After the Sandy Hook massacre left 27 dead at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said there was only one solution to mass shootings: “a good guy with a gun.”
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun,” he said during a press conference after the tragic 2012 incident.
This idea has been repeated again and again by the NRA after a catastrophic shooting rocks the nation, and it’s once again being bandied about as a possible solution to school shootings in the wake of the slayings at a Florida high school last week.
But there’s one problem. A good guy with a gun was on the scene and didn’t stop the killings.
According to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, an armed school officer was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida during the attack. But Scot Peterson didn’t enter the building and stop the alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz.
“I think he remained outside for upwards of four minutes,” Israel said, noting the shooting lasted approximately six minutes.”I’m devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words. These families lost their children. We lost coaches. I’ve been to the funerals, I’ve been to the homes. … I’ve been to the vigils. It’s just — there are no words.”
When asked what he would have liked Peterson to do when the shooting started, Israel replied, “Addressed the killer. Kill the killer.”
Donald Trump also weighed in on Peterson, who resigned shortly after being suspended.
“He trained his whole life,” Trump said. “But when it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened. But he certainly did a poor job, there’s no question about that.”
While many have criticized Peterson for his inaction during the shooting, his inability to put himself in harm’s way highlights the ridiculousness of calling on “good guys” without combat training to take down a mass shooter.
Trump has suggested allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons because, in his estimation, “teachers love their students” and would have “shot the hell out of [Cruz] before he knew what happened.”
But more guns aren’t always the answer. Last year, a group of researchers from Stanford Law School looked at four decades of data to see how less restrictive gun laws affected violence crime rates. What they found was that states that made it easier for citizens to get firearms also had slightly higher non-fatal violent crime rates than those that made it more difficult to obtain a gun.
“For years, the question has been, is there any public safety benefit to right to carry laws? That is now settled,” said researcher John Donohue. “The answer is no.”
When it comes to preventing mass shootings, the only thing that may actually stop them from happening is banning semi-automatic rifles.