Mr. Baird asks, “Why do legislators need guns in the State House?” (Feb. 8-21 NHBR) He might just as well ask why does anyone need a gun in a church, a shopping mall, a restaurant, a movie theater, or a school. Mass shootings or would-be shootings have occurred in each of those places.
Why would anyone need a gun in a church? In December 2007, a criminal entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs with a rifle, two pistols and 1,000 rounds of ammo. He killed two people and clearly could have killed hundreds more. He was stopped by a woman carrying a concealed weapon. In April, 2012, in another Colorado church, a felon killed one person before being killed by a church-goer carrying a gun.
Why would anyone need a gun in a shopping mall? In a Clackamas, Ore., shopping mall, December 2012, a criminal killed two before killing himself. A shopper carrying a concealed weapon may have ended the shooting spree by aiming his own gun at the killer and making eye contact. The only shot fired after that was the killer shooting himself.
Why would anyone need a gun in a restaurant? In Texas, a man crashed his pickup truck into a Luby’s restaurant, then started shooting, killing 23 people and injuring another 20. One of the patrons was Suzanna Hupp, who testified that she normally carried a gun in her purse and could have herself shot the killer before he shot dozens more, including Hupp’s parents — but she had left her gun in her car because the restaurant had a “no guns” policy.
Laws, or rules, or “no guns allowed” signs do not stop killers. Almost every mass shooting in the past 40 years has occurred in a so-called gun-free zone. Killers prefer such areas because they know it is unlikely they will face any armed defenders.
Some legislators know these facts. They prefer to trust their own abilities to defend themselves, their families and their community, rather than trust a rule or a sign to protect them. They carry not because it makes them feel “macho” but because they feel a duty to protect themselves and others from the evildoers that can be anywhere — in a church, a shopping mall, a theater, a school, or in a legislative chamber.
A concealed weapon in the hands of a good person is not the slightest danger to innocent people, but could save dozens of lives in the improbable but all too possible event of a criminal opening fire against unarmed legislators or visitors.