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Opinion When armed citizens are on the scene, lives are saved

I was about to answer Bob Scott’s tirade about guns and the NRA when this horrible incident in Connecticut arose where innocent children were murdered en masse. I study all these shootings in detail as I teach the concealed carry pistol classes in WNC, and when I was younger I had several occasions where I had to shoot bad guys in NYC. It seems that psychos always act out in a school or a place where decent citizens do not carry weapons. Consider that in this horrific school shooting, there were only three ways to prevent or stop these murders:

1. Detection and treatment of the troubled person before he committed these acts; or

2. Termination of the shooting in the school by some responsible citizen who was armed; or

3. The presence of an armed security guard.

I’m always hopeful that someone in these schools would have a pistol in their pocket to stop the shooter, perhaps the janitor, or a school secretary, or a teacher or principal.

In some of the colleges that have had shootings they are now allowing responsible students who have permits to carry a concealed pistol.

I suspect that Bob Scott thinks that the people getting pistol carry permits are running around like loose cannons. Less than 10 percent of North Carolinians have carry permits, and guess what folks: “Hardly anyone ever carries a concealed pistol.” I would say less than five percent of pistol permit holders actually carry. The exception is business people who have cash receipts, who are clearly subject to being held up and robbed.

I know for a fact that these permit holders are the most responsible citizens in our society. In researching this, I cannot find one situation where a licensed permit holder has used their pistol in a crime. It is not responsible gun holders who do these mass killings, it is psychos, in every instance.

There are several reasons why our citizens want a pistol carry permit: 1. You don’t need a special permit from the Sheriff to buy a pistol, you can buy it based on your carry permit. 2. You have something with you to protect yourself if you are travelling or camping. Currently, 36 states recognize the N.C. permit. 3. Hiking in the National Forest or State Forest can be dangerous. Five people within 50 miles of here were murdered in the National Forest and recently we had one rape. In the forest, the forest rangers are spread very thin, there is no cell phone service in most areas, so basically you’re on your own. It’s not just the bears, who recently killed people in nearby Tennessee, it’s the two legged animals you have to fear. It’s only in the last year that the law was changed so that if you are a permit holder you can carry in the National and State Forest. 4. People are getting pistol carry permits because they believe that President Obama will be taking away their second amendment rights.

In the terrible shooting of the Congresswoman in Arizona, and the murders of all those other victims, hundreds of people were in that parking lot outside that supermarket, and nobody was carrying a pistol to stop this shooting. Amazingly, you don’t even need a permit in Arizona to carry a concealed pistol. In the Minnesota mall shooting and Army base shooting, nobody was carrying a pistol. Honestly, licensed permit holders rarely carry a pistol, especially here in N.C. where there are so many restrictions. Until recently, you could not carry in a bank, or to an ATM.

In N.C., you can’t carry a pistol in any place where you pay an admission fee, that means movie theaters, ballgames, concerts etc. You can’t carry in a school. A few weeks ago a psycho in Colorado methodically shot and killed people as they sat in the movie theatre. They say he was troubled. Colorado will never give him the death penalty, watch and see. He functioned normally in society for many years, and he understood that what he was doing was very wrong. I meet and talk with people in WNC about these shootings every day and their attitude is that they absolutely refuse to wait their turn in the movie theater to be shot.

Psychos know that they will be incarcerated, will have a warm bed and hot meals and the separation from everyday society is what they want. They see it as part of the solution to their problems. It really would be a deterrent to these murders if they knew for sure that they would get the death penalty. Banning guns, or some types of firearms, or taking away the second amendment rights of responsible citizens will do absolutely nothing to stop these mass shootings. Psychos are not concerned about what laws you pass. With this Newtown shooting, more and more citizens will now want to have a pistol in their pocket to protect these innocent lives.

There are people who have this idealistic view that we can get rid of all firearms through legislation. We have hard laws against drugs but your child can buy a nickel bag at his school any day of the week. If we did get rid of all the firearms, you can only be assured that someone will put a knife to your throat. Look at history. The problem is not guns, it is the evil that lurks in the hearts of some men. For example, it is almost impossible to get your hands on a firearm in China. The dictators there do not want the citizens armed. I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that China is having a terrible problem with mass knifings! A few hours after I drafted this story I was watching news from China on CCTV and the prime story was on a massive stabbing of 22 children at a school. There was a horrible video from a security camera of a young man running after young children and stabbing them with a knife. When arrested, his excuse was that the end of the world is coming.

It has been 12 years since the Columbine massacre and nothing has really been done to help detect these troubled shooters. People seem to be able to walk into any school without being challenged. With the trillions Obama spent, he could have funded a security area at the entrance to each school, where electronic locks on doors keep you confined until you are questioned as to your business in the school, and a security person is there, even with a handheld metal detector, if the person is unknown.

In this Newtown, Conn. case, the young man stole his mother’s firearms. She was the 27th victim of her own son. She had complained to the school system that her son was a problem and needed help, but nothing was done, and it is known that she was distraught over that. So, here is an area for improvement. In N.C., if a child gets a hold of your firearm you will be charged with a crime. Concealed carry permit applicants in N.C. receive eight hours of instruction on the laws, and when to shoot and when not to shoot, then take a lengthy written exam, and demonstrate the safe use of their pistol at the firing range.

In all these mass shootings by the time the police arrive lots of people are already dead. It must be acknowledged that many of these attacks today take place in these pretend “Gun Free Zones” such as schools, movie theaters and shopping malls. Research shows that active shooters are different from the gangsters and street toughs whom a police officer might engage in a gun fight. They are predominately weaklings and cowards who crumble easily as soon as an armed person show up.

So, when armed citizens are on the scene many lives are saved. The media rarely mentions the mass murders that were thwarted by armed citizens at the Shoney’s Restaurant in Anniston, Ala. (1991), the high school in Pearl, Miss. (1997), the middle school dance in Edinboro, Pa. (1998), and the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., among others.

Recently, at the Clackamas Mall in Oregon, an active shooter murdered two people and then saw that a shopper, who had a handgun carry permit, had drawn a gun and was aiming at him. The murderer’s next shot was to kill himself!

People who are serious about preventing the next Newtown should embrace much greater funding for mental health, strong laws for civil commitment of the violently mentally ill, and stop kidding themselves that these “pretend” gun-free zones will stop killers.

Here are some interesting facts: In “Targeting Guns,” Dr. Gary Kleck, Criminologist, Florida State University, Aldine in 1997, guns prevented an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year or 6,849 every day.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, BATF, in the latest “National Crime Victimization Survey” states that every day 550 rapes, 1,100 murders, and 5,200 other violent crimes are prevented just by showing a gun. In less than 0.9 percent of these instances is the gun ever actually fired.

In the book “Multiple Victim Public Shootings,” Lott J, Landes W. University of Chicago shows that in states without “right to carry” laws since 1992, there have been 15 school shootings; however, in states that allow citizens to carry guns, there has been only one.

Lastly, according to the National Center on Child Abuse Prevention survey, four children die each day in the U.S. from parental neglect and abuse.

What will probably happen soon is that they will ban assault rifles, and unfortunately it will not prevent these horrible crimes. The certainty of severe punishment would be a more effective deterrent. Being nuts should not be a valid defense, it’s obvious that anyone who kills children is nuts! The death penalty is a deterrent!

The first notable school shooting was the University of Texas massacre in 1966. From then until the "Gun-Free Schools Act" was passed in 1994, implemented in 1995, there were 29 more, about one per year with 67 people killed, which averages to 2.4 per year. Since "Gun-Free” School Zones Act, there have been 87 incidents, five incidents per year resulting in 192 killed, bringing the average to 11.3 per year.

In countries like Russia, where the government does not allow its citizens to have firearms the murder rate is soaring. With the recent expansion of citizens with firearms in the U.S. the murder rate has decreased by 14 percent. Currently, there is a huge effort being made by Russian citizens to be given firearms rights. They have formed lobby organizations all across Russia and are demanding action.

Bob Scott needs to understand his constituents: Over 70 percent want their firearms rights! His attack on the NRA is not welcomed by the people that the NRA protects.

Here are some interesting statistics from the NRA for Bob:

1. States with right-to-carry laws have lower violent crime rates. On average, right-to-carry states have 22 percent lower total crime rates, 30 percent lower murder rates, 46 percent lower robbery rates and 12 percent lower aggravated assault rates, compared to the rest of the country. The seven states with the lowest violent crime rates are right-to-carry states. (Data: FBI)

2. Crime declines in states with right-to-carry laws. Since adopting right-to-carry in 1987, Florida’s total violent crime and murder rates have dropped 32 percent and 58 percent respectively. Texas’ violent crime and murder rates have dropped 20 percent and 31 percent, respectively since enactment of its 1966 right-to-carry law. (Data: FBI)

Protecting our rights in North Carolina we have a forum for firearms education called Grass Roots North Carolina. Go to and read the “Nine Myths of Gun Control.” This recent school shooting is prompting liberal Democrats to take away the gun rights of the good guys. Their focus on banning some types of sporting weapons will not be effective in preventing these shootings. Ban psychos not guns. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is preparing the legislation as I write. In summary, we need to pray hard for these innocent angels who did nothing to hurt anyone, and we need to pray for workable solutions to this terrible problem.

Jim Sottile is a former Detective NYPD; NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and N.C. Certified Firearms Instructor.

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