Do civilians with guns ever stop mass shootings?

Backers of laws that let pretty much all law-abiding people carry concealed guns in public places often argue that these laws will sometimes enable people to stop mass shootings. Opponents occasionally ask: If that’s so, what examples can one give of civilians armed with guns stopping such shootings? Sometimes, I hear people asking if even one such example can be found, or saying that they haven’t heard of even one such example.

A while back I posted about a few examples, but since then there have been some more, so I thought I’d note them. Naturally, such examples will be rare. Even in states which allow concealed carry, there often aren’t people near a shooting who have a gun on them at the time. Many mass shootings happen in supposedly “gun-free” zones (such as schools, universities or private property posted with a no-guns sign), in which gun carrying isn’t allowed. And there is no central database of such examples, many of which don’t hit the national media, especially if a gunman is stopped before he shoots many victims. Moreover, at least some examples are ambiguous, because it might be unclear — as you’ll see below — whether the shooter had been planning to kill more people when he was stopped.

Still, for whatever they are worth, here is a list of some such incidents (which deliberately excludes killings stopped by people who were off-duty police officers, or police officers from other jurisdictions, at the time of a shooting, as well as some other cases which struck me as borderline):

1. In Chicago earlier this year, an Uber driver with a concealed-carry permit “shot and wounded a gunman [Everardo Custodio] who opened fire on a crowd of people.”

2. In a Philadelphia barber shop earlier this year, Warren Edwards “opened fire on customers and barbers” after an argument. Another man with a concealed-carry permit then shot the shooter; of course it’s impossible to tell whether the shooter would have kept killing if he hadn’t been stopped, but a police captain was quoted as saying that, “I guess he [the man who shot the shooter] saved a lot of people in there.”

3. In a hospital near Philadelphia, in 2014, Richard Plotts shot and killed the psychiatric caseworker with whom he was meeting, and shot and wounded his psychiatrist, Lee Silverman. Silverman shot back, and took down Plotts. While again it’s not certain whether Plotts would have killed other people, Delaware County D.A. Jack Whelan stated that, “If the doctor did not have a firearm, (and) the doctor did not utilize the firearm, he’d be dead today, and I believe that other people in that facility would also be dead”; Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux similar said that he “believe[d] the doctor saved lives.” Plotts was still carrying 39 unspent rounds when he was arrested. [UPDATE: I added this item since the original post.]

4. In Plymouth, Pa., in 2012, William Allabaugh killed one man and wounded another following an argument over Allabaugh being ejected from a bar. Allabaugh then approached a bar manager and Mark Ktytor and reportedly pointed his gun at them; Ktytor, who had a concealed-carry license, then shot Allabaugh. “The video footage and the evidence reveals that Mr. Allabaugh had turned around and was reapproaching the bar. Mr. [Ktytor] then acted, taking him down. We believe that it could have been much worse that night,” Luzerne County A.D.A. Jarrett Ferentino said.

5. Near Spartanburg, S.C., in 2012, Jesse Gates went to his church armed with a shotgun and kicked in a door. But Aaron Guyton, who had a concealed-carry license, drew his gun and pointed it at Gates, and other parishioners then disarmed Gates. Note that in this instance, unlike the others, it’s possible that the criminal wasn’t planning on killing anyone, but just brought the shotgun to church and kicked in the door to draw attention to himself or vent his frustration.

6. In Winnemucca, Nev., in 2008, Ernesto Villagomez killed two people and wounded two others in a bar filled with 300 people. He was then shot and killed by a patron who was carrying a gun (and had a concealed-carry license). It’s not clear whether Villagomez would have killed more people; the killings were apparently the result of a family feud, and I could see no information on whether Villagomez had more names on his list, nor could one tell whether he would have killed more people in trying to evade capture.

7. In Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2007, Matthew Murray killed four people at a church. He was then shot several times by Jeanne Assam, a church member, volunteer security guard and former police officer (she had been dismissed by a police department 10 years before, and to my knowledge hadn’t worked as a police officer since). Murray, knocked down and badly wounded, killed himself; it is again not clear whether he would have killed more people had he not been wounded, but my guess is that he would have (UPDATE: he apparently went to the church with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition).

8. In Edinboro, Pa., in 1998, 14-year-old Andrew Wurst shot and killed a teacher at a school dance, and shot and injured several other students. He had just left the dance hall, carrying his gun — possibly to attack more people, though the stories that I’ve seen are unclear — when he was confronted by the dance hall owner James Strand, who lived next door and kept a shotgun at home. It’s not clear whether Wurst was planning to kill others, would have gotten into a gun battle with the police, or would have otherwise killed more people had Strand not stopped him.

9. In Pearl, Miss., in 1997, 16-year-old Luke Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned to death his mother at home, then killed two students and injured seven at his high school. As he was leaving the school, he was stopped by Assistant Principal Joel Myrick, who had gone out to get a handgun from his car. I have seen sources that state that Woodham was on the way to Pearl Junior High School to continue shooting, though I couldn’t find any contemporaneous news articles that so state.

Of course there’s much we don’t know about civilians and mass shootings: In what fraction of mass shootings would such interventions happen, if gun possession were allowed in the places where the shootings happen? In what fraction would interventions prevent more killings and injuries, as opposed to capturing or killing the murderer after he’s already done? In what fraction would interventions lead to more injuries to bystanders?

Finally, always keep in mind that mass shootings in public places should not be the main focus in the gun debate, whether for gun control or gun decontrol: They on average account for much less than 1 percent of the U.S. homicide rate and are unusually hard to stop through gun control laws (since the killer is bent on committing a publicly visible murder and is thus unlikely to be much deterred by gun control law, or by the prospect of encountering an armed bystander). Still, people had asked for examples of so

Link:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/10/03/do-civilians-with-guns-ever-stop-mass-shootings/?tid=pm_opinions_pop_b

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.

If interested also look into the story of Charl van Wyk and the 1993 South African St. James Church Massacre.

Many youtube videos with him and the incident but here is
his June 2015 interview on InfoWars:
https://youtu.be/50iG91xV8m8

It's always the Negative shootings getting the attention creating more tragedy. I haven't heard of any of these shooting listed.

Video about the bad press
Watch "Charlie Brooker's Newswipe 25/03/09" on YouTube
https://youtu.be/PezlFNTGWv4 Phone Post 3.0

Hmm this surely should be in my subs Phone Post 3.0

Wasnt there a guy who shot an active shooter in a mall a few years ago? Maybe in Oregon? Phone Post 3.0

Most important part of the op:

"ally, always keep in mind that mass shootings in public places should not be the main focus in the gun debate, whether for gun control or gun decontrol: They on average account for much less than 1 percent of the U.S. homicide rate and are unusually hard to stop through gun control laws (since the killer is bent on committing a publicly visible murder and is thus unlikely to be much deterred by gun control law, or by the prospect of encountering an armed bystander)." Phone Post 3.0

In

UKLogHog77 - Wasnt there a guy who shot an active shooter in a mall a few years ago? Maybe in Oregon? Phone Post 3.0

You may be thinking of the Clackamas mall shooting. The citizen pistol-pointed the suspect but did not fire. The suspect fled into a stairwell area and killed himself.

I know this, not having a gun in a mass shooting situation doesn't stop the attack.

Neither does hiding behind the no gun zone sign.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that they don't matter at all, I think the point is that they don't belong in the conversation about gun control. Phone Post 3.0

QuinTheEskimo - I don't think anyone is suggesting that they don't matter at all, I think the point is that they don't belong in the conversation about gun control. Phone Post 3.0
This.

The focus is wrong and therefore any logical person should not support the huge focus on mass shootings. It shows that those who are anti gun are using the mass shooting to push their agenda. Apparently we are okay with gangs killing each other in big cities but get mad when suburban America has a psycho ruin their day.

Mass shootings are terrible but the focus on them proves that some believe emotion outweighs statistics. Phone Post 3.0

Saw this on volokh. His Intellogence Squared tag team debate against The Dersh and some douche was spectacular.

And I say any good gun guy that stops a bad gun guy from shooting should be classified as a "civilian stops mass shooting" due to the 15 round "rapid fire" "military grade" "clips" in today's guns

So should the focus on gun control then center around accidents and suicides? since we know legally obtained guns account for a very small amount of murders

Phuckles - 
QuinTheEskimo - I don't think anyone is suggesting that they don't matter at all, I think the point is that they don't belong in the conversation about gun control. Phone Post 3.0
This.

The focus is wrong and therefore any logical person should not support the huge focus on mass shootings. It shows that those who are anti gun are using the mass shooting to push their agenda. Apparently we are okay with gangs killing each other in big cities but get mad when suburban America has a psycho ruin their day.

Mass shootings are terrible but the focus on them proves that some believe emotion outweighs statistics. Phone Post 3.0

They need everyone to believe that the cities are safe and only Evil black rifles are the problem

Jamien604 - So should the focus on gun control then center around accidents and suicides? since we know legally obtained guns account for a very small amount of murders
Please tell me how a gun control law would prevent anyone from killing themself. Phone Post 3.0

Jamien604 - So should the focus on gun control then center around accidents and suicides? since we know legally obtained guns account for a very small amount of murders
You answered your question. If most gun violence is committed by illegally obtained guns then gun control is not the answer. Phone Post 3.0

"...it's true that mass shootings are a small fraction of all homicides, but that shouldn't mean we can just ignore them...If each mass shooter in the last few years had been a jihadist, I suspect not so many people would be as willing to say we shouldn't focus on them."

I will make both those arguments. We shouldn't even be talking about this, much less pretending there's anything at all we know about it or can do about it.

. Phone Post 3.0