CORRECTION, Aug. 10, 2019: This article was originally published under the headline “After Witnessing El Paso Shooting, Texas Man Inspired To Buy His Own Assault Rifle.” The term “assault rifle” lacks a useful definition and, even though the man in question used it, we should have done a better job explaining why the phrase is problematic, especially among Second Amendment supporters. We have added that clarification to the story as well as a link to another source that provides additional information as to why the phrase is not helpful in Second Amendment discussions.
After every tragic shooting, there’s a predictable narrative that is repeated in the media. You know how it goes: The problem was guns, particularly so-called assault rifles. If we could just ban them, everything would be OK.
Of course, reality isn’t that simple — even if the term “assault rifle” had some sort of useful meaning, which it does not. (The Federalist ran a brief but excellent piece explaining the problems with the most common uses of the term in 2018. It hasn’t gotten any better since. — Ed. note)
Alden Hall, a 26-year-old U.S. Army veteran, was present at the Walmart when gun shots rang out on Saturday. While many left-leaning politicians and pundits are already using the tragedy to push for gun control, Hall said he wishes he had been better armed.
“I didn’t think that I would need an assault rifle or a bigger handgun, but after seeing that yesterday all things are possible,” the Texas resident said.
“Are you planning to buy a bigger weapon?” the CBS interviewer asked.
Hall didn’t hesitate. “This is an open-carry state, so most definitely,” he told the news network.
While many Americans are calling for a ban on assault rifles, this man who witnessed the El Paso Walmart shooting says the attack actually inspired him to buy one.https://t.co/Z7RdWdffFa pic.twitter.com/JYRTkSbHG9
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 5, 2019
The quick response of well-armed officers to a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday almost certainly prevented that tragedy from being worse. Police were able to engage and stop the armor-clad shooter just 30 seconds after he opened fire.
And while neither police nor legally armed citizens can stop a shooting every time, there is solid evidence that citizens make a difference if they’re prepared to engage a shooter.
“Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents,” an FBI report about mass shootings between 2016 and 2017 found. “Their selfless actions likely saved many lives.”
“The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike,” the report continued.
Yet information like the statistics in the FBI report is repeatedly ignored by the establishment media, which instead pushes gun control measures that would disarm law-abiding citizens.
At the same time, the media narrative never seems to include important details about crime in the United States, such as the fact that violent crime has been cut in half since the 1990s.
Despite the major decrease, many Americans falsely believe that crime has been going up, according to a Marist poll cited in The Washington Post.
And during the same period of time that crime has been dropping, the number of concealed carry permits and the ownership of common rifles like AR-15s has skyrocketed.
Charts of the data reveal that the issue is far more complicated than the media would have you believe.
There is no simple, magic answer to solving horrific shootings like the ones that occurred in El Paso and Dayton.
Any approach must be multi-faceted and involve hard questions about mental health and our culture. But without a doubt, legally armed citizens can be part of the solution.
People like Alden Hall are realizing that — and hopefully, the actions of good people can minimize future tragedies.
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