Regular people are totally useless when trying to use a handgun in self-defense: study

You've heard the mantra a million times: "The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." The only problem, it turns out, is that being a "good guy" isn't good enough.


A new study by researchers at Mount St. Mary's University shows that proper training and the ability to know how and when to apply lethal force is essential to not only "stopping a bad guy" but not killing yourself and other innocent bystanders. As Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post reports:

[Researchers] 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...

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

The study, it should be noted, was funded by a gun reform advocacy group National Gun Victims Action Council, and the sample size of 77 is rather small but the findings are significant and confirm what even the NRA says -- more training goes a long way in preventing accidents in the event of emergencies. The researchers released some interesting video showing the difference between how trained professionals respond to crises and how the average Joe does.

We've embedded their video below courtesy of The Washington Post:

The National Gun Victims Action Council considers itself a moderate gun control group advocating for "sane gun control". They believe the first step to more sane control is requiring training for handgun ownership just as we currently do for the operation of cars and other heavy machinery.

The NRA, for its part, categorically opposes such measures.

h/t Washington Post