If you read through the arguments the “pro gun” groups like to make about concealed carry and allowing people to carry their weapons into various places like schools, churches, and other public venues, you realize they’re – and the people who agree with them – thinking that it’ll be like this:
Yes, everyone is going to be like Dirty Harry. Leaving aside that it’s fiction, did anyone notice the number of times he almost shot an innocent bystander?
That’s right. In the scene, there’s at least one “innocent” person running in front of him. The other patrons are nicely ducking down out of the way, and Harry is remarkably accurate, instantly dropping each of the bad guys with a single shot. Let’s not leave aside the fact that that he was allowed to draw his gun in the first place.
In real life, that doesn’t happen. Unless you hit the right spot (spine, heart, or brain), you don’t get an “instant drop.” Bad guys aren’t going to be accommodating enough to let you draw, and other people don’t conveniently get out of the way. Here is a more realistic scenario that ABC News did a few years back, where they tested the idea that “if only” someone had been armed, most of the classroom massacres at the time could have been stopped:
Abject failure in every instance. Freezing up. Failure to draw their gun. Failure to take cover. Failure to shoot properly. Missing a second shooter. The truly sad part that was mentioned? The students in this test had more training than half the states require for concealed carry permits! Most of them failed to hit the shooter, and all of them ended up … “dead.” I should also mention another little point that the police trainer made: Hitting someone else with your gun is something you’re liable for, and will likely get you charged.
Yes, I’ve seen several videos where the “armed citizen” supposedly stopped something. You know what I noticed? They were lucky they didn’t hit anyone else, and mostly, they missed. Unless it was at point-blank range, they were just spraying bullets after someone who started running away instead of shooting back. I should also mention that a few of them went to jail afterwards.
In the number of mass shootings – which have gone up as gun numbers increased – there’s something that you should know:
In the wake of the slaughters this summer at a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, we set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. We identified and analyzed 62 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. Moreover, we found that the rate of mass shootings has increased in recent years—at a time when America has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of new laws has made it easier than ever to carry them in public. And in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed. (bolding mine)
That’s reality. Yes, we’d all like to think we could be Dirty Harry in a situation, but “Dirty Harry” is a fictional character. It’s a story, and what he does is just that – fictional. It doesn’t work that way in real life. It doesn’t matter how good you are on a range, or how good you are at home at getting your pistol out of the holster. Targets don’t shoot back, and there’s a big difference when another gun is pointed at you, and you are caught by surprise. The numbers say that you’re not doing any good. So no, you’re not making yourself or others any safer by carrying a gun. All you’re doing is endangering other people, and yourself.