At Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a gunman walked into the school and killed 19 children and two adults with an AR-15 style weapon while nearly two dozen armed police officers waited over an hour before engaging the shooter. (May 24, 2020)

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

At Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a white gunman was welcomed to a bible study before taking out his weapons and killing nine Black churchgoers. (June 17, 2015)

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

At a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, a gunman opened fire from his 32nd floor hotel room, killing 60 people and wounding many more. (October 1, 2017)

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

At Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a gunman killed six adults and twenty children between six and seven years old. (December 14, 2012)

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

At the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others before police killed him after a three-hour standoff. (June 11, 2016)

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a gunman killed fourteen students and three staff members, and injured 17 others. (February 14, 2018)

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

Every month, seventy women are shot and killed by an intimate partner.

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

Every year, 22,000 people die by suicide with a gun.

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

Last year, 45,026 people died from gun violence.

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

So far this year, there have been 270 mass shootings in just 167 days.

Where’s the good guy with a gun?

The good guy with a gun failed to stop any of these bad guys before someone was killed.

One week after those twenty school children were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary, Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association at the time, repeated a long held American myth that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

The reality is that it is exceedingly rare for an armed so-called ‘good guy’ to prevent an active shooter from killing or injuring someone. To the contrary, an armed civilian creates more chaos and often results in more death and injury, sometimes to himself and sometimes with his own weapon.

So how can a good guy with a gun make a difference?

More guns with fewer restrictions will never reduce the pandemic of gun violence. Eliminating or severely restricting civilian gun ownership would be neither practical nor constitutional. Few Americans want to repeal the Second Amendment. But the vast majority do want limits on guns that will reduce the appalling number of gun violence victims. And that includes a majority of gun owners.

Research reported by 97Percent, a bipartisan group of gun owners and non-gun owners working to reduce gun violence, shows that among gun owners:

  • 87% support background checks for concealed carry permits
  • 81% support red flag laws
  • 79% support prohibiting a person from having a gun who is the subject of a current temporary restraining order for domestic violence
  • 79% support prohibiting a person convicted of serious crimes as a juvenile from having a gun for 10 years
  • 75% support universal background checks

Other commonsense gun laws that have been proposed include: increasing the minimum age for gun ownership, enacting enforceable gun storage laws, limiting ammunition purchases and magazine sizes, requiring training and licensing for gun owners, and banning assault weapons. But these proposals have less public support, and many are considered ‘non-starters’ for gun owners. So, we should start with demanding laws that do have broad support among all Americans.

Good guys with guns can speak up. Good guys with guns can lobby their legislatures for the laws that they support, laws that can reduce the rate of gun violence. Good guys with guns can support organizations like 97Percent and Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership.

As horrific as mass shootings are, they are a small percentage of the 45,000 gun deaths every year. Laws that limit access to weapons that may be used by individuals with a history of domestic violence or by those contemplating suicide can help reduce the overall rate of gun violence.

Statistics show that it is extremely unlikely that a good guy with a gun can prevent imminent gun violence with his weapon. But a good guy with a gun can make a difference by demanding our political leaders enact laws that will reduce gun violence in America. We can prevent thousands of needless deaths and injuries every year.

Where’s the good guy with a gun? He’s doing all he can to support change in our culture and our laws to reduce gun violence.

Be the good guy with a gun. Demand change.