Post Incident Analysis Parkland HS Shooting – Why Everyone Should Carry a Gun
I am pretty sure that the title of this article is a giveaway that I am an advocate for your 2nd Amendment Right to carry a weapon. Looking at the CNN Town Hall and the unbelievable statements of the Sheriff (the very person responsible to protect the school and who would be even more so if America is disarmed), I have one take away for an active shooter scenario:
“When seconds count… the police are only minutes away.”
In the last article, we talked about how to defend yourself when unarmed and trapped in a building with an active shooter. Remember our priorities in an active shooter situation is to leave the building if you can, barricade yourself in if you can’t leave, and fight if you must. In this article, I want to talk about the imperative to arm yourself – why everyone should carry a gun.
In an ideal situation if all law-abiding citizens were armed, when an active shooter comes in a building, he is immediately shot by a CCW and the situation is over. Live is rarely that neat. The longer these situations play out the more confusing they become as the police react and try to get control of the situation.
Ok, let’s start with some facts or rather estimates I can glean from a quick Google search: 25% to 42% of American households own guns anywhere from 270 to 320 million weapons. But a small percentage (3%) own half of the guns in America. When I was doing some research on the gun market several years ago, Guns and Ammo magazine claimed that their subscribers own 17 guns on average. Personally I have tried to right-size my collection and still have ended up with more than I originally intended. But different weapons are designed for different purposes so I won’t dwell on this. Let’s focus on conceal and carry and why you should 1) get a CCW permit and 2) actually carry a weapon with you all the time.
CCWs in the states have increased dramatically in the past decade and now number nearly 15 million according to Quora (https://www.quora.com/What-percentage-of-American-gun-owners-carry-one-regularly ) or roughly 5% of the population. But having a CCW does not mean that they are always carrying a weapon and of course, that figure does not include people that carry weapons without a permit or carry illegal weapons.
Bottom Line Up Front – there are lots of guns in America and you can get a CCW in almost every state (most states are “shall issue” and only a few are “may issue”).
In the past year there have been some notable active shooter incidents at churches, schools, at work, clubs, and concerts. Overseas we have seen these situations at restaurants, weddings, and hotels. My question to you would be – why would you permit someone to have a life-threatening advantage over you? Getting a CCW, purchasing a weapon, and then training with it to where you are comfortable carrying it seems to be the best course of action you can take now to protect yourself in that remote chance you end up in an active shooter scenario.
From a military standpoint, the active shooter has the initiative. They have chosen the time and place of their attack and in most cases, they have specifically chosen places where they expect that people will not be armed. They have probably familiarized themselves with the layout and any on site security. And they have placed themselves inside the building giving them a distinct defensive advantage.
Additionally, urban combat / room entry is one of the most challenging operations for the military (or the police). Even if they have detailed information on the floor plans, they have limited knowledge of the shooter’s location, number of shooters, etc. Doorways, stairwells and hallways are choke points that give the defender (in this case the shooter) the advantage. Each room has to be cleared as they move through the building and if the passageways “Y” or “T” (including stairwells and elevators) these has to be secured behind the SWAT team so the shooter doesn’t get behind them.
Finally, the shooter has an advantage of blending into the crowd as we saw the shooter at Parkland did. They may be wearing civilian clothes and nothing that would indicate they are the shooter (other than carrying the weapon). If they drop their weapon, they are just another civilian in the crowd. The police have the challenge of positively identifying the shooter before they engage to avoid shooting an innocent bystander. In contrast the shooter is there specifically to shoot innocent bystanders so he is just pointing and shooting at his leisure.
As a result, the police may delay their entry into the building to confront the shooter and as a result of that, you need to consider defending yourself and that is why I advocate you get a CCW.
If an active shooter comes into your building and you are armed, he now faces the same challenges the police would have. He doesn’t know you are armed, he doesn’t know where you are at, you blend into the crowd, and you can pick your defensive position. But you want to be sure you are comfortable enough with your weapon that you can hit the target, particularly if people are runing away from him and obstructing a clear shot – this means you should go to the range and practice.
The police should be doing or have done scenario based training that replicates situations they might encounter. You should seek to do the same with your weapons training – active shooters don’t stand immobile at the far end of the firing range. They will move, seek cover and most importantly fire back! You need to practice firing from a covered position at a target that might present itself and then withdraw. More training is always a good thing.
While I expect the police to move to the sound of gunfire, depending on your level of training, you may not elect to do so. The defender has an advantage in room combat. Make the shooter come to you in a place you have chosen specifically for its defensive advantage, such as he has to come through a chokepoint like a doorway that you are covering with your weapon. However, if you know the shooter’s location and that he / she is moving from room to room shooting unarmed victims, you may choose to move towards the shooter and try to ambush him / her as he comes out of a room. Your actions might save lives.
Last item to discuss today is the final phase of an active shooter scenario: passing into the protection of the police. If you are leaving the building, the last thing you want is for the police to mistake you for the shooter. Don’t run out of the building carrying your weapon in your hand. The police are going to be amped up and the situation is going to be confusing. Comply with their directions as they try to restore order. Don’t be surprised if they detain you if you are carrying a weapon. They have no idea who the shooter is at this point.
Likewise, If the police are coming through the building and reach your position, that last thing you would want them to see when they enter your room is them staring down the barrel of your gun. Communicate with them if you hear them at the door. Again, comply with their directions and let them establish control of the situation.
Let’s look at our four phases
Preparation (what you should be doing now)
- Get a CCW
- Purchase a firearm of your personal preference for conceal and carry with sufficient accessories and ammunition that fit comfortably and unobtrusively on your person (you really don’t want people to know that you are carrying a weapon – it gives you an advantage of surprise if you need it)
- Practice shooting and putting your weapon into action. Train like you expect you might have to fight (not just on a flat range with paper targets but with some move out ranges and pop up / knock down targets)
- Situational awareness: be familiar with the layout of those places you frequently go and consider how you might react in an active shooter scenario in those places
- You hear gunshots in the building – can you leave? If yes, do so. If no, can you barricade yourself in a room and defend it?
- Prepare your defense, barricade the door, pay attention to the lighting (you don’t want to silhouette yourself and you want to be in shadows if you can – make the active shooter stand in the light for a clear shot at him), pick your overwatch position
- Are you comfortable moving towards the shooter to end the situation – depends on your level of training.
- If the shooter attempts to enter your area, engage. While most people shoot center of mass, these are also areas that are protected by body armor. If you have sufficient training you may elect a more precise shot. You goal is to neutralize the threat.
- If the shooter is down, communicate your location to the police. Insure you won’t be mistaken for the shooter. Comply with police instructions.
- If moving out of the building, do not brandish your weapon. Comply with police instructions.
- If the police are coming to your location in the building, communicate your situation to them, positively identify them and permit them to take control of the situation. Comply with police instructions.
In Summary - right now in America it is your choice to carry a weapon for self defense. Be proactive and get a CCW and carry a weapon. When seconds count, you won't have to wait on the authorities that are minutes away.
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