Many conservatives ludicrously continue to argue that the solution to gun violence is more guns. This perspective is best embodied by NRA chief Wayne LaPierre’s speech after the Sandy Hook shooting advocating arming teachers, in which he made the notorious statement, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” In the macho fantasies of conservatives who use their massive arsenals to augment their fragile masculinity, they would calmly and professionally take out the shooter in a potential mass shooting situation. As much as these gun fetishists may wish to be heroes, however, all factual evidence from people with actual experience suggests that the “good guy with a gun” notion is totally bogus.
While Republicans like to parrot romanticized NRA ideals of armed citizens shooting down would-be evildoers, the reality is that the unprecedented sea of guns in which we live causes exponentially more harm than good. A recent analysis of FBI data by the Washington Post found that for every lethal justified shooting – what could be called “good guy with a gun” incidents – guns are responsible for 34 murders, 78 suicides, and 2 accidental deaths. The vast majority of these 114 “bad guy” deaths for each “good guy” death could be prevented with gun control, so acting like “good guys with guns” are the main group to be protected is dangerously disingenuous. Moreover, as a recent case in Houston in which an armed passerby attempted to stop a carjacking and instead shot the victim shows, even in the few instances in which armed citizens could actually do something, the chaos, confusion, and fear of the situation makes it near-impossible.