Do ‘good guys with guns’ stop mass shootings? Here’s what the statistics say

Texas News

WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas (KXAN/NBC News) — Jack Wilson says he didn’t expect to have to use his firearm at church on Sunday morning.

But the people who witnessed the deadly shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, near Fort Worth, are glad he did.

Wilson is a member of the church’s volunteer security team. The team noticed the shooter when he first entered the building wearing a long, three-quarter length coat, fake beard, wig and a toboggan.

It was just moments later that Wilson fired his gun, striking the man in the head.

“By that time, when I got over there to cover him, there was five, maybe six other individuals on the security team that already had their guns out, drawn on him too,” says Wilson. “The individual did not make any attempt to get up because of his head wound. He didn’t make any… it was just quivering and that was it.”

40 Years: A Timeline of Texas Mass Shootings

Police said the shooter was Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, according to NBC News. He had a criminal record in Tarrant County, which included charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2009 and theft of property in 2013. Law enforcement, including the Texas Rangers, searched Kinnunen’s home after the shooting.

Wilson’s actions and preparedness undoubtedly helped save lives in White Settlement, but do similar so-called “good guys with guns” help in possible mass shootings in general?

The statistics

In a November Investigation called “A History of Mass Violence,” KXAN explored the estimated 32 mass shootings in Texas between 1980 to 2019, in addition to solutions floated to prevent future events.

KXAN INVESTIGATES: “A History of Mass Violence”

In that investigation, KXAN’s team also worked with ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training) at Texas State University to compile data collected on 316 mass attacks in the United States since 2000.

While it’s often argued that “only people with guns can stop shooters,” the numbers the KXAN Investigates team found suggest there are multiple outcomes for a mass attack.

According to the data, citizens stopped shooters 50 times in the 316 attacks. But in only 10 out of those 50 incidents did citizens actually stop the shooter by using a gun. The other 40 times, it was with their hands or another weapon.

Meanwhile, back in White Settlement, Wilson now moves forward with his life as a hero.

“I don’t feel like I killed a human,” says Wilson. “I killed an evil and that’s how I’m coping with the situation.”

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