Fact: Armed citizens save lives. I know that. You know that. But not everyone knows that. What we can say, however, is that millions of people who wouldn’t otherwise know that do know that because of economist John Lott Jr.
The author of nine books, including the seminal “More Guns, Less Crime,” Lott’s been doing the yeoman’s work on the concealed carry front for years.
Recently, Lott published a column on FoxNews.com that aggregated cases where licensed permit holders stopped public shootings.
This list comes on the heels of the mass killing at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that left at least 26 people dead and 20 more wounded. The perpetrator of the attack may have killed even more people had it not been for the heroic actions of a good guy with a gun.
Stephen Willeford, a local resident, former NRA instructor and retired plumber, confronted the killer with an AR-15. After a brief gunfight, the bad guy fled the scene of the shooting in a vehicle. He would later be found dead, shot three times, including a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
That story inspired Lott to put together the list to educate those that don’t know and remind those that do know: armed citizens save lives.
1. Arlington, Texas, May 3, 2017:
A police spokesman stated that the concealed handgun permit holder “prevented further loss of life.” A Dallas Morning News headline read: “‘Hero’ stopped mass murder by crazed bar patron who was armed to the teeth, police say.”
2. Lyman, South Carolina, June 30, 2016:
Just a couple of weeks after the Orlando massacre, 32-year-old Jody Ray Thompson opened fire on another nightclub. Fortunately, permitted concealed handguns were allowed in South Carolina bars. Thompson was able to shoot three people before the permit holder fired back and wounded Thompson in the leg. Fox 5 in Atlanta reports: “At least one South Carolina sheriff are crediting a man with a concealed carry permit with preventing further violence at a nightclub this past Sunday.”
3. Winton, Ohio, July 26, 2015:
A man started shooting at four people who were walking outside on a summer’s evening. Fortunately, a concealed handgun permit holder fired at the attacker, giving the four people a chance to escape into their home.
4. Conyers, Georgia, May 31, 2015:
A man killed two people at a liquor store and continued shooting at others until a permit holder ran inside and exchanged fire. The killer then fled the store. “I believe that if Mr. Scott did not return fire at the suspect then more of those customers would have [been] hit by a gun,” said Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett. “So in my opinion he saved other lives in that store.”
5. New Holland, South Carolina, May 5, 2015:
New Holland Fire Department volunteers were hosting a children’s day event with ice cream and fire truck rides, when a man started shooting. Fortunately, two firemen were permit holders and were able to stop the attack.
6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 22, 2015:
A 40-year-old man started shooting at people in a barbershop. A permit holder who heard the gunfire ran inside and shot the attacker. “The person who responded was a legal gun permit carrier. He responded and I guess he saved a lot of people in there,” said Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Llewellyn.
7. Darby, Pennsylvania, July 24, 2014:
Convicted felon Richard Plotts killed a caseworker at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital and started shooting at Dr. Lee Silverman. Fortunately, the doctor had his own gun and returned fire, critically wounding Plotts, who still had 39 bullets on him. “Without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives,” said Yeadon police chief Donald Molineux.
8. Chicago, Illinois, July 7, 2014:
Gang members started firing at four people who had just left a party. The attack started because one of the four people removed a cup of liquor that had been placed on top of her vehicle. Luckily, one of the four people — a military member — had a permitted concealed handgun and was able to wound the primary attacker.
9 Portland, Oregon, January 11, 2014:
Convicted criminal Thomas Eliot Hjelmeland was ejected from a nightclub but returned 30 minutes later wearing a mask and carrying a gun. He shot the bouncer who had ejected him, and shot at others. Two others were wounded, and Hjelmeland was shooting all around the club. A concealed handgun permit holder who worked at the nightclub then fatally shot Hjelmeland.
10. Plymouth, Pennsylvania, September 9, 2012:
William Allabaugh shot at people as he walked down the street in Plymouth, Pennsylvania. He wounded one and killed another. Permit holder Mark Ktytor fatally shot Allabaugh. “Mr. [Ktytor] then acted, taking him [Allabaugh] down. We believe that it could have been much worse that night,” said Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino.
11. Spartanburg, South Carolina, March 2012:
Jesse Gates kicked open a door to a church and pointed a shotgun at the pastor and congregation. Parishioner Aaron Guyton, a concealed weapons permit holder, got the drop on Gates and held him at gunpoint. Sheriff Chuck Wright called Aaron and others at the church “everyday heroes.”