If one climbs Mt. Stupid, one is sure to meet Mr. Stollery. In fact, Mr. Stollery’s claim to the summit is hard to dispute.

The truth is that many states have armed instructors and staff members in public K-12 schools. Texas has had them since the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007. The only mass shooting in a Texas public school since the armed teacher program was implemented was at Santa Fe High School in May. The Santa Fe Independent School District has its own state-certified police department staffed with veteran law enforcement officers. Two officers happened to be in the school when Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire in the arm room. The officers were on scene in four minutes and immediately engaged Pagourtzis. One officer was critically wounded by a blast from Pagourtzis’ 12-gauge shotgun. The other officer returned fire, wounding Pagourtzis and ending the shooting.

Mr. Stollery, along with others, seems to have no concept of how little firearms training most law enforcement officers receive. Reading a 2014 study by the Force Science Institute (available at www.forcescience.org/articles/naiveshooter.pdf) would probably be a good thing for Mr. Stollery to read.

Due to budget cutbacks and other fiscal restraints, some law enforcement agencies require only semiannual qualification; quarterly is the general rule for the rest.

In a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that those that resisted violent attacks with a firearm generally had better outcomes than any other method of avoiding harm. The CDC and FBI generally acknowledge that there are a minimum of 500,000 defensive gun uses (DGUs) annually, the majority of which do not involve the gun being fired. This was the critical flaw in a study by David Hemenway, who based his results on a study of violence-related injuries.

Training is available to private citizens that covers virtually all of the firearm training provided for police officers. This training is invaluable for the simple reason that the student is taught to react instantly and repetitive exercises have trained the student’s reflexes to the point that they are largely automatic. It would be nice is states with armed teacher programs would require such training and it would be even nicer if they footed the bill.

Incidentally, the National Rifle Association offers the National School Shield program (https://www.nraschoolshield.org/) to school districts. It’s free of charge and it doesn’t start with good guys with guns.

Is a purse a good place to carry a gun? No, not really. The best place to carry is on the person. It’s easier to access and more difficult to take away. It also limits the chance that another person can access the firearm. This does present a challenge for women but there are solutions available.

What happens when one is suddenly confronted with a violent attack? Depends a lot on the person being attacked. Many years ago, the late Bill Jordan demonstrated one response in a Texas courtroom. He had a bailiff, a trained law enforcement officer, aim a gun at him. Jordan was able to react, draw and “fire” his gun before the bailiff could react and pull the trigger.

Admittedly, Jordan, a veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, was incredibly fast. His draw was measured at 0.25 seconds.

But even the average person can be quick enough to counter an attack. One thing to remember is that 86% of victims of violent attacks with firearms survive. The other thing to remember is that gunshot wounds, especially from handguns, are seldom disabling with a single shot.

Moreover, there are methods of deflecting a gun, especially if the gun is held closely to the intended victim.

Defense is quite possible if one is willing to learn and practice. Mr. Stollery’s attitude is a classic example of how to be a victim.

Mr. Stollery’s use of the 22% figure is disingenuous. 22% of adult Americans equates to 55.7 million gun owners. But more recent studies have pegged that percentage at 29% or higher. This makes the number of gun owners more than 73.4 million.

We don’t know the actual number of gun owners but we do know the number of concealed-carry permits. Currently, there are about 17.25 million active carry permits in the United States. Using the 22% figure, this means that 31% of American gun owners have such a permit. Since only a literal handful of states have percentages above 20%, this indicates there are a lot more gun owners than Mr. Stollery assumes. And that doesn’t count residents of the 12 states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed handgun. It’s well within the realm of possibility that a third of more of American adults owns one or more firearms. Some estimates put the figure at more than 100 million.

By the way, the fastest-growing demographic among permit holders is women. Perhaps they fantasize that they are Annie Oakley?

After reading Mr. Stollery’s paean to questionable knowledge, the only thing that makes me feel stupid is the fact I paid money to read it.

Mr. Stollery, I cede the mountaintop to you.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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