Glenn Reynolds argues that if only more people had guns, there would be fewer mass shootings. Unfortunately he gets his facts wrong.
If there were more responsible, armed people on campuses, mass murder would be harder.
In fact, some mass shootings have been stopped by armed citizens. Though press accounts downplayed it, the 2002 shooting at Appalachian Law School was stopped when a student retrieved a gun from his car and confronted the shooter. Likewise, Pearl, Miss., school shooter Luke Woodham was stopped when the school’s vice principal took a .45 from his truck and ran to the scene. In February’s Utah mall shooting, it was an off-duty police officer who happened to be on the scene and carrying a gun.
In fact, the 2002 shooting at the Appalachian School of Law stopped when the shooter ran out of ammunition. Two armed, off-duty police officers did help capture the shooter, but did not stop the shooting. In Pearl, Joel Myrick used a pistol to capture Luke Woodham as he was escaping from the scene. In Utah, the off-duty police officer was able to intervene during the shooting. But no-one is arguing that police should not have guns.
If we turn to peer-reviewed research instead of anecdotes, Duwe, Kovandzic and Moody in Homicide Studies 2002 6:4 found:
Right-to-carry (RTC) laws mandate that concealed weapon permits be granted to qualified applicants. Such laws could reduce the number of mass public shootings as prospective shooters consider the possibility of encountering armed civilians. However, these laws might increase the number of shootings by making it easier for prospective shooters to acquire guns. We evaluate 25 RTC laws using state panel data for 1977 through 1999. We estimate numerous Poisson and negative binomial models and find virtually no support for the hypothesis that the laws increase or reduce the number of mass public shootings.
They did find some evidence that carry laws increase the number of people killed and wounded in mass public shootings, but this was in only one of the models.
Over at Reason Jacob Sullum ignores Duwe’s work and instead cites a paper by discredited researcher John Lott. A paper that Lott was unable to publish in journal. A paper that claims that carry laws reduced mass shootings by an unlikely 89%. Lott, by the way claims Duwe “gets the same results I do”.