Do more guns make you safer? One experiment suggests otherwise | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Do more guns make you safer? One experiment suggests otherwise

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 6:29 AM

The Washington Post Wonkblog takes on the question of whether more guns make people safer in schools, theaters, recruiting stations or wherever.

The notion that more guns are always the solution to gun crime is taken seriously in this country. But the research shows that more guns lead to more gun homicides — not less. And that guns are rarely used in self-defense.

Now a new study from researchers at Mount St. Mary's University sheds some light on why people don't use guns in self-defense very often. As it turns out, knowing when and how to apply lethal force in a potentially life-or-death situation is really difficult.

The experience of 77 volunteers with varying degrees of training in use of police simulators on the use of force was not encouraging to the idea of filling public places with even more guns.

They found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people without firearms training performed poorly in the scenarios. They didn't take cover. They didn't attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy — they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough — they didn't shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.

The researchers released some fascinating video comparing how regular citizens and trained police officers performed in the scenarios.

It's hard to argue wherever you fall on the gun spectrum that training is a good idea. But the gun lobby resists mandatory training requirements for gun purchases. Opinions vary on the quality of training for concealed carry permits.

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