Last Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah, a gun toting citizen single-handedly ended the stabbing spree of a knife wielding maniac. The incident happened in a grocery store in the downtown area of the city. The suspect apparently purchased a knife in the store and used it as a weapon to stab two people in the foyer of the store. Before he could find a third victim, the man with the concealed gun pulled it on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. The assailant dropped the knife and the grocery store’s employees restrained him until the police arrived.
By all accounts the gun toting citizen prevented what could have been widespread carnage. In fact, Salt Lake City Police Department Lt. Brian Purvis said, “This was a volatile situation that could have gotten worse. We can only assume from what we saw it could have gotten worse. He was definitely in the right place at the right time.”
Bravo for the 2nd Amendment! The reason injuries were prevented and lives saved is because as Americans we have the ability to defend ourselves and others through the 2nd Amendment right to own guns. You see, it is impossible for the police to be everywhere at all times protecting us from bad guys. Given that we are supposedly still a free society, why would we want cops to be present on every street corner anyway?
But, even with this logic there are still plenty of anti-2nd Amendment rights activists out there that want to pass restrictive gun laws that would leave more Americans vulnerable to the violent appetites of homicidal maniacs. They claim, among other things, that more people carrying guns make us all less safe. Their concern is that when a volatile situation develops, a law abiding gun carrier’s zeal to put an end to the bloodletting could result in more innocent bystanders being gunned down accidentally by the law abiding citizen. The aforementioned incident above refutes that concern.
And how often are there stories of gun owners accidentally shooting innocents while attempting to prevent bloodshed with their firearm? I can’t recall a single story, yet I am aware of many incidents of gun owners saving life and property.
Another such incident was the Tucson shooting in which Jared Lee Loughner shot and killed six people and wounded thirteen others, including U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords. 24 year old Joseph Zamudio, who himself was carrying a 9mm semi-automatic pistol at the time of the attack, heard the shots outside the Safeway supermarket and immediately rushed to the scene to help. While most bystanders hit the deck or ran in the opposite direction, he claims his carrying a gun emboldened him to act. But he didn’t shoot his gun off wildly and endanger others. As a matter of fact, he ran into the face of extreme danger and didn’t fire a shot instead physically helping others subdue Loughner until the police could arrive.
To be sure there are many other stories of gun owners being at the right place at the right time to prevent injury or even save lives. Back in 1995 the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology at Northwestern University School of Law published a study that indicated that law abiding gun owners use their weapons for defensive purposes as many as 2.5 million times a year. This calculates to guns being used 60 times more to protect innocent lives than being used to shoot in the commission of a crime. Thus, loosening gun laws will make us safer because they will give responsible gun owners more of an ability to intervene in crisis situations like in Salt Lake City and Tucson.
Most folks who own guns understand the enormous responsibility that comes with it. The Salt Lake gun carrier and Joseph Zamudio were empowered by their guns to act to save lives. They are indicative of most gun owners – ready and willing to act in time of emergency while maintaining the utmost care for public safety.