Armed citizens not always a good thing

To the Editor:

A recent letter by a firearms instructor made the assertion that no one at the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gifford had a pistol to stop the shooter. Several news reports stated that there was at least one person who was carrying a firearm at that event. He either was too slow to react or showed the good judgment to not draw and fire as others moved in to disarm the shooter.

The problem with thinking that relatively untrained individuals would be drawing and firing in such a chaotic situation is even more frightening than the “psycho” that the letter writer refers to. The most likely outcome from the person carrying at that event firing his handgun would have been to hit one of the other bystanders. With several such individuals, it is likely that some would mistake one of the others as being in league with the “psycho,” and we would have a shootout with them shooting at each other.

I am sure that anyone who has been in a close quarter firefight will tell you that things can get quite confusing in the heat of battle. The situation calls for reflexive responses, and if you are not highly trained, you are likely to make fatal mistakes. Even highly trained soldiers have been known to err. Eight hours of instruction to get a NC permit would be grossly inadequate in such a situation.

As to gun permit holders always acting responsibly, we have the incident in Florida where man with a gun permit followed a teenager who was minding his own business and shot him dead. The kid was talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone at the time saying he was worried about some guy following him. The evidence shows he was not doing anything to warrant the gun tooter to follow and accost him. So much for the assertion that, “Only a responsible citizen can get a permit to carry.”

Norman Hoffman


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