Could Licensed Gun Owners Help Thwart Mass Shootings?

Following Wednesday’s deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Democratic Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum has asked licensed gun owners in his upstate New York county to begin carrying their weapons.

Is this an answer to the threat of mass shootings?

This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.

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Reality Check: Why More Guns in Right Hands May Be Answer To T…

Ben Swann explores the call of a Sheriff, asking those who are licensed and capable with a firearm to carry guns with them whenever possible. A look at the numbers behind this idea.Learn more:

Posted by Ben Swann on Wednesday, December 9, 2015


“In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to please do so.”

Those words were part of a now viral Facebook post by New York’s Ulster County Sheriff. The sheriff, referring to Paris and San Bernardino, says that he wants the community to partner with his deputies to protect their community.

“I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm. To ensure the safety of yourself and others, make sure you are comfortable and proficient with your weapon and knowledgeable of the laws in New York state with regards to carrying a weapon and when it is legal to use it.”

So in short, the sheriff is calling on licensed gun owners who are proficient with those weapons to wear them, carry them and be ready in the event of a terror attack to use them.

Does this idea make any sense?

Well, according to the numbers, yes.

Statistically, licensed concealed carriers are among the most law-abiding citizens in the country, even more so than police officers.

In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies one-sixth the rate that even police officers are convicted.

What’s more, over the past eight years, while the number of concealed carry permits has exploded, the number of crimes committed with guns has dropped.

Take, for instance, what has happened with concealed carry states.

Since 2007, the number of concealed handgun permits in the United States has soared from 4.6 million to over 12.8 million.

During that same period, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 killings per 100,000 people to just 4.2.

That is about a 25 percent drop.

This is according to a brand new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center.

Nationally, yes, without question, the number of people carrying concealed weapons has almost tripled. And during the same period, murder rates have dropped by a quarter.

So what you need to know is that, first of all, remember, correlation does not equal causation.

But the idea this sheriff has is one that actually has significant effects.

Keep in mind, the sheriff is asking people to follow all the federal, state and local laws. He is also asking people who have licenses and who are capable with a firearm to be armed.

And it is also important to remember that police and first responders are just that. They are responding to an attack happening someplace else.

And while at least one Facebook commenter asked why the sheriff wants people to protect themselves instead of solely rely on his department, another commenter put it this way:

“Maybe because law enforcement can’t be everywhere at once. It is our right to carry and protect ourselves when needed.”


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