Greenwood Park Mall shooting shatters gun control myths

Greenwood Park Mall shooting shatters gun control myths
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The Greenwood Park Mall shooting could have been so much worse. Even so, three innocent people lost their lives, but we all know the body count could have been much, much higher.


Instead, a 22-year-old man drew his weapon and put an end to the horrific attack.

Over at Reason’s The Volokh Conspiracy, they touch on a number of ways this instance shatters cherished gun control myths.

First, a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. Recently, Eugene catalogued other similar instances of defensive gun use.

Second, constitutional carry ensures that good samaritans can carry, even if they do not satisfy onerous carry regimes. I imagine that if this incident happened in New York, the good samaritan would be indicted for illegal possession of a firearm.

Third, a common argument in favor of “high capacity” magazine bans is that defensive gun use never needs more than a few bullets. Here, the good samaritan used ten bullets, and he could have needed even more. In California, for example, magazines are limited to ten rounds. Had the good samaritan needed one more bullet to drop the assailant, he would have been out of luck in California.

Fourth, it is commonly argued that a person armed with a handgun cannot take down a person armed with larger rifles. This incident proves that myth is wrong.

All four of these points are absolutely correct.


Now, as the author notes, this is just a single data point that doesn’t necessarily prove anything in and of itself, but these myths have been held up as unassailable. We’ve been told that this simply doesn’t happen.

Hell, Sen. Chris Murphy claimed Uvalde disproved the “good guy with a gun” thing outright, yet here we are.

Now, let’s take a look at some of these in a bit more depth.

The first and second points are ones I really don’t have anything to add. This shows a good guy with a gun can make the difference and constitutional carry makes sure they have the opportunity to be the good guy with a gun.

On the third point, though, I have some thoughts to add.

The bans on so-called high-capacity magazines are predicated on a particular idea, the idea that you only need a few rounds to stop an attack. Statistically, that’s true. You don’t need 15 rounds most of the time. Yet this case shows that you don’t always get to pick the nature of the attacks you face. This one required 10 rounds but could have easily required 11 or 12 or even more.

Restrictions on magazine capacities don’t inhibit the bad guys, as we saw in Sacramento, Buffalo, and Highland Park. Yet it may prevent the good guy with a gun from stopping a deadly attack.


Now, let’s talk about the fourth point, the good guy with a handgun taking on a bad guy with a rifle.

Look, let’s be clear here. That’s not a position I ever want to be in. A rifle has much greater range and power than a handgun ever will.

Yet as we see in this mall shooting, those advantages don’t necessarily mean the good guy with a handgun loses the fight. Especially in a relatively confined space like a shopping mall food court or a school hallway. There, the advantages offered by a rifle can be negated to some extent, making it possible for a good guy with a gun to end the threat.

And this isn’t just me talking hypotheticals. I mean, it all literally played out in this particular mall shooting. We’ve seen the evidence.

Of course, we’ve also seen how quickly the anti-gun side can dismiss reality, too, so there’s that.

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