November 23, 2022


Civilians Without Guns Take Out Mass Shooters More Often Than Civilians With Guns (SHIRIN ALI, NOV 23, 2022, Slate)

Richard Fierro became an overnight sensation after he took down the gunman of a mass shooting happening inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, over the weekend. Once bullets could be heard in the club, Fierro catapulted into action, running directly toward the shooter, pulling him down to the ground, and beating him with the shooter's own gun. By the time cops showed up, the shooter was no longer struggling. Fierro actually feared that he had killed him. He didn't--the 22-year-old gunman was hospitalized, and has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and bias-motivated crime.

It helps to know that Fierro spent 15 years as an Army officer, with three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, making him uniquely qualified to intervene. He now joins a small but mighty number of unarmed civilians that have successfully stopped gunmen in mass shootings. From 2000 to 2021 there have been at least 433 active shooter attacks in the United States--a disturbing rise in recent years--and 249 of those attacks ended before the police arrived on the scene. In 64 of those situations, a bystander either subdued the attacker or shot at them. [...]

If unarmed civilians can successfully kneecap mass shooters, what about armed civilians? Martaindale told me the data just doesn't show that the "good guy with the gun" argument, often preferred by Republicans (we're looking at you, Ted Cruz) bears out. "There are plenty of incidents where people are armed but pulling out that weapon and shooting at that moment might cause more harm," he said. That's because bystanders can be in dangerously close range and a civilian also shooting out bullets can make the job of law enforcement confusing--once on the scene they have to figure out where the shots are coming from and who's responsible.

Based on ALERRT's analysis, out of 249 attacks that ended before police arrived on the scene, civilians shot at the attacker 22 times--less than the number of civilians who physically subdued the gunmen, which happened 42 times.

Posted by at November 23, 2022 5:32 PM