It was déjà vu all over again. On Sunday, Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, told Meet the Press host David Gregory that one cause of last week's shooting at Washington, DC's Navy Yard was that "there weren't enough good guys with guns."
Sound familiar? It should. LaPierre trotted out the same talking point in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December. At the NRA's first press conference after gunman Adam Lanza killed 27 people at Sandy Hook, LaPierre singled out a host of supposed ills—other than guns themselves—to explain Lanza's spree: violent video games, violent movies, violent music, and more. Then he said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
On Meet the Press, LaPierre not only called for more "good guys with guns," but he also blamed "the mental health situation in the country" which he described as "in complete breakdown." News reports in the wake of the Navy Yard shooting revealed that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people and was shot and killed himself at a Navy Yard facility, had exhibited erratic behavior for months. He told police in Rhode Island earlier this year that he heard people talking to him through walls and transmitting microwave vibrations into his body to keep him awake at night.
As for LaPierre's claim that more good guys with guns would've stopped mass shootings like those at Sandy Hook and Navy Yard, the evidence does not back this up. As Mother Jones has reported, not one of the 67 mass shootings in America in the past three decades was stopped by an armed civilian. Those who've tried have been badly injured or killed. And law enforcement officials don't want "good guys with guns" trying to play cop.