In the wake of the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub, Donald Trump joined a chorus of conservative voices suggesting that the attack could have been prevented by allowing club goers to carry hidden firearms.
“If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here—right to their waist or right to their ankle—and one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes ‘boom, boom,’ you know, that would have been a beautiful sight,” Trump said on Friday night last week.
On the Howie Carr Show on Monday, Trump further explained that “it’s too bad some of the people killed over the weekend didn’t have guns attached to their hips where bullets could have thrown in the opposite direction. Had people been able to fire back, it would have been a much different outcome.”
He said the same thing after the Paris attacks — a coordinated, military-style assault involving multiple actors and explosive devices — took the lives of 129 people. And following the October shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, he made a similar argument against the college as a “gun-free zone.”
“If you had a couple of the teachers or somebody with guns in that room, you would’ve been a hell of a lot better off,” he said at a rally in Tennessee soon after.
Republicans have infamously prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting any gun safety-related studies. But the research that does exist on gun control, however, demonstrates that allowing concealed carry is anything but the answer in order to prevent more horrific, violent incidents.
A study out of Texas A&M University found that there is no observable relationship between the number of concealed carry permits and changes in the crime rate.
In four states that collected data on so-called “Right to Carry” legislation — which would force states to recognize concealed carry laws from other states — these laws did nothing to reduce (or increase) the amount of crime statewide.
Another study, conducted by researchers from Harvard and the University of Vermont, found that what some GOP lawmakers have called “defensive gun use” — that is to say, potential victims using guns for self-defense while under attack violent — does little to fight their own risk of injury.
What’s more, though, is that such incidents of “defensive gun use” are a lot more rare than some Republicans say they are. Contrary to a popular book from the 1990s, John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime that claimed guns are used for this purpose 2.5 million times a year, the real number is in fact less than one percent of that.
While the book argues that the drop in crime over the past few decades results from an increase in guns, a study from NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice in fact concludes that this crime drop cannot be explained by one factor alone—and definitely not more guns alone, either.
In short: We can blame “gun free zones,” or we can blame guns. The research that does exist on gun violence supports the latter.
Photo: Gun enthusiasts look over Sig Sauers guns, including the Sig Sauer MCX rifle at top left, at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meetings & exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II