Another “Gun Free Zone,” Another Mass Shooting

According to its website, Molson Coors maintains a strict no-gun policy at its Milwaukee brewing facility. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop an ex-employee from fatally shooting five people this week before turning the gun on himself. However, there’s one thing the rule did ensure.

That his victims couldn’t shoot back.

While we don’t know for sure whether armed citizens could have stopped this particular tragedy, they’ve managed to stop plenty of others. Firearms instructor Jack Wilson demonstrated that last December when he took down a gunman at his church.

Wilson wasn’t the first person to stop a massacre in a house of worship. Armed parishioner Jeanne Assam did the same when a killer stormed her Colorado church in 2007. So did off-duty police officer Antonio Milow, who ended an attack at his own church five years later.

That’s not to say a church is the only place where legal guns can make a difference. When a man armed with two guns and a pair of knives stormed an Texas bar in 2017, he was put down by a customer who held a concealed handgun permit. Police called the permit holder “a hero,” saying the attacker “had the capacity to do much greater harm.”

In 2018, an Alabama McDonald’s customer was also called a “hero” when he prevented a mass shooting at the restaurant.

An armed Florida man won praise too for preventing a massacre at a back to school event. “We are extremely grateful that nobody else was injured in this incident,” said Titusville's Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson. “This suspect opened fire at a crowded public park, this could have been so much worse."

Another Florida man stopped a gunman who had just entered an auto shop and shot two people. So did an armed patient at a Tennessee dental office. One witness told reporters, "You all wouldn’t be dealing with me right now if the hero hadn’t stepped in."

Similarly, an Uber driver with a concealed handgun permit stopped a mass shooting in Illinois and legally armed citizens halted a shooter at a Walmart in Washington. 

But it's not just mass shootings that lawful gun owners have put a stop to. In 2012, a man stabbed two people at a Salt Lake City grocery store before he was shot by an armed customer:

And while people with concealed handgun permits do confront mass murderers, they typically aren't a threat to the general public. In 2018 over 1.3 million Texans were licensed to carry a firearm. One was convicted of murder and another three were convicted of manslaughter, giving them a per capita murder rate of 0.29 per 100 thousand--far below the national average. 

The cases listed above likely aren't the only instances in which legally armed citizens have ended mass shootings, and it's not clear how many more examples exist. One thing that is clear?

If it weren't for "gun free zones," there would be a lot more.

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