Each mass shooting makes headlines and rekindles the debate around regulation and prohibition of firearms. However, there is one common incident that gets little visibility and does not swing the debate: an armed person prevents a terrorist from attacking others or even himself. On 8th August, an off-duty firefighter used his concealed weapon to neutralize a man armed with more than 100 rounds of ammunition.
It took three minutes for the cops to arrive, 180 seconds in which enough shots could have been fired to kill those inside the Walmart in Springfield, Missouri, USA. But thanks to the man who confronted the likely shooter, there were no injuries, and police arrested the potential mass murderer.
“We know that he came here heavily armed with bulletproof vests and military uniform and caused a great deal of panic inside the store. So he certainly could harm people,” said police lieutenant Mike Lucas.
On the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, Springfield Police Officers arrested 20-year-old (DOB: 09/29/1998) Dmitriy…
The detainee’s name is Dmitriy N. Andreychenko. He is 20 years old and now faces a first-degree terrorism charge.
A society which sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither and will lose both
Although positions on how to deal with the use of firearms are adverse, there is one thing they share: only one armed person can stop another armed person. On the one hand, the proposal is that state security forces should have a monopoly on arms so that they are the ones who stop the attackers, and on the other hand, that citizens should have the power to defend themselves.
Benjamin Franklin, the hero of American independence, said, “those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
The case shows how making citizens wholly dependent on state security forces for their protection could cost them their lives. Armed civilians present at a shooting site can act effectively and immediately.
Possessing a weapon can reduce violence
“In fact, he’s lucky he’s alive still, to be honest,” said Mike Lucas of the Springfield Police Department about the 20-year-old man who was detained without violence.
According to local news channel KOLR, the police reported “a 20-year-old man with a rifle, a firearm, and a body armor arrested at Walmart in the Republic. SFD police say he had more than 100 rounds of ammunition. An off-duty firefighter with a concealed weapon held him at gunpoint until the officers arrived about 3 minutes later.”
he pushed a cart around. An off-duty fireman held the man at gunpoint until police arrived… which police say took about three minutes after they received the call at 4:09pm
— Jenifer Abreu (@jeniferabreutv) August 8, 2019
It also indicates that the off-duty firefighter kept his gun pointed at the suspect throughout the three minutes it took for Springfield police to arrive.
The incident occurred in the same week that a shooter labeled a terrorist and white supremacist because his attack targeted the Hispanic community of El Paso, Texas, killed more than 20 people, including seven Mexican citizens, followed by an attack by a left-wing extremist activist in Dayton, Ohio, who murdered nine people, including his own sister.
Both cases sparked debate over whether both weapons and ammunition should be readily accessible to civilians.
An independent study by the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) states that the 1994 Bill Clinton administration’s assault weapons ban did not reduce violence, just as a recent CNN report noted that changes in background checks would not have stopped the tragedy.
On the other hand, cases such as Springfield, Missouri, where an armed civilian was able to stop a shooter in time before he started the attack, show how urgency is more effective than delegating protection only to state security forces.