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Do Civilians Armed With Guns Ever Capture, Kill, or Otherwise Stop Mass Shooters?
The Volokh Conspiracy ^ | 14 December, 2012 | Eugene Volokh

Posted on 12/15/2012 7:57:59 AM PST by marktwain

Backers of laws that let pretty much all law-abiding carry concealed guns in public places often argue that these laws will sometimes enable people to stop mass shootings. Opponents occasionally ask: If that’s so, what examples can one give of civilians armed with guns stopping such shootings? Sometimes, I hear people asking if even one such example can be found, or saying that they haven’t heard even one such example.

Naturally, such examples will be rare, partly because mass shootings are rare, partly because many mass shootings happen in supposedly “gun-free” zones (such as schools, universities, or private property posted with a no-guns sign) in which gun carrying isn’t allowed, and partly for other reasons. Moreover, at least some examples are contested, because it might be unclear — as you’ll see below — whether the shooter had been planning to kill more people when he was stopped. But here are instances that I have seen, not counting killings stopped by people who were off-duty police officers (or police officers from other jurisdictions) at the time of the shooting.

1. In Pearl, Mississippi in 1997, 16-year-old Luke Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned to death his mother at home, then killed two students and injured seven at his high school. As he was leaving the school, he was stopped by Assistant Principal Joel Myrick, who had gone out to get a handgun from his car. I have seen sources that state that Woodham was on the way to Pearl Junior High School to continue shooting, though I couldn’t find any contemporaneous news articles that so state.

2. In Edinboro, Pennsylvania in 1996, 14-year-old Andrew Wurst shot and killed a teacher at a school dance, and shot and injured several other students. He had just left the dance hall, carrying his gun — possibly to attack more people, though the stories that I’ve seen are unclear — when he was confronted by the dance hall owner James Strand, who lived next door and kept a shotgun at home. It’s not clear whether Wurst was planning to kill others, would have gotten into a gun battle with the police, or would have otherwise killed more people had Strand not stopped him.

3. In Winnemucca, Nevada in 2008, Ernesto Villagomez killed two people and wounded two others in a bar filled with three hundred people. He was then shot and killed by a patron who was carrying a gun (and had a concealed carry license). It’s not clear whether Villagomez would have killed more people; the killings were apparently the result of a family feud, and I could see no information on whether Villagomez had more names on his list, nor could one tell whether he would have killed more people in trying to evade capture.

4. In Colorado Springs in 2007, Matthew Murray killed four people at a church. He was then shot several times by Jeanne Assam, a church member, volunteer security guard, and former police officer (she had been dismissed by a police department 10 years before, and to my knowledge hadn’t worked as a police officer since). Murray, knocked down and badly wounded, killed himself; it is again not clear whether he would have killed more people had he not been wounded, but my guess is that he would have.

So it appears that civilians armed with guns are sometimes willing to intervene to stop someone who had just committed a mass shooting in public. In what fraction of mass shootings would such interventions happen, if gun possession were allowed in the places where the shootings happen? We don’t know. In what fraction would interventions prevent more killings and injuries, as opposed to capturing or killing the murderer after he’s already done? We don’t know. In what fraction would interventions lead to more injuries to bystanders? Again, we don’t know. Finally, always keep in mind that mass shootings in public places should not be the main focus in the gun debate, whether for gun control or gun decontrol: They on average account for much less than 1% of all homicides in the U.S., and are unusually hard to stop through gun control laws (since the killer is bent on committing a publicly visible murder and is thus unlikely to be much deterred by gun control law, or by the prospect of encountering an armed bystander).

Still, people have asked for examples of some shootings in which a civilian armed with a gun intervened and brought down the shooter — so here they are.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: armedcitizen; banglist; citizensdefense; eugenevolokh; guncontrol; massshooting; secondamendment; stopmassshooting; volokh
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I have three more on my list, which I will publish later.

Of course, when a mass shooting is stopped by an armed citizen, there are not as many victims. Critics can always claim that it is then not a "real" mass shooting.

1 posted on 12/15/2012 7:58:07 AM PST by marktwain
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To: marktwain
I created this image in 1/2 hour using Google Images and MS Paint. Anybody can do the same. I suggest that this approach be taken to counter the coming firestorm against firearms. If you can't make an image, at least copy and share the ones you find.

Hollywood and the MSM created these monsters, and now Hollywood and the MSM will blame the tools, not the cultural wreckage they wrought. Let's turn the focus back around where it belongs.


2 posted on 12/15/2012 7:58:52 AM PST by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: marktwain

Seems like there was one at a Georgia college (Law school maybe) some years ago where someone went to his car and got a gun and killed a potential mass killer.


3 posted on 12/15/2012 8:01:06 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: marktwain

Thanks for posting!


4 posted on 12/15/2012 8:02:11 AM PST by albie
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To: marktwain

I have tried, lately, to remind people of what happened in Kennesaw when they *mandated* a firearm in every household.

An *immediate* drop in violent crime of more than 85%.


5 posted on 12/15/2012 8:03:52 AM PST by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (Vendetta))
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To: Travis McGee

Entertainment has a way of coaxing the lowest common denominator out of people, but again people also have the ability to refuse entertainment It takes two to do that tango.


6 posted on 12/15/2012 8:05:18 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: Travis McGee

I don’t buy the games and movies angle by themselves. You or I wouldn’t behave any differently after playing thousands of hours of violent games.

Now combine them with liberal indoctrination coming from the schools where “reality” has become a subjective concept and you have a recipe for disaster.

Its also important to note that our parents probably didn’t allow us to watch very violent movies or play the games. We were expected to make those decisions for ourselves as adults.


7 posted on 12/15/2012 8:05:38 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: marktwain

At a local high school, an armed deputy shot an armed would be intruder stopped at the restricted entry point


8 posted on 12/15/2012 8:05:52 AM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 .....The fairest Deduction to be reduced is the Standard Deduction)
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To: marktwain

Yahoo has this story on their site saying that a motive has not been found for the killings.

Crazy people don’t need motives. They make one up in thier crazed minds.


9 posted on 12/15/2012 8:07:00 AM PST by Venturer
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To: Hardraade

And Kennesaw really was only a “strong suggestion.” It was easy to opt out as conscientious objector. Anyhow, robbers felt it wise to move on to easier pickings.


10 posted on 12/15/2012 8:07:00 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: marktwain

I think you can up your confidence level on #4.

The guy shot a couple of people in the parking lot and was stopped by being shot on his way into the church.

What do you think he was planning to do in there? Pray for forgiveness?


11 posted on 12/15/2012 8:07:00 AM PST by Sherman Logan (Brought to you by one of the pale penis people.)
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To: marktwain

A well-placed shot at the head of a crazy artist from Austria would have stopped a mass murder.

But then again, he made sure there were strict gun laws in place to protect his sorry....uh protect the children. Yeah, that’s what it was!


12 posted on 12/15/2012 8:08:00 AM PST by VanDeKoik
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To: Venturer

The same MSM that would scream “hate” in a new york millisecond.


13 posted on 12/15/2012 8:08:00 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: Travis McGee

Travis, where is that cartoon drawing showing the dead laying around, where guns are bad? I need it for my facebook page, thanks.


14 posted on 12/15/2012 8:08:18 AM PST by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: marktwain

Islamic terrorists are already seeing a prime opportunity here, this school shooting was one person, terrorists will no doubt plan on several dozen school shootings across America.

All they need is a political map to see where schools are in a blue zone.

Either take your kids out of school or arm the school, no middle ground allowed here. Evil has struck and is about to strike again.


15 posted on 12/15/2012 8:08:29 AM PST by Eye of Unk (A Civil Cold War in America is here, its already been declared.)
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To: VanDeKoik

Mr. Hitler and Austria — it took two to tango.


16 posted on 12/15/2012 8:08:55 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: Hardraade

Yep. While the population doubled, too.


17 posted on 12/15/2012 8:09:36 AM PST by RandallFlagg ("Liberalism is about as progressive as CANCER" -Alfonzo Rachel)
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To: Travis McGee

There is something else that has changed the culture. They don’t lock up crazy people. The do-gooders claimed that these people would be okay on the streets if they would just take their medications. Well, they don’t usually take their medications because they think they are okay without the drugs.


18 posted on 12/15/2012 8:10:23 AM PST by MondoQueen
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Do you think the LCD will refuse the elixir or violent, cruel entertainment?


19 posted on 12/15/2012 8:11:28 AM PST by The_Media_never_lie (Actually, they lie when it suits them! The crooked MS media must be defeated any way it can be done!)
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To: going hot

20 posted on 12/15/2012 8:11:32 AM PST by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: cripplecreek
You or I wouldn’t behave any differently after playing thousands of hours of violent games.

Or as likely, feel as charmed by the prospect as by the prospect of dancing in the sewer. No earnest advice to stop it would be needed.

21 posted on 12/15/2012 8:11:45 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: marktwain

Another thread just mentioned a shooter @a Birmingham hospital. Shot three people, he was killed by an armed security guard.


22 posted on 12/15/2012 8:12:13 AM PST by EmilyGeiger (s)
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To: Travis McGee

That’s the one, thanks again


23 posted on 12/15/2012 8:12:52 AM PST by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: EmilyGeiger

Not a good idea to copycat Connecticut in red state, red neck, Alabama. Where they at least dare to have guards with guns, if not more.


24 posted on 12/15/2012 8:14:50 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: Travis McGee
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
25 posted on 12/15/2012 8:14:59 AM PST by MtnMan101
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To: marktwain

Jeanne Assam is probably the best & most recent example, although your average person would not be as well trained as she was.


26 posted on 12/15/2012 8:15:12 AM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

There was this time I attached ACME rockets to roller skates........


27 posted on 12/15/2012 8:17:48 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: marktwain

I’m afraid I’ve forgotten the title, but there was also a book with statistical analysis on where there is more gun violence—in gun free cities and states, or in states which allow citizens to carry. The statistics are pretty clear.


28 posted on 12/15/2012 8:17:54 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: marktwain
Photobucket An American citizen can carry a fully automatic weapon... And kill bad guys that are out to maim,torture, and kill other citizens..... But that's only if they are in a different country and under orders by an American president. Yet in our own country, The American citizens are not aloud to fully protect ourselves and our loved ones from the bad guys, with semi-automatic weapons or rifle that our founders and the Constitution guaranteed us.Crazy isn't it.
29 posted on 12/15/2012 8:18:41 AM PST by baddog 219
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To: marktwain

Albeit the 32 homicides in Chicago this year are not ‘mass shootings’ however, leave people just as dead. Titillating Sit coms or music video with sexy themes with half clad people or showing leather jacked foul mouth tough women and men killing “the enemy” as role models or car ads showing reckless driving etc. etc. are all complicit in this amoral culture we live in where life is dirt cheap and people made even cheaper....some how this must affect the minds of those on the edge. Cleaning up that exposure might help some....


30 posted on 12/15/2012 8:18:44 AM PST by yoe
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To: MtnMan101

EXCELLENT!


31 posted on 12/15/2012 8:19:41 AM PST by baddog 219
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To: MondoQueen; Travis McGee
"There is something else that has changed the culture. They don’t lock up crazy people"

I know a lot of people here do not like Rudy; however, when he took over as Mayor of NYC he cleaned up what was once a cr@p filled toilet bowl with no running water.

Everyone hated him, especially the unions. He cleaned up the streets, locked up the crazies, removed the homeless from the streets, made NYC a clean safe place.

Now NYC is becoming what it once was, prior to Rudy.

32 posted on 12/15/2012 8:21:59 AM PST by NoGrayZone (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Actually, I’ve seen a lot of violent game addiction, up close and personal.

Almost always hitting far-left, liberal adults and youngsters. To get “turn” at the game could lead to fistfight, sometimes. Very weird.


33 posted on 12/15/2012 8:23:33 AM PST by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (Vendetta))
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To: Travis McGee
I found this brochure some time back. I love the image on it!


34 posted on 12/15/2012 8:23:46 AM PST by Fresh Wind
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To: yoe

Chicago sees that many killings in a hot weekend... whaddya mean this year?


35 posted on 12/15/2012 8:24:11 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: marktwain

A good point in this article is that most times these mass shootings take place in a gun free zone. The shooter knows he is not going to be thwarted.

How many mass shootings have we ever had in a Pro Bass or a Cabela’s store? Safest place in the world to be. Half the customers are CC.


36 posted on 12/15/2012 8:26:20 AM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Venturer
"... a motive has not been found for the killings"

Politically correct euphemisms are offered up to confuse facts.

37 posted on 12/15/2012 8:26:20 AM PST by yoe
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To: baddog 219

good baddog


38 posted on 12/15/2012 8:26:22 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: marktwain

Another consideration is that if a civilian stops a shooter early, it’s difficult to know whether or not a mass shooting was averted. And since it’s a non-event, the media won’t cover it.


39 posted on 12/15/2012 8:26:38 AM PST by hitkicker (The only thing worse than a politician is a child molester)
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To: yoe

Not even the vague “the killer was angry.”


40 posted on 12/15/2012 8:27:20 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: marktwain
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

41 posted on 12/15/2012 8:27:29 AM PST by FatherofFive (Islam is evil and must be eradicated)
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To: FatherofFive
Photobucket
42 posted on 12/15/2012 8:29:37 AM PST by FatherofFive (Islam is evil and must be eradicated)
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To: Hardraade

There is a danger in becoming estranged from the normal, in this case normal concepts of courage and bravery. There can come a temptation to embrace a perverted form of it laden with the smell of evil. Why do we have more kids that like to play Grand Theft Auto than who aspire to be good cops or soldiers?


43 posted on 12/15/2012 8:31:36 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: marktwain
Naturally, such examples will be rare, partly because mass shootings are rare, partly because many mass shootings happen in supposedly “gun-free” zones (such as schools, universities, or private property posted with a no-guns sign) in which gun carrying isn’t allowed, and partly for other reasons.

Add to this the reality that getting a concealed carry permit in some areas of our nation is next to impossible, and it's spitting in the face of reality to try to do a fair study on the ability of concealed carry to actually make a difference.

If people in the office yesterday had been armed, this shooter would have faced opposition. I defy anyone to explain how these people were safer without guns.

44 posted on 12/15/2012 8:32:04 AM PST by DoughtyOne (Hurricane Sandy..., a week later and over 60 million Americans still didn't have power.)
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To: marktwain

John Lott ‘More guns, Less crime’ reported that ccw laws reduce the number and degree of spree murders.


45 posted on 12/15/2012 8:35:09 AM PST by Jabba the Nutt (.Are they stupid, malicious or evil?)
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To: Hardraade

Thanks. I borrowed that figure -— very impressive.


46 posted on 12/15/2012 8:35:46 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o
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To: DoughtyOne

Donutman, the liberal idea so often is to create this little cloistered peacenik utopia, bereft of any possibility of hazard, let alone the need to think about it. Which often seems to be perking along well until it gets visited by the real world.


47 posted on 12/15/2012 8:36:00 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: marktwain

1966, University of Texas. Charles Whitman climbed the 28 story university tower and began shooting people.

Soon citizens on the ground grabbed their rifles and returned fire.

An off duty deputy sheriff and two civilians climbed the tower and ended the rampage

49 were shot before the sniper was killed.

Today the police would have spent hours clearing the area (and maybe arresting those that fired back) and then assemble a hundred men swat team before they decide to drop a bomb on the tower killing the shooter as well as destroying the building.

The death toll would have been much higher


48 posted on 12/15/2012 8:37:18 AM PST by CIB-173RDABN (California does not have a money problem, it has a spending problem.)
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To: marktwain

It is interesting but the next story on FR after this one is about a hospital in Birmingham where the shooter wounded three before being shot to death by an armed person. So add this to the list.


49 posted on 12/15/2012 8:38:14 AM PST by ProudFossil (" I never did give anyone hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell." Harry Truman)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I can point out it could have something to do with a lying usurper who not only once won an election through fraud did it again, and he is a loyalist to Islam. And very soon wants to make it a crime to criticize Islam, in effect is pushing the culture of embracing Islam and its culture, an evil corrupt culture that is just the kind of dark cult many would turn to, because its “cool”.

Blame Obama, may be illogical but we cannot keep on putting band aids on a brain tumor for America.


50 posted on 12/15/2012 8:41:33 AM PST by Eye of Unk (A Civil Cold War in America is here, its already been declared.)
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