Gun violence researcher: Mass shooters would 'think twice' if victims were armed

Dr. John Lott, founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center discussed recent mass shootings and argued that more concealed carry permit could prevent such incidents. (Image: SBG)

Dr. John Lott, founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of "More Guns, Less Crime," said mass shooting incidents, like this weekend's shootings in El Paso, Texas or Dayton, Ohio, would be less likely if victims were allowed to carry guns to protect themselves.

"You keep on seeing these people attacking places where victims can’t defend themselves," Lott said in an interview with WJLA. "And the thing that is frustrating to me, is that the media refuses to go and call these places gun-free zones."

In case after case, whether it was the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival last weekend, or the rash of school shootings, Lott argued that in each case, the shooters select their targets because they are unlikely to defend themselves.

"There is a reason why these killers—when you go and read the diaries or look at other statements or people who have left statements—try to pick out those venues where they know victims can defend themselves," he noted. "These people may be crazy but they are not stupid. They know if they go to a place where people can’t defend themselves, they are going to be able to kill more people then they could have otherwise."

Lott's research indicates that over the last 70 years, about 95% of mass public shootings occur in gun-free zones where individuals who may be licensed to carry a concealed firearm are prohibited from doing so.

"I think the irony is, that we pass gun control regulation and they make it so that victims rather than killers obey the laws," Lott said. "Rather than making people safer, they make things riskier."

Lott further suggested that concerns about individuals with concealed carry permits causing more harm than good are unsupported by the data. Though possible, Lott said there is "not one single case" where either a police officer accidentally shot a permit holder or a permit holder accidentally shot a bystander.

Lott said there were many underreported incidents where an individual with a concealed carry permit was able to thwart a shooter. He cited several instances, including one in Titusville, Florida in 2018, where an individual with a concealed handgun permit holder shot a would-be attacker at a back to school event with over 200 children and their families.

"My guess is that if you gave coverage to those types of things, those types of attacks and how they fail, [it] might cause some other attackers to think twice before they engaged in their attacks," Lott said.

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