Donald Trump literally just made the ‘good guy with a gun’ argument

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in late 2012, a new saying became popular among gun rights advocates: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” (The phrase is widely credited to National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre.)

The logic behind the saying goes like this: In an era of mass shootings, the best (only?) defense is to be armed yourself. Shooting back at a shooter may be your only chance at living through such an incident. We need more good people with guns — not fewer.

Which brings us to Tuesday afternoon in Seoul, South Korea where President Donald Trump was asked by a reporter whether he might support “extreme vetting for people trying to buy a gun” in the wake of the Texas church shooting on Sunday that left 26 people dead.

Here’s how Trump responded:

“You’re bringing up a situation that probably shouldn’t be discussed too much right now. We could let a little time go by. It’s OK if you feel that’s an appropriate question even though we’re in the heart of South Korea. I will certainly answer your question. If you did what you’re suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago, and you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck go out and shoot him, and hit him and neutralize him. I can only say this: If he didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead. So that’s the way I feel about it. Not going to help.”

This is, quite literally, the “good guy with a gun” argument. And Trump is right that a man living near the church grabbed his gun and fired at the shooter, wounding him in the leg and torso and then chasing him in a car — with another bystander — until the shooter crashed in a ditch.

The problem for Trump’s argument is that, outside of a handful of anecdotes here and there, there is very little empirical evidence that suggests the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

A study of data on gun violence that was released this summer by Stanford Law professor John Donahue makes this case in stark terms.

“There is not even the slightest hint in the data that (right to carry) laws reduce overall violent crime,” wrote Donohue, concluding that violent crime was somewhere between 13-15% higher in states that have right to carry laws than if that same state had not passed that sort of legislation.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.”

The United States is a clear leader in the number of guns owned by civilians — almost 90 guns per 100 people, according to a 2007 study. (At that time, 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms were owned by American civilians.)

There is also lots and lots of evidence that for the large number of guns in the country, very few are actually used in self defense. A 2013 study by the Department of Justice showed that in less than 1% of all victimizations between 2007 and 2011 did the victim use a gun to defend him or herself.

Those numbers run directly counter to the reasons gun owners give for owning a gun, however. Pew Research Center polling on guns and American gun culture conducted over the summer showed that more than two-thirds of gun owners say “protection” is a major reason why they own a weapon.

As the Washington Post’s Chris Ingraham has documented, for every one “justifiable” gun homicide, there are 34 criminal gun homicides, 78 gun suicides and two accidental gun deaths. (Ingraham used data from this 2015 report from the Violence Policy Center.)

That’s a lot of numbers. But the point here is simple. While anecdotes — like the Texas shooting Trump cited — seem to affirm the “good guy with a gun” theory, according to the large majority of the available data, more guns in the hands of civilians lead to more gun deaths, not fewer.



Actually Trump is echoing the NRA’s own argument that if guns are not allowed near schools and government buildings then shootings cannot be stopped by a “good guy with a gun.” However the empirical evidence is not on Trump’s side.

In 2014 the FBI released a reported titled “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013” which looked over 13 years of data and a of total of 160 incidents, and concluded the concept of a good guy with a gun was unequivocally proven to be a myth. The number of times a shooting ended after armed citizens exchanged gunfire with the shooters only amounted to 5 times (3.1%). In contrast the number of times unarmed citizens safely and successfully disrupted the shootings was 21 times (13.1%).

Timing Suggests Trump’s Tweet About Sending ‘Feds’ to Chicago Was Response to Bill O’Reilly Segment

President Donald Trump may be making decisions based on what he watches on Fox News.

Late on Tuesday, the president tweeted about the gun violence in Chicago, writing, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the feds!”

Numerous reporters noted that Trump’s tweet came shortly after an “O’Reilly Factor” segment on the same topic, which cited the same statistics and even used the word “carnage,” a recent favorite noun of Trump’s.

Though Chicago has a higher number of gun deaths than any other major city, the number of deaths per capita is notably lower than in other cities because of Chicago’s large population. And while the city has attempted to use strict gun laws to curb shootings, about 60% of guns used in shootings last year were purchased out of state.

Tuesday’s tweet would hardly be the first time Trump has fired off a proposal in reaction to a TV segment.

Axios confirmed that Trump reads The New York Times and The New York Post, frequently tunes into cable TV — most notably MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and NBC’s “Meet The Press” — and will praise or criticize aides after performances on TV.

Many top policymakers have attempted to get their message to Trump via his favorite TV programs.

Appearing on “Morning Joe” on Wednesday, Rep. Elijah Cummings thanked host Joe Scarborough for asking him about how he would work with Trump on reducing prescription drug pricing, and then he spoke directly to the president.

“Joe, I want to thank you all for giving that opening, and to the president, I know you’re watching, so I’m looking forward to meeting with you,” Cummings said.

Trump Calls African-American Neighborhoods ‘Ghettos’ With ‘So Many Horrible Problems’

First they were “inner cities” – now they’re just “ghettos.”

Donald Trump once again appeared to equate an entire ethnicity with a socio-economic segment as he, during a campaign rally in Ohio on Thursday, pledged to “work with the African-American community” to solve the problem of the “ghettos.”

“And we’re going to work on our ghettos, are in so the, you take a look at what’s going on where you have pockets of, areas of land where you have the inner cities and you have so many things, so many problems,” Trump rambled to a mostly white audience in Toledo, appearing to catch himself using the politically tabooed word. “So many horrible, horrible problems. The violence. The death. The lack of education. No jobs.”

“Ghetto” is generally not used by public officials as it’s considered an outdated, insensitive word for struggling urban areas.

Trump has previously been rebuked for associating African-Americans – who comprise roughly 13% of the total population – with the words “inner cities.”

The Republican nominee has recently launched outreach efforts directed at black voters, but appears to have failed severely as polls have shown that less than 1% of African-American voters are going to punch in his name on the ballot.

At another point during the Toledo rally, Trump seemed to question the necessity for democracy.

“What a difference it is. I’m just thinking to myself right now – we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?” he said in front of the roughly 2,800 rally attendants, comparing his presidential bid with Hillary Clinton’s.

Trump, meanwhile, is doubling down on past remarks about the election being “rigged” – an insinuation that political experts claim could have very real and very violent consequences.

(h/t New York Daily News)



Trump Insinuates Hillary Clinton’s Assassination, Again

Donald Trump has once again insinuated that Hillary Clinton be assassinated, telling a crowd of supporters in Miami on Friday night that he thinks Clinton’s bodyguards should disarm in order to “see what happens to her.” The suggestion came after Trump falsely told the crowd that Clinton is “very much against” the Second Amendment and wants to “destroy” it. He then continued:

Guns. Guns. Guns. Right? I think what we should do, is — she goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before. I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm. Right? … I think they should disarm immediately. … Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away. Okay? It’d be very dangerous.

Not surprisingly, the comments — which elicited a big cheer from the crowd — were apparently not in Trump’s campaign-prepared remarks.

It was the second time that Trump has suggested that violence befall Clinton in relation to her gun control positions, having told a crowd at a meeting of the National Rifle Association in August that there was “nothing you can do” to prevent Clinton from appointing Supreme Court justices if she was elected president, then adding, “Although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.” He and his campaign later indicated the remark was in regards to the political power of gun rights advocates, but the U.S. Secret Service still spoke with the Trump campaign about the comment.

For a major party presidential candidate to make even one insinuation of violence or assassination regarding an opponent is of course unprecedented in modern American history — let alone two separate remarks, as Trump has now made. Then again, precedent has rarely applied when it comes to Trump and suggestions of violence.

Trump’s comment on Friday was also, in part, similar to other previous statements he has made on the subject, like this tweet he sent in May one day after receiving the NRA’s endorsement for president at their annual convention:

He said roughly the same thing again early Saturday morning:

The false statement that Clinton is opposed to the Second Amendment and wants to ban all gun ownership is one Trump has repeated throughout his campaign. Clinton has regularly said that she supports the right of American citizens to own guns, but wants additional “reasonable” restrictions on gun ownership, such as a ban on assault weapons, an expansion of background checks to more types of gun sales, and new measures to prevent criminals, suspected terrorists, domestic abusers, and the severely mentally ill from being able to purchase firearms. In the past, Clinton has also supported other gun control measures such as the required registration of new guns.

Prior to making his suggestion about Clinton’s bodyguards on Friday night, the candidate framed the remark by insisting Clinton had, in her “basket of deplorables” comment about half of Trump’s supporters at a fundraiser last week, slandered “working people who just want a fraction of the security enjoyed by our politicians and certainly enjoyed by [Clinton.]” Trump also repeated his false assertion that some American inner cities are now more dangerous than war-torn Afghanistan.

In addition, Trump appeared to ridicule Clinton for taking time off from the campaign trail this week, which she did after suffering a bout of pneumonia and falling ill at a 9/11 memorial service in New York on Sunday. After saying Clinton “doesn’t have a lot of the energy” and is “totally unfit to be the president,” Trump bragged that he goes to multiple rallies in a day and asked the crowd, “Do you think Hillary Clinton can get through one?”

(h/t New York Magazine)


For the record, Clinton has a gun violence prevention proposal on her website, which would deny gun owners from buying certain guns and block or delay the ability of some to purchase guns. But it does not call for taking any guns away. Compare this writing to Trump’s 20 second video on his Second Amendment policy.

Among other things, her plan would:

  • Expand required background checks to include some private sales at gun shows and over the Internet, which include 40% of all gun sales.
  • Require a potential gun buyer to pass a background check before being sold the gun.
  • Reinstate the 1994 semi-automatic “assault weapons” ban.

Clinton has also come out against the controversial Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller” which determined that the Second Amendment is indeed an individual right, overturning centuries of court rulings which opinioned otherwise.

Nothing comes remotely close to Trump’s claim or other right-wing media claims that she intends to diminish American’s rights.


Trump: Dallas Shootings Are ‘Attack on Our Country’

Hours after five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others wounded during a protest of this week’s shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, presumptive Republican nomination Donald Trump reacted with a call for peace.

Trump tweeted Friday morning:

Trump’s campaign later announced that his event scheduled on Friday in Miami had been canceled, and released a statement condemning the “horrific execution-style shootings” as “an attack on our country.”

“It is a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe. We must restore law and order. We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street. The senseless, tragic deaths of two motorists in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done,” Trump said in the statement, referring to the police shootings earlier this week, although the shooting in Louisiana happened outside of a convenience store, not in a vehicle as in Minnesota. (The statement was later corrected to read “two people.”) “This morning I offer my thoughts and prayers for all of the victims’ families, and we pray for our brave police officers and first responders who risk their lives to protect us every single day.”

“Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. This isn’t the American Dream we all want for our children. This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion. We will pull through these tragedies.”

(h/t Politico)


Donald Trump sounded reasonable, made measured statements, and appeared to try his hand at unity during a very difficult time in our country. This is the exact type of speech we should hear from our political leaders during a tragedy.

However, while Trump’s call for a nation to come together and promoting racial unity is right on the mark, it is missing the fact that since announcing his candidacy, Trump has used fear mongering, race-baiting, and strong man tactics to propel himself to the Republican nominee for the presidency. We’ve cataloged a long list of Trump’s racist comments on Hispanics, Middle Eastern-Americans, African-Americans, Hebrews, Asians-Americans, and foreigners, that marginalizes minority groups and gives a greater platform to white supremacists.

For example, compare Trump’s scripted statement and his “Make America Safe Again” video with his remarks only three weeks prior in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Donald Trump used divisive statements in an attempt to pit the LGBT community against the Muslim community:

“[Hillary Clinton] can’t claim to be supportive of [LGBT] communities while trying to increase the number of people coming in who want to oppress them.”

And placed the blame for the attack at the feet of Muslim-Americans:

“Muslim communities must cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad—and they do know where they are.”

Trump then renewed his call for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States, incorrectly identified the New York born shooter as an Afghan, and made other various misleading statements.


Trump Says He’ll Back ‘No Fly List’ Gun Control Bill

Donald Trump said Wednesday in a tweet that he would meet with the National Rifle Association to discuss “not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or no fly list, to buy guns.”

If the presumptive Republican nominee follows through, it would appear to put him on roughly the same side of the issue as President Obama and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

But it’s also possible that Trump’s position, so far described only in a tweet, will be closer to a long-held Republican position—which sounds identical on paper, but is very different in implementation.

Here’s the issue. Most Democrats support banning anyone on the FBI watch list from purchasing a weapon, full stop.

Most Republicans, and even the NRA, say the same thing. In 2015, the gun lobby said it “does not want terrorists or other dangerous people to have firearms.” But the Republican solution would not impose a full ban.

(h/t Time)


While Trump’s proposal to ban suspected terrorists is a from purchasing a firearm is a common-sense approach to gun safety (and something the Democrats have been pushing a long time for) unfortunately it would have done little to prevent the shooting in Orlando.

Omar Marteen was actually taken off the terrorist watch list, which is something the FBI should be held accountable for.

Keep in mind, people on the terrorist watch list are still able to legally purchase guns because on December 3rd, 2015, U.S. Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have prevented known or suspected terrorists from buying guns.

Here is the vote count for that law you can read yourself: S.Amdt.2910 to S.Amdt.2874 to H.R.3762.

Trump Promises NRA He Will Remove Gun Free Zones

Donald Trump accepting the NRA endorsement.

Donald Trump on Friday called Hillary Clinton “the most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment” presidential candidate to ever run for office and likened her posture on the issue to that of a dictator.

“Hillary’s pledged to issue new anti-gun executive orders, you know that. This is the behavior, you could say of a dictator. This is the behavior of somebody, frankly, I think that doesn’t know what she’s doing,” Trump said in a speech at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum. She’s not equipped to be president in so many different ways. This is the thinking of a person that is not equipped to be the president of the United States. Believe me, she doesn’t understand it.”

He also echoed Bernie Sanders’ attacks on Clinton — the Vermont senator challenged whether the former secretary of state was qualified and had the temperament to be president.

“Bad judgment. We talk about it. She’s got bad judgment. You know where it came from,” Trump said. “It came from me and also came from her current opponent, who’s doing pretty well, I’ll tell you.”

Trump also vowed to get rid of gun-free zones, invoking the July 2015 shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which a gunman opened fire in gun-free zones on military installations there, eventually killing five people. (The FBI later said the attacks were “motivated by foreign terrorist organization propaganda.”)

“That wasn’t part of my speech, I must be honest with you,” Trump admitted. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t read you what I have here. But in fact, if I would have known teleprompters, I would have used them.”

Before Trump began addressing the crowd in Louisville, Kentucky, the NRA formally announced its endorsement of the billionaire, warning of the dangers of a Hillary Clinton presidency. But throughout his remarks, the real estate mogul echoed much of what NRA’s leadership said in their comments preceding his appearance.

“Hillary wants to disarm vulnerable citizens in high crime neighborhoods, whether it is a young single mom in Florida or a grandmother in Ohio, Hillary wants them to be defenseless, wants to take away any chance they have of survival,” Trump said. “By the way, you have men and you have women sitting in an apartment. And outside is tremendous crime. Tremendous crimes of all kinds. And they need to be protected. And you know, the only way they are going to be able to protect themselves. And if you take that gun away from them, it’s gonna be a very unfair situation.”

“That’s why we’re going to call her Heartless Hillary. We can do without that,” Trump said, though he added, “I like Crooked Hillary better.”

(h/t Politico)


Donald Trump claimed that gun-free zones are like “bait” to a “sicko” to much applause to the NRA members in attendance. Actually Trump is echoing the NRA’s own argument that if guns are not allowed near schools and government buildings then shootings cannot be stopped by a “good guy with a gun.” However the empirical evidence is not on Trump’s side.

In 2014 the FBI released a reported titled “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013” which looked over 13 years of data and a of total of 160 incidents, and concluded the concept of a good guy with a gun was unequivocally proven to be a myth. The number of times a shooting ended after armed citizens exchanged gunfire with the shooters only amounted to 5 times (3.1%). In contrast the number of times unarmed citizens safely and successfully disrupted the shootings was 21 times (13.1%).

Donald Trump also parroted the NRA claim that more guns make Americans safer. Let’s forget for a moment of the NRA’s round-up program, where the NRA’s lobby wing receives money every time a gun is purchased in the United States, this argument again has zero basis in the documented evidence. A review of the academic literature by Harvard University looked at a broad array of evidence and concluded where guns are more available, there are more homicides by firearm.

Instead the FBI and academia recognizes that seeking to prevent these tragedies is clearly the best result.