When President Trump was asked about the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that killed 26 and injured 20, he brought up the fact that a man nearby grabbed his rifle and ran to the church.
Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with Mike Weisser (@MikeTheGunGuy), NRA member, firearms instructor and author of the blog Mike The Gun Guy, who says it’s not realistic to think more armed citizens will be able to prevent mass shootings.
On gun owners’ reluctance to discuss gun control
“I think that this is a defensive reaction to something that, you know, has now become kind of ingrained in American culture. What you really have is a gun-owning population which has just become convinced, from a cultural point of view, that anything negative that’s said about guns is going to end up with them not being able to own guns, you know. And as much as these poor folks in Texas are searching for answers, the only answer is that the guy who walked into the church had a gun, and shouldn’t have had a gun. And as a matter of fact, whenever the gun-control community argues for an expansion of the background checks, one of the current responses is, ‘Well’ — and this has been going on for years — ‘Well, let’s fix the system that we have now before we make it larger.’ And the truth is that they happen to be correct.”
On the argument that mass shootings like the one in Texas could be stopped if more people were armed
“First of all, the idea that in a small-town Baptist Church in rural Texas, that there weren’t people in the church with guns, is absurd. And why nobody jumped up with a gun is because people aren’t trained to do that. And if you’re sitting in a church and you’re praying and, you know, it’s a moment of quiet and solitude and everything else, even if you’ve got a gun, and somebody comes in open the front door and starts blasting away, you’re going to do what everybody does: You’re going to hit the floor. The idea that the average citizen, even if he’s had a little bit of — I don’t want to call it training, just experience in using a gun, because it’s not training — you don’t get trained by just a little time at the range and having some guy tell you, ‘OK, you know, point the gun here. Bang, bang, bang.’ That’s not training.”
On what kind of training someone would need to stop an active shooter
“You would need more training than 50 percent of the sworn active law enforcement officers in this country ever get. And by the way, when you go to the range, of course even if you’re shooting at a target, the target is standing still. A person doesn’t stand still. So, if we don’t even have a minimum standard, not for training, but for performance validation for our law enforcement, how in God’s name is anybody going to say, ‘Well, just because you have a gun in your pocket, you know how to use it in self-defense?’ You don’t. The idea that if you, you know, you go, you buy a gun, a couple hundred rounds, you know, on the range, and now you can protect yourself from crime in a way you couldn’t do before. Now, there’s no question that Americans have become — all the surveys show this — Americans have become more fearful of — I don’t know what, but of something. Americans have become more convinced that a gun makes you safer and protects you, even among people who don’t own guns. But, you know, I think we all understand the fact that what people believe and what people think doesn’t necessarily align with the reality of any situation. And this is certainly true in this case.”
On the likelihood of federal gun control legislation
“The only time that the federal government has passed a gun control law in the last 50 years has been when there was a southern liberal in the White House and a blue Congress. That alignment not only doesn’t exist — we’re about as far away from it as we could ever be.”