12.63 years worth of NYPD practice per year. At the top end (250 rounds, once a week), it would be 68.42 years worth.

    Am I typical? I don’t know. But to hold the police up as some sort of gold standard is laughable.

  17. The problem with guns is that any idiot with minimal training can pick one up and mow down dozens of unarmed people. All other forms of violence require some degree of expertise and discipline to be effective. Crossbows and running down pedestrians in a minivan being the obvious exceptions.

    • The problem with guns is that any idiot with minimal training can pick one up and mow down dozens of unarmed people.

      Which is why we need to get the NYPD back to nightsticks only ASAP.

    • I kind of like the fact that crazies in the US use guns, this is much better than the crazies in the middle east who strap bombs to themselves…. I bet if you could get your average crazy shooter to tell you how many people they thought they’d be able to kill, they would have predicted much more than what they were actually able to pull off….

  18. The funny part is that people like this only strengthen my resolve to defend the 2A. Why? Because the 2A was created exactly to defend against ideologies like this. All this loathsome pile of sub-human trash does is prove, once more, that evil and tyranny do indeed exist in the hearts of our fellow “countrymen” and that we need to be ever vigilant.

  19. This morning I put 500 rounds down range. I shoot 700-1000 rounds per month. I dare say that I am far more familar with my weapons than your typical police officer. Just remember, the only professional golfer who could go head-to-head with amateur Bobby Jones was Walter Hagan.

  20. The New York tragedy is the perfect rebuttal to Bloomberg and his ilk. An armed, trained citizen inside the building at the murder scene could’ve taken the killer out with little chance of collateral damage. Once he was outside and drew on the LEOs, they had to respond with the crowds in the line of fire.

  21. re: Joe Zamudio. When his story came out, the headline was “Concealed Carry Gun Owner Almost Draws on Wrong Man.” That’s not even out of the holster. I pointed out Zamudio’s perception under stress (he saw the Glock was in slidelock), but my anti-gun friends would have none of it. He was a threat as dangerous as Loughner.

  22. It’s “FEWER guns”; not “less guns”. Sanjay has LESS HAIR than he used to have, which is true for many of us. It’s true he also has “FEWER HAIRS”, but nobody could be expected to give a count of them.

    And that’s the difference. Me? I’m thinking I need MORE guns.

  23. well by the Huff n post article on the Empire State shoot out, it seems to me that the cops are terrible shots and I can protect myslef better then they can protect me. All i need is to have the cops try and save me from an armed thug and only shoot me and my family.. No thanks guys, ill handle it myself and call you when its done. If anyone is gonna shoot my family by accident while trying to protect them, its not going to be some flat foot!


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