Tonight on AC360: Will good guys with guns stop the bad guys?
The crime scene after the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011.
January 9th, 2013
07:00 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Will good guys with guns stop the bad guys?

In the National Rife Association’s first statement after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the group’s executive vice president told America that the solution for a more secure country is more weapons. Wayne LaPierre announced, “The only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

The idea of solving the problem by placing armed guards in every school sparked more heated debates about gun regulation. Those in favor of stricter gun laws rejected the proposal. Positive reaction came from pro-gun groups, and those supporters are pointing to an incident in San Antonio, Texas as evidence that arming the good guys works.

On December 17, 19-year-old Jesus Manuel Garcia allegedly opened fire in a restaurant, followed employees into a parking lot and then went into a nearby movie theater. He continued shooting until an off-duty sheriff's sergeant working security in the theater in plain clothes took him down. Her instincts and training prevented more injuries, and no one died.

Opponents of the NRA’s proposal look at the 2011 Tucson shooting rampage as an example of why more guns won’t necessarily help during an attack. When Jared Lee Loughner was shooting at the innocent crowd gathered for Rep. Gabby Giffords' event, a bystander ran to the scene with his pistol, but almost made a potentially fatal mistake when he thought an innocent man was the gunman.

Tonight Randi Kaye reports on these cases, and Anderson talks with Margaret Hoover, Peter Beinart and Jeffrey Toobin about the gun debate. Join us at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

UPDATE Watch Randi's report:

Filed under: Guns • NRA • Randi Kaye
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Edward

    Its the society that's not watch the children. Our children have troubled minds. They play inside violent games and watch a lot of movies like Texas chainsaw. And the parent with the society lets these children with troubled minds don't have a outlet. I blame the society for the out break it not guns. Cause we had gun for years. Its the society that let our children down that the fact. Its the parents, Teachers, Uncles, Aunts, at fault and how do we change that? That's the question

    January 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  2. Virgil

    Why is it that the cities where guns are not allowed, the crime rate and death from guns is thru the roof? Who has the guns, the criminals? You can't control what criminals do, but it's easier to make laws against law abiding citizens? Gun control is, gun confiscation.

    January 10, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  3. Charles

    people kills people, so we don't need guns. let's protect ourselve using ourselves, since we kill not guns.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  4. Stuart

    It's very important to note that in the example used of an armed "bystander" who successfully took down a shooter without collateral damage, that the bystander was actually an "off-duty sheriff's sergeant working security in the theater" who commented that her training kicked in. This training included, one can reasonably assume, not only the physical side of how to competently use her firearm, but also the professionally-ingrained mental aspects of how, when and on whom to use that weapon.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  5. Judy

    I am really confused on this issue. On one hand I believe in our 1st amendment rights to bear arms and there are to many restrictions the government tries to put on us citizens for anything & everything. But with that all said something has to be done about assault weapons and the fact that people with mental health issues have an easy time arming themselves. So I really don't know where I stand on this issue?

    January 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  6. John

    Drunk Driving kills more people than guns on a yearly basis nationwide, so lets outlaw cars too. Alcohol kills more people yearly than guns, so completely outlaw alcohol too. Drug Overdose kills more people than guns on a yearly basis, so why don't we outlaw prescription drugs, over the counter drugs etc. Come on people....think about it, it's the PEOPLE not the weapon. These people are Mentally Ill plain and simple. They could have used a car to run down 100 people walking down a sidewalk!
    CNN ran a clip on the Gifford shooting about the guy that "almost" shot the wrong man...the key here is ALMOST but his TRAINING (concealed carry requires training) kicked in as well and he did NOT shoot!

    January 10, 2013 at 1:23 am |
  7. Donn

    An undercover officer was shot in a Brooklyn train station while aresting a suspect by another officer who saw his weapon and mistook him for a robber. This case made national news(check the archives). In the Tucson case that same officer in San Antonio would have been confused as well and may have done the same thing...Its easy to shoot an individual standing alone but during a struggle no trainig will help you detrmine the bad or good guy.

    January 9, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  8. Brad Bradshaw

    Like everything else. the cure can be found at the root of the problem. To successfully argue in favour of gun control, the powers that be must look at the intent behind the drafting of the 2nd amendment and the spirit in which it was written. At that time, it was deemed necessary to bear arms in protection of the country against invading forces and military uprising – and for armed individuals to be called upon to defend the country. At the time of writting, development of killing machines with mass firepower were never imagined and the same in the hands of crazies against innocent victims could never been anticipated. If the foresight had existed, the amendment would have read differently. Since there is no need to be called upon and there are no threats that the military cannot deal with, the amendment is no longer valid. Having said that, I believe the spirit of the amendment is alive and does give limited rights to bear arms – only the arms deemed as self defence, limited to fire power available at that time of the writting.

    Brad Bradshaw. Tory Hill Ontario Canada.

    January 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  9. Donn

    KUDOS to the officer in San Antonio, but lets not foret the shooting near the Empire State Building in NYC where the well trained Offiers of Mr. Bloomberg's NYPD shot inocent by standers. We can only judge these instances on an individual basis. I am a civillian who carries a weapon daily, I was trained to never run in the direction of gunfire, dont attempt be a hero, call the emergency responders and be the best witness I can be. This is what a responsible gun owner who carries a weapon does, unless he is directly confronted by the shooter...The person in Tucson was not trained and shoud seek some proper training ...

    January 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  10. Carl

    CNN exposes the armed citizen in Tucson who said he "almost was ready to shoot" the other citizen who helped detain Jerred Loughner and had control of the shooters gun.
    What CNN doesn't say is that armed citizens are cool headed and make decisions which save lives!!! In almost ALL recorded mass shooting interuptions by a citizen (armed or otherwise), The citizen show complete compassion for the safety of inocent others. Show me a mass shooting where an armed citizen shot an inocent person and I will show you more than quadruple the time when an armed citizen, in a mass shooting, saved lives and stopped the shooter from taking additional lives. I've researched this and yet to find the deranged haphassard armed citizen who shot or even injured an inocent other. CNN looks at the armed citizen who had the ultimate discresion to NOT shoot and says that's inconcievably scarry. The truth is that in almost ALL mass shooting interdictions by armed citizens – They save lives.

    January 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  11. Ken Wu

    The NRA just miss the point entirely. How can more guns on the streets make this country any safer? Arming more good guys with guns to battle bad guys with guns is not the answer. This only leads to more guns on the streets and that would be the fact. It is like how could the world be any safer during the arm race between the US and the USSR in the Cold War? The only consequence that led to was more nukes in the world that we are now having to disarm.

    The answer to gun violence in this country is absolutely few guns on the street regardless who is carrying them. If there are no or fewer guns on the street, then we don't even need to have the good guys armed with guns to defend us. At the end, the NRA just wants to sell more guns as it is huge profits for the gun makers.

    January 9, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  12. Brian

    After listening to both sides of the gun control issue, I thought of a reasonable thing that pro-gun groups could do. I think a national advertising campaign on all types of media, showing direct examples of ways to safely store guns, use guns, and the damage they can do to people when they are shot, could make a difference. Responsible people know that guns are dangerous, but we also see too many examples of guns falling into the wrong hands. Most guns are not safely secured by their owners. This needs to change. Our childrens exposure to violence insulates them from the reality of their actions. Advertising the damage that guns can do to people, like we do with cigarettes and lung cancer, may do some good. I believe that this campaign could be paid for by pro-gun groups & voluntary donations, and without taxpayer money. We both know the efforts that are being discussed in politics now are likely to go nowhere. We as a country have to do something to try and prevent tragedies like Newtown from happening. Thank you for your time.

    January 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
  13. Brad Dillenback II

    Have you seen gun displays in Wallmart, very impressive for a store for all ages.Its like growing up with cap guns air guns.
    the Asault Rifles on display in Walmart. Its like Playboy on the bottom shelf. PS My uncle Monty Ellsworth wrote the book,TheBath School Disaster in Bath Michigan 1927. Most of my family was from that area. A person used dynamite,not guns. The last stats show base ball bats #i People kill People.

    January 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Robert Bland


      Why is nobody on your show tonight mentioning that merely brandishing a gun stops 2 million crimes per year in America from happening while, admittedly, guns are used some 450,000 times to commit crimes. Net effect is that merely brandishing a gun stops some 1.5 million crimes per year. Take my guns? Never.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  14. Bill

    The gun control debate in the United States is maddening. Often it is said it is not the guns that kill people, but people. On that basis, I believe the US should pass legislation that requires gun owners to carry insurance to compensate victims impacted by the use or misuse of their firearms. People who choose to own weapons, like assault weapons often used in these mass killings, would pay higher premiums to cover the damage caused by these weapons. People would still be able to own the weapons they choose to, but the owners (the people) would be personally accountable for the carnage caused as a result of the use of their firearms.

    January 9, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Robert Bland

      The liability portion of one's home or renter's insurance policy would pick up and pay for the bodily injury or property damage that one is lawfully responsible for. Police accidentally kill 300 Americans per year, yet 300 million gun owners accidentally kill only 30 people per year.

      Why is nobody on your show tonight mentioning that merely brandishing a gun stops 2 million crimes per year in America from happening while, admittedly, guns are used some 450,000 times to commit crimes. Net effect is that merely brandishing a gun stops some 1.5 million crimes per year. Take my guns? Never.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Donn

      REALLY!! The people who comitt these crimes are not people who are concern with surviving, they would take out the policy, own the weapon, go on a rampage and then kill themselves so how do the victims collect and from whom? THINK!!! Lets get better gun laws, enforce the one on the books and register these NUTS!!! Yes I said NUTS, everyone of these shooters had mental issues either diagnosed of regognized before the shootings...

      January 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Hansek

      I totally agree with you, Bill. Gun ownership can be easily subject to the same procedures as car ownership in relation to licensing, registration and liability insurance. Nobody can say that the government is "taking people's cars away", can they ?!

      January 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  15. Al Gagnon

    Please ask Mc Crystal how many guns he owns and why hasn't he turned them in to the police to be destroyed. Thanks

    January 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  16. Kris Smith

    I'd like to see some reporting on school shootings that resulted in only a couple of people being killed. These shootings were carriered out with pistols or shotguns. What would the death toll be if these individuals had automatic or semi automatic weapons?

    January 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  17. Ray

    Would the gun "rights" people oppose any gun control if this were – god forbid – an attack by a group of terrorists who bought guns from a gun show?

    January 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm |

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