(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) As can be expected in the wake of any mass shooting, the American debate over gun rights has heated to and maybe beyond the boiling point in the days since Sunday night’s mass murder in Las Vegas.
One difference this time, though, is that a very recent example of a man using his gun rights to stop a mass murder is serving as a catalyst for other crime victims to tell their own stories of how their guns saved rather than squandered lives. Another is support, from an unexpected source, for the idea that gun control laws are counterproductive.
For the first example, as reported here at Liberty Headlines, it was just two weeks ago that a church usher used his own permitted firearm to hold at bay a Sudanese immigrant who was attempting mass murder in a Tennessee Church of Christ. Police described 22-year-old usher Robert Engle as “extraordinarily brave” for his actions in stopping the murderer.
Again and again on Twitter feeds, people all across the country cited that Sept. 24 church incident as arguments against those trying to use the Las Vegas mass murder as an excuse for radical gun control.
And those Twitter posts often spurred others to Tweet about how gun possession saved their own lives or those of loved ones in all sorts of incidents. Conservative blogger/columnist Bethany Mandel, for example, Tweeted about the time her mother used a gun to stop a home intruders.
“It was the [mere] sight of [the gun] that stopped the intruders,” she wrote.
Among the countless others who Tweeted similar stories was the guy who wrote (with his emphases preserved below): “My life has been saved by a gun, when all I WANTED was to buy a bottle of wine I NEEDED a gun when 3 men pulled knife.”
Of course, those who pay attention know of all the statistics showing that law-abiding gun owners save immense numbers of lives each year. This includes significant examples of mass shootings stopped by responsible gun use. In Chicago a year ago, an Uber driver used his gun to stop a mass shooting on a busy sidewalk. Also in Chicago, two months before that, an ex-military man with a permit felled a gunman who had been shooting at people leaving a party.
Then there were the cases of a Dallas gun owner stopping a mass bar shooting, another mass bar shooting stopped in South Carolina, and the ending of a shooting spree at Virginia’s Appalachian School of Law.
Nonetheless, the predictable public debate raged on, with Slate, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post all featuring pieces in favor of gun control while National Review, the Weekly Standard, and The American Spectator all sporting thought pieces trashing the pro-gun-control arguments.
What was not expected was the liberal Washington Post running a column by a statistician who wrote that she began her gun studies convinced that “gun control was the answer,” but whose research “told me otherwise.”
Here’s what writer Leah Libresco reported (emphasis added):
“My colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.”
And she blasted “policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.”
Libresco’s research, of course, only adds to a growing body of evidence, starting with John R. Lott Jr.’s groundbreaking book More Guns, Less Crime that gun control laws don’t reduce, and maybe even increase, violent crime.
None of it stops the organized Left, of course. Late this week, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she really does hope that a new law banning gun “bump stocks” is just the first step on a “slippery slope” towards widespread, comprehensive gun control.
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