Responses to Waco Gunfight reveal ignorance of armed citizens' role

The recent shootout between biker gangs in Waco, TX has drawn the predictable response from advocates of gun control.  The Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action, for example, issued a statement that uses this incident to criticize legislation allowing the open carry of handguns and calling for universal background checks and for keeping guns off college campuses, following the advice never to let a big deal in the news go to waste.  What allowing carry license holders to defend themselves at college has to do with what happened in Waco isn’t addressed, probably with good reason.

Of course, how a requirement for a background check before the purchase of a firearm would have changed anything is also unclear.  The call for universal background checks is an example of wishful thinking, a case of advocates believing their own propaganda.  This is especially the case here, since at least one of the gangs involved in Waco is under suspicion of weapons trafficking.  The Texas Department of Public Safety has a bulletin out accusing members of the Bandidos who are also serving in the military of supplying grenades and C4 to their gang.  The Bandidos are also connected to shooting incidents in the gun control paradise of Australia and to drug trafficking.

Note that we already have strict controls on explosives and Schedule I drugs that are reminiscent of what gun control advocates want on firearms, and no one is saying that these biker gangs are licensed as demolitions companies or pharmacies.  I’ll say more in the future about the demand for universal background checks on guns, but for now consider the reaction a criminal who smuggles drugs into this country might give when he’s told that he has to go through a check of his records to obtain a firearm.

But as I said, press releases from groups who are opposed to gun rights are to be expected.  Those are much like car alarms.  They go off, and we all go on about our days.  What I did find interesting were some comments on Twitter wondering why no members of Open Carry Texas were there or who were the good guys with guns in the shootout.

I’ve discussed already the idea of a fair fight, addressing what makes a case for legitimate self-defense, but here I’ll expand on another part of that concept, namely the fact that we who are legally armed aren’t allowed to go looking for a fight.

Spend much time reading conversations about guns on the Internet, and you’ll come across a list of rules for a gunfight.  This is often tongue-in-cheek, though there’s a large measure of good advice contained therein.  But we need to add a Rule Zero:  If you know in advance that a gunfight will occur, don’t attend.

Think about that for a minute.  One of the extant rules is that the sooner you finish a gunfight, the less shot you’ll get.  Doesn’t that suggest that if you don’t get involved in the first place, you have a good chance of not getting shot at all?  Now this is not to say that we’re obliged to attempt to outrun a bullet.  Stand Your Ground laws address what happens when the gunfight comes to you.  But the answer to the question asked by gun control proponents is that private citizens aren’t police.  It’s not our job to go somewhere that crime is expected to occur.  We own and carry firearms to protect ourselves and our families, not to act like some comic book character, seeking out trouble in the dark corners of the big city.

Why weren’t we there?  We weren’t there precisely because we aren’t the people gun control advocates accuse us of being.  We aren’t looking for trouble.  We aren’t spoiling for a fight.  We’re just living our lives and working to improve the odds if a fight is imposed on us.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

Cover: Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald, via Associated Press

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