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How the Kansas City shooting proves the “good guy with a gun” idea is a fallacy

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How the Kansas City shooting proves the “good guy with a gun” idea is a fallacy

Pedestrians and police officers running toward a city building.
Law enforcement responds to a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri.  | Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Kansas City mayor captures the US’s singular problem with guns, in one quote.

In remarks following a mass shooting at the Chiefs Super Bowl parade, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas made a pointed statement about how the tragedy was able to take place even with more than 800 police officers stationed at the parade to secure the area.

“That’s what happens with guns,” he said plainly.

At least one person was killed in the violence and 21 people — including 11 children — were injured. As of Thursday, police had detained three people and confiscated multiple firearms in connection with the shooting, which they attributed to an interpersonal dispute.

“Parades, rallies, schools, movies, it seems like almost nothing is safe,” Lucas added.

According to reports, the violence began as an argument and escalated. It was not a single-shooter targeted attack like the kind that often receives more media attention. That makes it more in line with the vast majority of shooting incidents in the US.

Lucas’s statements highlight the fact that the proliferation of guns and weak gun control policies have fueled the United States’s mass shooting crisis, including the latest instance of violence in Kansas City. They also explicitly acknowledge the fallacy of the “good guy with a gun” argument: the idea that adding armed security — rather than limiting access to guns — can keep people safe.

The US has problems with gun violence because it has a lot of guns

The US is unique among industrialized countries when it comes to the frequency of fatal gun violence.

According to CNN, which referenced the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a University of Washington global health research group, the proportion of homicides caused by gun violence in the US was 18 times that of the average of other developed countries in 2019.

Similarly, the number of firearms people own in the US far surpasses that of any other developed country. The US has about 120 firearms per 100 residents, much higher than Yemen, the next closest country, which has about 53 firearms per 100 residents, according to a 2018 study by the Swiss-based gun research project the Small Arms Survey.

As Vox has explained, multiple studies have directly linked the country’s number of firearms with the frequency of gun violence. “One 2013 Boston University-led study, for instance, found that for each percentage point increase in gun ownership at the household level, the state firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9 percent,” my colleagues Nicole Narea, Ian Millhiser, and I wrote. “And states with weaker gun laws have higher rates of gun-related homicides and suicides, according to a study by the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.”

The impact of gun violence has already been evident this year. In the first month and a half of 2024, 1,639 Americans have been killed by firearms and 2,223 have been injured, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit group that tracks US shootings.

In response to shootings, gun advocates often argue that more guns are the answer, that having a so-called “good guy with a gun” helps as they can stop a “bad guy with a gun.” That argument was advanced by gun advocates following a recent church shooting in Houston, in which off-duty officers shot and killed the suspected shooter.

And it’s a myth directly peddled by the gun lobby: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” former National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre previously said. As Lucas noted, however, despite the strong presence of armed security and law enforcement at the Chiefs parade, the shooting still occurred and resulted in injuries and a fatality.

“We had over 800 officers there, staffed, situated all around Union Station today. We had security in any number of places, eyes on top of buildings and beyond — and there still is a risk to people,” Lucas said. That’s not to say law enforcement and civilians didn’t help prevent the situation from being worse: Bystanders assisted in subduing one suspect, per reports, and police arrested at least one individual as well.

Research has shown that increasing the presence of “good guys with guns” is not a fully effective way to reduce gun violence. This is because police often aren’t able to respond in time and the attack has already occurred when they’re able to react. Per a Texas State University study, police were able to stop less than a third of active attacks — including shootings — between 2000 and 2022.

Lucas’s statements and the circumstances in Kansas City ultimately underscore a grim reality: A central problem in these shootings is the guns themselves.

How the Kansas City shooting proves the “good guy with a gun” idea is a fallacy Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Dr-tech

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