by Gila Hayes

Ed Monk’s research, as discussed in this month’s lead interview, emphasizes how attractive a so-called gun free zone full of victims who can’t fight back is to a sociopath wanting to make headlines for committing an atrocity. I was doing some additional study on armed intervention when I ran across a web page made up of news reports compiled by John Lott at It seems to me that instead of posting “No Guns Allowed” signs, any rational business or administrator or government entity should reach out to law-abiding concealed carry practitioners, saying, in effect, “We’re safer with you around. Please, come on in to our offices, hospitals, schools, shopping centers and churches!”

Discreetly armed citizens discourage violent crime, both one-on-one victimizations and crimes involving larger pools of victims because who knows if someone is going to be carrying a gun in the place and at the time a criminal decides to “get paid.” Combine the news snippets on Lott’s website with stories in the book I reviewed on the previous pages of this journal and mix in the reportage of Chris Bird in Thank God I Had A Gun and The Concealed Handgun Manual for an interesting analysis of how armed men and women thwart and prevent crime. While few of the armed citizens featured in those stories would call themselves a “hero,” they were present when the shooting started and used their own guns to quickly stop the murders.

John Lott’s website confirms Monk’s comment that a shooter may set out to kill one person–like the Georgia nursing home shooter who went to kill his wife, but once started, run up a body count–although the incidents reported on are more general in nature and not strictly limited to mass shootings. In addition, Monk’s observation that the quickest way to stop a murderer in a public place is aggressive action by a good man or woman with a gun who is close enough to see and hear the first gun shots and takes the initiative to stop the killing.

This truth is illustrated over and over in Lott’s collection of incidents reporting successful armed intervention. I was intrigued by the frequencies of public violence in places to which most of us go with considerable regularity–well, all but the bars and nightclubs, anyway. Lott reported on shootings in 18 stores which included auto repair shops, cell phone stores, gas stations, grocery and liquor stores, gun stores, jewelry stores and a barbershop. Eight were in restaurants, six were in bars or clubs, six were in residential areas, five were in churches, five were in schools, four were out on the street, three were at private parties and celebrations, and two were in clinics–and that takes into consideration only the 50-or-so reports that Lott discussed as part of his argument that concealed carry licensees reduce the death toll and injuries caused by violent criminals.

Statistically, being caught up in an active shooter attack is extremely unlikely: some have proposed that it is about as probable as being hit by lightning. I think that is partly because of the categorization that does not consider shootings in which one or two die and several suffer non-fatal wounds as a mass shooting. I doubt that comforts the injured, the terrified survivors and the people who have to bury loved ones. I believe Tom Givens’ aphorism “It’s not the odds; it’s the stakes” is extremely applicable.

Law abiding men and women–people who’ve gone to the trouble to take training, undergo background checks for carry licenses and in some states have to get permits to even buy guns–do a world of good. What foolishness it is to restrict these legally armed citizens from going to schools, stores, government buildings, churches and other venues where they could increase the safety for those who do not carry guns.

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.