New York Times:
The more that sensational gun violence afflicts the nation, the more that the myth of the vigilant citizen packing a legally permitted concealed weapon, fully prepared to stop the next mass shooter in his tracks, is promoted.
This foolhardy notion of quick-draw resistance, however, is dramatically contradicted by a research project showing that, since 2007, at least 763 people have been killed in 579 shootings that did not involve self-defense. Tellingly, the vast majority of these concealed-carry, licensed shooters killed themselves or others rather than taking down a perpetrator.
The death toll includes 29 mass killings of three or more people by concealed carry shooters who took 139 lives; 17 police officers shot to death, and — in the ultimate contradiction of concealed carry as a personal safety factor — 223 suicides. Compared with the 579 non-self-defense, concealed-carry shootings, there were only 21 cases in which self-defense was determined to be a factor.
Clearly, concealed carry does not transform ordinary citizens into superheroes. Rather, it compounds the risks to innocent lives, particularly as state legislatures, bowing to the gun lobby, invite more citizens to venture out naïvely with firearms in more and more public places, including restaurants, churches and schools.
Of course this conceal carry mythology is also supported by the entertainment industry which features celebrities like Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, and Jason Stratham producing and firing their weapons with lightning speed and unerring accuracy.
In reality even supposedly well trained law enforcement professionals often cannot unholster their weapons fast enough to protect themselves or to fire it accurately once in their hands.
You can see a little of what I am talking about by watching this video of martial artist Dan Insanto attacking actual police officers in training against knife attacks.
Another problem with the conceal carry folks is the false sense of invulnerability that they often assume while armed. In truth they are still incredibly vulnerable to attack, perhaps in some cases even more so, with the added bonus of being able to fire bullets into the air and endangering all of those in their immediate vicinity.
No, as virtually ALL research demonstrates the best way to protect ourselves against being shot, is to restrict access to guns and to limit the number of firearms in our communities.
I know that goes against virtually everything we are taught about our shoot first ask questions later American mythology, but that does not make it any less of a fact.