Conservative media are using the mass shooting that claimed 14 lives in San Bernardino, California, to once again push the carrying of concealed guns as a deterrent for mass shootings. There is no evidence that concealed guns are a real-life solution to mass shootings; according to an analysis of public mass shootings over a 30-year period, not a single one was stopped by an armed civilian with a concealed carry permit.
Conservative Media Claim Concealed Guns May Have Changed The Outcome Of San Bernardino Shooting
Shooters Target San Bernardino Holiday Party, Killing 14 People And Wounding Numerous Others. On December 2, two individuals wielding assault weapons opened fire on a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, causing mass casualties:
Dressed in black masks and tactical gear, armed with long guns and pistols, they entered a holiday party for county health workers in San Bernardino as it was in full swing. Before they fled, they had killed 14 people and wounded 17 others.
Four hours later, as fearful residents were ordered to stay home and scores of officers swarmed the streets, authorities chased a black SUV carrying two suspects from a home in the nearby city of Redlands. As TV news stations broadcast live overhead, the chase spilled back onto San Bernardino's streets, where authorities and the suspects traded gunfire.
Burguan said Farook and Malik were dressed in “assault-style” clothing during as they fled from police, and were armed with assault rifles and handguns. [Los Angeles Times, 12/2/15]
Rush Limbaugh: “Had Some Of The People In That Disability Center Yesterday Had Some Guns, This May Not Have Happened.” From the December 3 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: You want to know the truth about some of these incidents? The truth is that had some of the people in that disability center yesterday had some guns, this may not have happened. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 12/3/15]
Conservative Radio Host Laura Ingraham: Victims Of San Bernardino Shooting Were “Sitting Ducks” Because No One Pulled Out A Concealed Gun. During the December 3 broadcast of The Laura Ingraham Show, host Laura Ingraham called victims of the shooting “sitting ducks” and said, “Not one person apparently had an ability to defend himself or herself yesterday,” while suggesting that someone with a concealed gun could have stopped the attack:
LAURA INGRAHAM: How many of you wish one of these - in one of these shootings we had someone who was carrying a concealed carry weapon. Someone who was armed, so they're not sitting ducks. I feel so bad, people are just - they're sitting ducks. They can't do anything to defend themselves. And even if you have a gun sometimes it's not going to work out, but at least you have a fighting chance, you have something. Not one person apparently had an ability to defend himself or herself yesterday. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 12/3/15]
Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano: “If People In That Room Had Been Armed, The Tragedy Would Have Been Far Less Than It Was.” During the December 3 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Napolitano claimed that “if people in that room had been armed, the tragedy would have been far less than it was.” Co-host Steve Doocy then apparently undermined Napolitano's argument, noting that the perpetrators may have worn body armor to protect themselves from gunfire:
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Terror is the use of violence to change the policies of the government or some bizarre insult at a Christmas party and you go killing people in which case you're absolutely insane. Whatever it was, if people in that room had been armed, the tragedy would have been far less than it was.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): And it's interesting because we had heard that they might have had flak jackets on or that they came in with some sort of military gear on. In the back of their heads they might think, well one of those guys could be armed, we should take care of ourselves.
NAPOLITANO: Right, right. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/3/15]
There Is No Evidence That Mass Shootings Are Stopped By Civilians With Concealed Carry Permits
Mother Jones: There Is “Zero Evidence To Support” The Claim That Armed Civilians Stop Mass Attacks. Mother Jones dismantled the argument that armed citizens are likely to stop mass shootings, explaining that none of 62 mass public shootings over a 30-year period analyzed by the magazine were stopped this way and that “in cases in Washington and Texas in 2005, would-be heroes who tried to take action with licensed firearms were gravely wounded and killed” :
No less a fantasy is the idea that gun-free zones prevent armed civilians from saving the day. Not one of the 62 mass shootings we documented was stopped this way. Veteran FBI, ATF, and police officials say that an armed citizen opening fire against an attacker in a panic-stricken movie theater or shopping mall is very likely to make matters worse. Law enforcement agents train rigorously for stopping active shooters, they say, a task that requires extraordinary skills honed under acute duress. In cases in Washington and Texas in 2005, would-be heroes who tried to take action with licensed firearms were gravely wounded and killed. In the Tucson mass shooting in 2011, an armed citizen admitted to coming within a split second of gunning down the wrong person--one of the bystanders who'd helped tackle and subdue the actual killer. [Mother Jones, 4/1/13]
More Guns Are Linked To More Gun Violence, Not The Thwarting Of Attacks
Johns Hopkins Center For Gun Policy And Research: Concealed Carry Laws Most Consistently Linked To Increase In Aggravated Assault. An October 2012 report from the Center for Gun Policy and Research summarized existing research on concealed carry laws and found that looser restrictions on carrying firearms in public resulted in a “one to nine percent increase in aggravated assaults” :
So-called right to carry (RTC) laws allow individuals who are not legally proscribed from possessing firearms to carry concealed weapons in public, either by making it easy to get a permit to do so, or by not requiring such permits at all. Arguments for RTC laws are premised on the idea that everyone who is eligible to legally own a firearm is law-abiding, and is at low risk for committing a violent crime. Research cited above concerning weak standards for legal firearm ownership calls this into question. A recent review of concealed carry permit holders in North Carolina examined criminal offending in the group over a five-year period. During that period, more than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of crimes (excluding traffic violations), including more than 200 felonies and 10 murders or manslaughters. An additional 900 had been convicted of a drunk driving offense, an offense commonly associated with substance abuse.
The most consistent finding across studies which correct for these flaws is that RTC laws are associated with an increase in aggravated assaults. Using various statistical methods, estimates range from a one to nine percent increase in aggravated assaults as a result of RTC laws. [Johns Hopkins University, Center for Gun Policy and Research, October 2012]
Harvard Injury Control Research Center: “In Homes, Cities, States And Regions In The US, Where There Are More Guns,” There Are More Gun Homicides. According to a series of peer-reviewed studies published by researchers at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, higher levels of gun ownership are associated with higher homicide rates at the city, state, and national level in the United States and other developed nations:
Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide. [Harvard Injury Control Research Center, accessed 12/3/15]