JPFO Alerts


Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027

Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959

August 5, 1999

Armed Citizens Save Uncounted Lives in Georgia

We received many responses from readers to our alert entitled "Anti-Gun Culture Kills Nine in Atlanta." Although the vast majority generally supported our view, a few questioned whether citizens who carry firearms (open or concealed) could actually be effective defenders when the pressure was on.

The August 4, 1999, Washington Times printed a story from the Reuters News Agency entitled "Armed Georgia defenders thwart two gunmen." This dramatic report of how lives were saved by firearms was at the bottom of page A9. Was the report even carrried in your newspaper? Was it on your television news program? (Honestly, we at JPFO would like to know if you saw this story elsewhere in the "mainstream" media.)

In the first incident, Jeffery Johnson, 36, had been fired from a truck parts retail business because of trouble concerning a missing $900. The firing occurred the day after the notorious Atlanta killings, so the business owner worried that Johnson would be dangerous. "You know how copycats happen," the owner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Johnson apparently was quite upset about the firing, and called the owner on Friday morning to tell him that he was "coming." So the owner decided to buy a 9mm handgun that same day at lunch time.

Georgia has an instant-check system with no waiting period. Getting a gun when you need one, not three days later, can make all the difference when danger lurks.

The same day, Johnson, a convicted felon, bought a shotgun. That afternoon, Johnson entered the business location carrying the shotgun. The store owner handed the 9mm pistol to another employee who had some weapons training. Unfortunately, the pistol jammed and wouldn't fire, but having the gun bought some extra time for the employee to act. The employee knocked Johnson's shotgun barrel upward and then wrestled Johnson to the ground and held him for police.

This incident points up the great advantage that revolvers have over semi-automatic pistols -- it is next to impossible fora new or reasonably well-maintained revolver to jam. But there is another great point made here: just having a gun, even if itjams, can still deter a criminal or buy time to take some otherdefensive action. And having weapons training gives the edge to a person who knows what to do.

In a separate incident, the mother of an adult mental patientwas bringing him to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Unfortunately, the man was carrying a gun inside a paper bag. When they got to the hospital, the man broke through and avoidedthe metal detector and then pointed his gun at a hospital security guard. The security guard, a retired police officer, first tried to calm down the agitated man, but then had to drawhis weapon and shoot him in self-defense.

These two stories barely got any press for a key reason: nobody was killed. You cannot count the numbers of people who were saved by firearms. You can estimate, based upon assumptions, but estimates about good news don't make headlines in the "mainstream" media. Yet daily firearms in the hands of individuals continue to save lives and prevent violence.

Thomas Sowell, a top scholar and syndicated columnist, made this point in his recent article:

"That the mass shootings in Atlanta have led to predictable demands for more federal gun control laws, let us at least make an effort to think rationally. Is the way to prevent more tragedies like the one in Atlanta to pass laws ensuring that virtually all Americans will be as helpless as those who wereshot and killed by Matt Barton? Does that make any sense?

"When people ask emotionally, "How can we stop these things?" the most straightforward answer is to ask: How was it in fact stopped? It was stopped, like most shooting sprees, by the arrival on the scene of other people with guns."

You can and should read Dr. Sowell's article in its entirety at:


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