The killing of five police officers in Dallas last week has drawn the usual response from the gun-control crowd, the false dichotomy always presented with regard to ordinary Americans who carry guns legally. One example of this comes in an article, titled, “Dallas Mayor Calls Bullsh*t On Open Carry: It Didn’t Help During Shooting, And Made Things Worse,” by Jameson Parker for the website, If You Only News.com. According to Parker’s assessment of the statement by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, “The ‘good guys with guns’ didn’t suddenly become action heroes bravely stopping a heavily-armed lunatic. They acted like any of us would: When the shooting started, they scattered in every direction in terror.”
Note the implication here, namely the idea that if guns are not always effective in every situation, there’s no point in carrying them. This is consistently the case with gun control advocates, black-and-white thinking that depends on denying facts and denying the complexity of the real world.
One of the facts that gets ignored when not rejected is the number of Americans who defend their lives each year with firearms. That exact number is debated, with some claiming 2.5 million per annum, while the National Crime Victimization Survey putting the figure as 108,000. It’s reasonable to say that over the course of a year, several hundred thousand of us stop or prevent a violent attack with firearms. If we’re talking specifically about attempted mass shootings, such attacks are much rarer, but armed good guys have brought those to an end, too.
But events like Dallas will be cited again and again. Any time a wacko uses a gun and isn’t stopped by a good guy with another gun, advocates of control will cite Wayne LaPierre and say, see, he’s wrong. Then they’ll throw in the the shooting of the carry license holder in Las Vegas and call it a day.
The problem here is a failure to understand what the right of carrying firearms is about. First and foremost, carrying a gun is about self-defense. That’s self-defense, not defense of everyone else. This may sound like selfishness, but in the same way that flight attendants tell us to put the oxygen mask on our own faces before helping someone in the next seat, stopping a violent attack on ourselves is a necessary step to being able to go on to assist those around us. We also have to consider the duty we have to our families. As an ordinary citizen who isn’t a member of law enforcement, my job isn’t to run toward gunfire. I might have cause to do so, but it’s fair for me to keep my personal obligations in mind. The people who love and depend on us need us, too.
Yet there is another factor that has to be considered in these discussions. As Joel Persinger of GunGuy.TV discusses, armed good citizens face lawsuits and potentially even prosecutions by anti-gun district attorneys if they use their firearms in defense. In a culture in which any shooting by the police is immediately met with suspicion, sometimes justified, someone who isn’t a cop is likely to receive the ire of those who reject guns as the subject of rights.
What this all comes down to is the question of why each one of us carries. Speaking for myself alone, carry is something that I do to improve the odds. It’s not a guarantee. My own rule is that I won’t do while carrying anything that I wouldn’t do without a gun—in other words, I know that having a gun doesn’t provide me a magical object or superpowers.
But then, I’ve taken classes, read books, and otherwise studied the subject of legal carry. I invite advocates of gun control to get educated in the same way before they regard themselves as qualified to speak on this topic.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.