In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, Wayne LaPierre, the Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association, made the following statement; “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away, or a minute away?”
At the time, LaPierre was recommending that schools across the country utilize armed security guards as a response to active shooter events. The talking point caught on with NRA supporters and became the mantra for concealed carry permits.
Unfortunately, the concept is flawed on any one of a number of different levels.
First and foremost, once you introduce weapons to what was a sterile environment it makes it very difficult to determine who’s a good guy with a gun and who’s a bad guy with a gun. Those decisions are usually made in split seconds and don’t always turn out well.
The average person carrying a concealed weapon hasn’t received anywhere near enough training to exercise good judgement in the middle of a firefight.
Are Armed Security Guards the Answer?
Even trained professionals have made horrible mistakes in judgement during active shooter events.
In fact…we have two recent tragedies that support my premise.
The first incident took place at Manny’s Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois when police mistakenly shot and killed security guard Jemel Roberson in a case of mistaken identity. Roberson was trying to intervene in an incident involving a firearm…he was armed as well; a good guy with a gun mistaken by the police to be the shooter.
There are a number of unanswered questions here…was Roberson wearing clothing that identified him as a security officer…was he officially on duty that day…was he authorized to carry a weapon as part of his official duties, or was he carrying under his personal license to carry a concealed firearm?
Most importantly, had he received the training required to interact officially with police during an active shooter event. Active Shooter instructors across the country teach participants to have nothing in their hands when the police arrive…this applies to off-duty police, security guards and good guys with guns as well.
Witnesses at the scene immediately made the tragic mistake about race, due to Roberson’s ethnicity, but we maintain it could have happened to anyone, regardless of the color of their skin.
The second event was similar in nature and took place on Thanksgiving evening in a mall in Alabama. An altercation involving a firearm took place…one teen was shot and a young girl wounded by a stray bullet.
Chaos ensued and people were running from the mall. Some were seen with their personal weapons drawn…despite the fact that the mall’s website states they do not allow firearms on the property.
21 year old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. was a good guy with a gun attempting to intervene. Despite having a license to carry a concealed firearm, he was mistakenly shot and killed by police responding to the incident.
Lessons Learned from Recent Violent Intruder Situations
Now…there are several important lessons for us to learn from these tragic events:
First, the basic belief that a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun is rarely true. There have been numerous shooting events where good guys with guns were present but failed to prevent the incident even trained armed security guards.
Second, it’s important to keep in mind that police officers are human…they have the same fear and stress response as anyone else, and are therefore susceptible to making mistakes when deciding who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy in the middle of a firefight.
Third, it’s also important for individuals with a concealed carry permit to understand that their license to carry is not absolute…public and private establishments have the right to ban firearms.
Last, but not least, it’s important to understand the law enforcement mindset when responding to active shooter events.
Officers are taught to move to the sound of gunfire and engage the shooter…in doing so, they have no way of knowing if you’re a good guy with a gun…or a bad guy with a gun…and in those crucial seconds, you are assumed to be a threat until proven you’re not. In that respect, it’s hard to blame officers for defending themselves even in when dealing with trained armed security guards.
So…our advice is this…if you ever find yourself in a shooting situation…and you decide to be a good guy with a gun…holster your weapon the minute you hear a siren or see law enforcement on site.
I can assure you, if you follow our advice, you’ll live to fight another day.
That’s how we see it…we’d love to hear what you think. Contact us here at RMA by calling 781-871-2500…or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.orgTags: active shooter training, armed security guards, security training services