Father of Orlando Victim: My Son Would’ve Traded ‘Everything in the World’ for a Loaded Gun

(Photo: CNN)

(Photo: CNN)

The anti-gun lobby makes a habit of mocking the idea that firearms can be effectively used in self-defense situations.

This article by The Trace, for example, gleefully notes that (according to one study) the likelihood of injury when using a firearm for self-defense is identical to that of “running and hiding.”

It is true that leaving the premises is the number one option in an active shooter situation. But what if it’s impossible to run and hide? What happens when you’re trapped in a bathroom stall with no way out and there’s a homicidal religious zealot firing rounds on the other side of the door?

As the father of one Orlando victim told Sean Hannity this week, a loaded gun could have made all the difference in the deadliest active shooter situation in U.S history.

“There is a simpler solution, as Donald Trump has said many times, if you have somebody shooting back the game’s over,” Mark Bando said. “When the shooting started there wasn’t one person in there that wouldn’t have traded everything he owned in the world to have a loaded gun. But these people don’t realize it until they’re in a situation that’s far too late.”

Bando—a retired Detroit Police officer who lives in Michigan—is the father of one of the 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub Sunday morning.

“His mom talked to him on the phone that evening before he went to the club, so she knew he was going,” Bando said. “When she woke up Sunday morning and heard there’d been a massacre there, she went over there–she hadn’t heard from him so she feared the worst–and just today they finally told us that he was one of the victims that was killed at the scene. He never even made it to the hospital.”

Bando told Hannity that if his son had been carrying a gun, the night may have ended much differently.

“He lived down there and I lived up here and I never got a chance to teach him how to handle firearms,” Mr. Bando explained. “I think if we’d have lived in closer proximity, he would have become proficient. He probably would’ve gotten a [Concealed Pistol License] and carried a gun and that could’ve made a difference last night.”

It’s cliché, but true: the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. As ISIS continues to reach out from the Middle East and attack American cities, law enforcement officials will be hard-pressed to arrive at the next incident in time to stop the carnage.

But if good guys with guns are already at the scene, maybe they can stop the next massacre before it even starts.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over two years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco.

{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Pete Dee September 16, 2017, 12:40 pm

    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 15, 2001

  • Bruce L Cohen June 17, 2016, 8:12 pm

    I believe there are two issues here. One is in Florida you cannot carry a gun into a bar. You can carry a gun into a restaurant that has a bar so long as you are in the dining area and not at the bar. Not carrying a gun into a bar is I believe smart law but there should be a requirement for a trained (and I do mean trained) security staff that are armed (about $.25 a drink more). As I carry in restaurants and have dinner and am trained I can make a difference there. I will not break the law re bars.
    Second. This horrible disaster is going to lead to restrictions on AR’s and AK’s and who knows what else. This is stupid. There are tons of illegal drugs and thousands of Illegals coming across our borders monthly. If ISIS wanted to send over 100 killers with FULLY AUTOMATIC AK’s and ammunition they could do it with impunity (Far easier than several tons of Cocaine). We Americans can thank our current POTUS for this. I am surprised they (ISIS) have not done it yet (or have they and we do not know) . Seal the damn borders and do what needs to be done. If not the idiots in the Congress and the Really Smart Progressive in the White House will have lost this war. Make no mistake this is the Crusades all over again and if the other side wins G-d help every Christian and Jew in this country.

    • Joe June 17, 2016, 11:11 pm

      Plenty of places don’t have that “smart law.” We don’t, here in New Hampshire. We have zero problems as a result. Last shooting I can recall taking place at a bar was when some nutcase outside the bar tried to bust in and shoot the bouncer, who had kicked him out for groping women earlier in the night. A patron at the bar drew his pistol and shot the nutcase. I’m sure the bouncer and everyone else in the bar was very glad that he carried his pistol to the bar that night.

    • loupgarous August 25, 2016, 9:08 am

      In Mississippi, we have two tiers of concealed carry permits; One is “constitutional carry” – you are verified not to be a felon or otherwise ineligible to carry a firearm, and you get a permit after you pay a nominal fee for fingerprinting and the computer check – and this is one of few state user fees that has actually become less expensive with the passage of time. These permit holders can’t carry in bars, businesses with “no guns” signage, hospitals, school grounds (including stadiums), police stations and Federal facilities. There’s also a prohibition against carrying concealed in “places of nuisance,” basically brothels and bars where drugs are known to be sold, cockfighting dens, that sort of thing.

      The second tier’s like the first, but you attend a course on gun safety, “shoot/don’t shoot” laws, and prove you can hit paper on a range safely, and after that get an “endorsement” which makes your permit “enhanced.” These permit holders CAN carry in bars, businesses with “no guns” signage, school grounds (including stadiums) but not in the other areas mentioned above.

      If the Orlando shoot had happened here in Mississippi it’s still up in the air whether anyone could have carried there. If over a hundred people had been present, it’s likely some would have been carrying legally and been able to end Omar Mateen before he killed about fifty other people.

  • Bob R. June 17, 2016, 5:32 pm

    Who was it that said ” I would rather have a gun and not need it, than need a gun and not have it.”There are so many documented cases where a gun saved lives and this is one case that it may have saved many. Can we also outlaw swords, knives, poisons, blunt instruments and especially bombs that kill more people than bullets. The knee jerk reaction to banning everything that causes mass deaths will not stop anyone bent on killing people. The assault rifle used in most killings should be as controlled as are machine guns, but nothing will stop criminals that have easy access to any type of firearm. We are a country born of the gun and defend our freedom with the gun. It will be a nightmare to try to rid this country of more than 300,000,000 guns. Each incident increases the sales of guns out of sheer panic. In the Georgia town that past a law to have a gun in every home, the crime rate dropped dramatically. In England and Australia where all guns were confiscated, the crime rate immediately went up. The first thing all dictators do is disarm the populace. Only sensible gun control can even put a dent in the problem, not a total ban.

    • Dan June 17, 2016, 9:44 pm

      First Ar15’s are not assault rifles. That is the term the no mind press conjured up. Less than 10% of mass shootings have used these rifles. Check National Crime stats if you like so you don’t continue to spread bull. There are several rifles that can shoot at the same rate as the rifles you call assault rifles but I do agree anyone that wants a weapon to kill can get one. In the case of the Orlando shooting I would bet a case of 223’s that he would have used a bomb and killed even more if he couldn’t get a firearm.

  • Kimberpross June 17, 2016, 11:56 am

    The sad reality is, if someone in the club would have been armed and stopped the murders, they would have been arrested and charged with a felony for carrying a firearm in a gun free zone. The liberal media would ruin that person’s life dragging them through the mud as a felon and say nothing of them being a hero that stopped many more deaths. I guarantee that Obama would at best said nothing of that action.

    • John Shelley June 17, 2016, 1:13 pm

      Forget what Obama says. We know its all Muslim apologist lies anyway.

    • John Shelley June 17, 2016, 1:19 pm

      Trump is the ONLY one who will fix all of this!

    • Earl June 17, 2016, 2:58 pm

      I have carried my firearm into schools, federal office buildings etc I don’t care if it’s a NO GUN ZONE, I will deal with it later after I save myself from the threat. And if I die in the shootout who the hell cares. I WOULD RATHER BE JUDGED BY 12 THAN CARRIED BY 6.

      • Joe June 19, 2016, 1:05 am

        We don’t have the luxury to be relaxed, gentle people. I don’t think we should be like Charles Bronson in the Death Wish movies, but we can’t be flower children, either. The young citizens of the USA don’t realize how much our country has changed. It is so sad.

        • Lyn June 19, 2016, 8:59 am

          Well said.

    • Valerie June 17, 2016, 4:19 pm

      I’d rather have had a gun and faced the consequences


  • Ringo Lapua June 17, 2016, 10:42 am

    The Governor of Florida, Rick Scott would increase his credibility immensely if he would start a CITIZENS MILITIA. The CITIZENS MILITIA would be administered by the Florida County Sheriffs. Applicants would submit to deep background and anger detection tests in order to qualify. Once qualified, the citizen members would take courses in gun safety, gun laws and gun use. Once they are trained, the Citizen Militia members would be able to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the State, except for courtrooms and places of public transportation. In Switzerland all able bodied men of sound mind and body are required to join a Citizens Militia and they have the lowest gun crime rate in the world, plus NOBODY will ever mess with them.

    • Joe June 17, 2016, 11:03 pm

      We have that here in New Hampshire. Not a “citizens militia” with all sorts of strict requirements – we just let everyone carry everywhere, with no testing or training. Only courtrooms and jails are off limits. That’s it. No training. No “deep background” check. No “anger testing.” If you want to carry a gun everywhere other than courtrooms and jails, you follow the simple procedure of: buy a gun, buy a holster, carry. Result? One of the safest places on the entire planet. Maine and Vermont have similar laws, and they are some of the only places that are safer. So, your goal can be implemented much more simply… don’t create any new classification; just eliminate the restrictions.

    • Rick June 18, 2016, 10:13 am

      Why stop with public transportation? In Chicago, crime on the subway went up after ILL passed concealed carry and made it known that one cannot carry on public transit. My daughter is in college in Chicago and I got her a car, pay huge parking fees, etc to avoid public transport. One of her sorority sisters was shot by being caught in cross-fire of thugs committing a crime on public transport. Yep, the thugs now own Chicago and people are calling to bring in the National Guard. Yes, for real. This is not just a made up story, Alderman want the National Guard but refuse to allow carry in many places.

  • Canemah June 17, 2016, 9:02 am

    A wise father. I would rather be, and feel more comfortable in a room full of law abiding legal gun owners than I would a gun free zone. As a matter of fact, I won’t enter a place of business that displays that invitation to mass murder. If the business owners were honest, they’d change the reading to “Target Rich Environment”. The situation changes immediately when the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted.

  • jstert June 17, 2016, 8:54 am

    everyone had a smartphone to record the night’s tragedy on social media. nobody had a gun to stop it. it shows how all our rights are joined at the hip. you cannot enjoy the first without the second.

    • Hiram A. Biff June 17, 2016, 1:25 pm

      Very nicely put!

  • Boz June 17, 2016, 8:54 am

    When a bad guy with a gun shows up, who is the first one people call for help? A good guy with a gun. Imagine if the good guy with a gun was already there!

  • Griffendad June 17, 2016, 8:25 am

    I’m very curious about one thing in the course of this tragedy. How did this latent homosexual get his AR, Glock and all those spare mags into the bar in the first place? You know it’s Florida, it’s hot, the crowd is dressing down and probably not a hawaiian shirt for miles. So did he stuff the AR down one pants leg and the mags in the other? No bouncer at the door or admission to pay? No one stamping your hand at the door that might notice a slight bulge? The whole thing smells bad.

    • Chrisfromwa June 17, 2016, 8:41 am

      He shot the armed bouncer, who was an off duty cop

      • Ben June 18, 2016, 12:50 pm

        Where is the big story about him shooting an off duty cop? That would be a huge story. I’ve seen NOTHING on that. I heard that he ‘exchanged gun fire’ but neither expected outcome came to be, 1) dead or injured gay mooslim terrorist thug, or 2) dead or injured cop. Either would be a huge story. I’m gathering, from lack of a story on either outcome, that the cop exchanged gunfire, then took off. Otherwise, there’d be a story.

  • Robin Grimm June 17, 2016, 8:08 am

    Instead of finding fault with the victim and the weapons he had. Put the fault on the Florida Laws. Time for a CHANGE!

    • Larry June 17, 2016, 11:22 am

      Are you calling the shooter a “victim”? I find fault with a killer every single time. You not wanting to find fault with him is the problem in our country. It certainly is not the Florida gun laws!

  • Hector Melendez June 17, 2016, 6:45 am

    The Florida law says that a conceal weapon carrier can’t bring a gun into a place where alcohol is consumed. If the sales volume of alcohol are more than 50% of their total sales. Correct me, if I’m wrong. So in this case, a nightclub, is a non carrying zone for concealed weapons. But how about one person of the managemant of the business, with a permit from the goverment, to have a loaded weapon behind the counter bar or in an special location inside the business. The history must be diferent!!

    • David June 17, 2016, 12:10 pm

      I would agree to have people in bar trained for this. There are companies that make quick access safes for firearms. I mean like seconds to a loaded weapon. Could have saved 90% of the people.

    • Joe June 17, 2016, 11:06 pm

      That is the law in Florida. That law should be repealed.

  • Screwed in Fla June 17, 2016, 5:59 am

    Scofflaw, You are correct that here in Fla we are not allowed to carry in any establishment that serves alcohol. I would like to believe that most people who go through the trouble of getting a CCW permit would be smart enough to not get involved in a bar fight. But I may be wrong. As it is/was political correctness and gun free zones claim another 100+ victims. Democrats must feel very proud of themselves today.

    • milehisnk June 17, 2016, 3:59 pm

      Colorado allows carry in bars, but it’s treated like drinking and driving. If you’re carrying a gun and your BAC is over the legal DUI limit, you can be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm while intoxicated (I believe that’s the official charge). We don’t have as many CCW holders as Florida, granted, but we still have over 400k. There aren’t problems with CCW holders shooting people at/outside bars because of a disagreement. It doesn’t happen.

  • Scofflaw June 17, 2016, 4:49 am

    I disagree, i dont know florida law but in Texas you cant carry in a bar. Im all for concealed carry and protecting your self but an alcohol environment is not a place for people to be packing. Maybe that played into this guys selection of targets.

    • Dave June 17, 2016, 5:48 am

      In Ohio we are allowed to carry in a bar. You cannot, however consume any alcohol while carrying. I haven’t seen any issues in the media as of yet. I’m sure if there were any that they would have ran it front page.

    • jack Schmidt June 17, 2016, 8:06 am

      I guess you missed the fact the bad guy didn\’t bother to leave his gun home and follow the law.
      If I had a choice between being a victim or fighting back, I would have fought back.
      I would deal with the carry charge later, which is better then being dead.

    • Mr Sparkles June 17, 2016, 10:17 am

      My response to “scofflaw” is that while I enjoy a drink now and then, my overall goal is to make it home alive. If I drink, I limit it so that I meet my goal. If I am at all concerned, i either do NOT enter or I carry anyway and let my wife enjoy the liquid refreshments. Alcohol and guns do not mix. So dont mix them.

    • Richard June 17, 2016, 12:06 pm

      That is the simple version of Texas law,you CAN’T carry in any place the receives 51% or more of it’s revinue from the sale of alcohol and posts a sign stating 51%. A person having a handgun license CAN’T consume alcohol any place if he is carring a handgun open or cancelled.

    • Gary June 18, 2016, 10:12 pm

      I would support changing the CCW law to allow concealed carry in bars providing the person carrying is not permitted to consume ANY alcoholic beverages (designated carrier).

  • DRAINO June 16, 2016, 4:01 pm

    I heard this the day it aired on Hannity. Very touching. This is a very sad story for sure. It is sad to think that there are people out there that want to inflict pain on people simply for idealistic differences. It’s even sadder to think that there are people who want everyone to be defenseless in the presence of those that wish to do such harm.

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