More Guns, More Mass Shootings—Coincidence?
America now has 300 million firearms, a barrage of NRA-backed gun laws—and record casualties from mass killers.
By Mark Follman
Five cases commonly cited as a rationale for arming Americans don't stand up to scrutiny.
By Mark Follman
Those pesky facts haven't stopped the "arm America more!" crowd from pressing the argument with alleged examples of successful armed interventions. The problem is, the few examples they keep using—in which they depict plain old folks acting heroically and with definitive results—fall apart under scrutiny.
A trendy argument suggests we'll be safer if more people carry guns. It's dangerous, wrong and terrible policy
By Alex Seitz-Wald
“My first impression is that this essay should be used as a case study for high school and college debate teams across the country. It is one of the best crafted arguments for a particular position I have ever read,” said Arthur Kellermann, a prominent firearms safety researcher now at the RAND Corp. But he also called the research cited “highly selective, and therefore misleading.” “I am surprised that the editors didn’t ask their national correspondent why he didn’t bother to talk to at least one mainstream criminologist, policy analyst, physician or public health researcher.”
Fred Rivara, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, added in an email: “There is no data supporting his argument that the further arming of citizens will lessen the death toll in massacres like the one this week in Connecticut. There are in fact rigorous scientific data showing that having a gun in the home INCREASES the risk of violent death in the home.”
Arm the teachers?
A particularly stupid variation of this idea is to arm schoolteachers so they can shoot a shooter before the shooter shoots them.
Guns, Risks, and Safety
By Alan Jacobs
Two: This same warning against implementing policy decisions based on vivid-but-very-unlikely events applies to the people who are claiming that the answer to school massacres is arming our teachers. It’s especially ironic that this recommendation comes almost invariably from people who also believe in smaller government, because their chosen response to tragedy would be a government-mandated logistical quagmire: some government agency would have to buy the guns, train the teachers, set and enforce policies about gun storage and appropriate use, and so on and so on. And of course all this would just leave teachers with less time to confront the real and often quite serious problems they face every day.
I could write a very long blog post listing what’s wrong with the plan to arm teachers, especially the various unintended consequences that would spring from such a policy implemented nationwide. We can be absolutely sure that within a few years more people would be killed by teachers who fired their weapons accidentally or in misplaced anger or fear, or by students who stole their teachers’ guns, than have ever been killed in school massacres like those in Newtown and Columbine.