Okay. I mean, this shouldn’t be a shocker, but people who have no firearms training didn’t survive the firearms training simulator located at Prince George's County Police Department in Maryland. Another non-surprise is that police officers did well; though some might add that concealed carry holders spend more time at the range than police officers. Regardless, the Washington Post reported on how determining life and death situations–and when to use deadly force–is difficult; something that any gun owner, or person with common sense, would already know:
[A] new study from researchers at Mount St. Mary's University sheds some light on why people don't use guns in self-defense very often. As it turns out, knowing when and how to apply lethal force in a potentially life-or-death situation is really difficult.
The study was commissioned by the National Gun Victims Action Council, an advocacy group devoted to enacting "sensible gun laws" that "find common ground between legal gun owners and non-gun owners that minimizes gun violence in our culture." The study found that proper training and education are key to successfully using a firearm in self-defense: "carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level," the authors wrote in a statement.
They recruited 77 volunteers with varying levels of firearm experience and training, and had each of them participate in simulations of three different scenarios using the firearms training simulator at the Prince George's County Police Department in Maryland. The first scenario involved a carjacking, the second an armed robbery in a convenience store, and the third a case of suspected larceny.
They found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people without firearms training performed poorly in the scenarios. They didn't take cover. They didn't attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy -- they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough -- they didn't shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.
First, the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) is a pro-gun control group, who seem to be driving home that “police know what to do, average Joe don’t” narrative when it comes to firearms and self-defense. That’s fine. It’s also axiomatic. If you’re not trained to do “x,” you’re probably going to suck at it–and with firearms; that’s especially the case. In fact, without proper safety, it’s downright irresponsible that could get yourself or other around you injured, even killed. As an avid shooter, my first step was to take a safety course from a NRA-certified instructor. It lasted a few hours, but it taught me basic safety, and what to look out for (squib loads, hang fire, etc.) and what to do if such malfunctions occur when I’m at the range.
Regarding self-defense, like the examples in the video, of course, people with zero experience in anything firearms-related aren’t going to fare well. Also, the Post noted that the sample size is also very small, so one shouldn’t cite this piece in future debates about gun control. So, yes, we can agree that folks with zero training will probably die. Yet, the premises of the NGVAC, such fighting the “epidemic of gun violence” and “why gun violence is a direct consequence of current gun laws,” are still painfully wrong. The country is safer, violent crime’s downward trend continues, and gun-related homicides are down 39 percent between 1993-2011, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
If firearms safety and training is what NGVAC is trying to promote, they should work with an organization that does this pretty successfully, and respects the Second Amendment as well. It’s called the National Rifle Association.
Last Note: Yet, there seem to be times when you know that using deadly force is the only way out of a dangerous situation. Even pastors of churches know this.