2019 Was a Bad Year for the “Only Cops Should Have Guns” Narrative

2019 Was a Bad Year for the “Only Cops Should Have Guns” Narrative by  for Mises

On December 29, an armed gunman entered the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas and shot two members of the congregation. Within six seconds, a third member of the congregation drew a weapon and shot the gunman dead.

The events were captured on live-streamed video, with the dramatic events — in the minds of many observers — highlighting the benefits of privately owned firearms as a defense against armed criminals. Moreover, the gunman, who had a criminal history, obtained his gun illegally, and demonstrated one of the central pitfalls of the gun-control narrative: namely, that those with criminal intent are not easily restrained by laws controlling access to firearms.

Nonetheless, many media outlets were unable to bring themselves to admit that privately owned firearms in this case were the key to preventing a wider massacre. After all, had the congregation waited around for the police to arrive, it is unknown how effective a police response could have been. Nor is it clear that had the police arrived quickly, they would have immediately engaged the shooter or even engaged the right person.

These considerations were not sufficient to divert many media observers from their insistence that private gun ownership is unhelpful in situations like these. Both government agents and their media boosters continue to insist that even well-meaning ordinary citizens ought not be trusted with firearms and that what is reallyneeded are “experts” with government-approved police training.

[RELATED: “Police: ‘We’re the Experts — Don’t You Dare Criticize Us’” by Ryan McMaken]

Elvia Diaz at the Arizona Republic demonstrated this premise well when she wrote:

The reality of Wilson’s heroism is a lot more complex. He wasn’t just an ordinary parishioner, as gun advocates may want you to believe. The church’s volunteer security team member is a firearms instructor, gun range owner and former reserve deputy with a local sheriff’s department, according to a New York Timesdetailed account.

In other words, he’s exactly the kind of man you want around with a firearm. But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas.

And that’s terrifying.

To many people who aren’t left-leaning journalists, it is hardly “terrifying” that some other private citizens of unknown expertise were armed in the congregation. After all, these people never fired a shot once they saw the shooter had been incapacitated. None of them provided any reason to suspect they pose any risk to anyone else.

On the other hand, 2019 has provided plenty of reminders of what sort of “expertise” and heroism government-provided security forces offer.

In the spring of 2019, the parents of victims of the Parkland school shooting sued the Broward County school board and the sheriff’s office for failing to take timely action against the school shooter who killed seventeen people at the school in February 2018. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, police officers repeatedlysought to protect themselves rather than the victims in the school. An analysis of communications among law enforcement officers at the site of the massacre confirmed there were “at least two times a Broward deputy urges another officer to protect themselves, not confront the killer.”

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