Do armed citizens really reduce gun violence? Many think not.

As more Americans obtain firearms due to relaxed gun laws, the question of whether these licensed gun owners reduce gun violence, such as mass shootings, arises. Opponents of this argument do not believe that armed citizens reduce gun violence. According to MotherJones, there is evidence showing the positive correlation between mass shootings and the amount of citizens with legally obtained guns.

The senior editor at Mother Jones, Mark Follman claims the chances of saving lives from an armed citizen in a mass shooting is slim to none. By looking back at previous mass shootings that have occurred in the last 30 years (which were 62 cases), Follman discovers that “not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun”. With this evidence, the claims suggesting citizens make a change in gun violence are not supported. The odds of an average gun carrying citizen being a good enough shot to take down the perpetrator in a moment’s notice are not very good, considering the average citizen does not have the trained experience to act quickly enough.

According to Dr. Stephen Hargarten, an expert on gun violence at the Medical College in Wisconsin, “armed civilians are more likely to increase bloodshed given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances”. With the many laws that pass making guns easier to attain, more unexperienced people are buying guns. A person without shooting practice could do more harm than help in mass shooting situations, and it is less dangerous having one shooter than two.

In an interesting correlation, as the amount of people who legally buy guns increases, so do the mass shootings in the country. An analysis from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Crime Victimization Survey Data on Firearm Justifiable Homicides and Non-Fatal Self-Defense Gun Use found that of the many millions who purchase firearms for protection, they are very rarely used in self protection. When a gun was used for self protection, the persons were known to the shooter, like in a case of domestic violence. They were not in situations where an assailant is shooting at a crowd of people.


Gun laws we have in certain states make it easier to obtain guns legally as well. Virginia’s gun laws reflect the carelessness in their application process, by offering “an online course that qualifies for gun safety training and has drawn a flood of out-of-state applicants” who are just looking for an even easier way to access a gun. These loopholes have to be closed in order to keep the wrong people from obtaining an weapon.

Making it harder to get a gun could be more effective than handing untrained civilians and potential murderers guns. However, we may never know if this method is more effective because politics has yet to put their foot down and make a change in gun policy.

Although opponents have a strong case as to why there is more trouble rather than less as citizens acquire guns, armed citizens still have the right to arm themselves for protection.


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