Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Human Error More To Blame Than Guns In Mass Shootings

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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

In the wake of another school shooting, there’s a new round of calls for gun reform, gun control, whatever one wants to call it. Once again, the fallacy that more gun laws will prevent atrocities from happening is being passed around social media, news networks and around water coolers across the country.

Curtailing our Second Amendment rights just isn’t going to be the answer. Mere access to guns alone doesn’t make such tragedies possible; after all, the worst school massacre in American history – the Bath School Disaster of 1927 – was carried out without a single shot being fired.

What seems to get lost in the shuffle is the role of human error in mass shootings, which is far larger than some people want to admit.

In the broad strokes, we know the gunman in Florida had mental health issues, and had been dealing with some very rough circumstances in his life. We know that he harbored or appeared to harbor extremist viewpoints. We know the family that took him in had no idea about any of it until it was all over.

We know that he was fascinated with school shootings and had been making comments online about wanting to carry one out. We also know the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew about it and did nothing.

Similarly, a number of other mass shootings have involved human errors of similar natures that would have prevented the incident from happening.

Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, was also interested in school shootings. He was likewise mentally disturbed, but had resisted therapy and other treatments. His mother eventually stopped trying to get him help, just focusing on making it through each day with as few outbursts as possible. She kept firearms in the house, and allowed Adam access.

Devin Kelley, the Sutherland Springs shooter was only able to purchase the AR-15 he committed his crimes with because the Air Force failed to report that he’d been discharged for domestic violence to the FBI’s National Criminal Information Center, the database used by the NICS.

The Pulse Nightclub shooter’s ex-wife left him because of his violent tendencies. Had she called the cops and pursued domestic violence charges, he likely would have had to surrender his firearms. He wouldn’t have been able to purchase the Sig Sauer MCX that he used to carry out  his crimes.

Sueng Hui Cho, perpetrator of the Virginia Tech massacre, had a history of disturbing behavior and was at one point court-ordered to seek behavioral treatment. However, this wasn’t reported to the NCIC and thus, he was able to purchase the handguns he used in his crimes.

And so it goes.

The point is that the mere presence of firearms on the marketplace is not the largest contributing factor in mass shootings. These events don’t occur in a vacuum; they are the culmination of a chain of events that stretch over months or years. At plenty of points before the event itself, there were opportunities for intervention that would have precluded any shooting from taking place.

The fix, at least in the instance of Sueng Hui Cho and Devin Kelley, could have been as simple as sending a digital file to the FBI.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Guns can facilitate evil deeds, no question about it. So can a truck, a hatchet, a machete; heck, people can still get online and find “The Anarchist’s Cookbook.” But there were plenty of things that could have been done to prevent the above-mentioned and other incidents that had nothing to do with the guns themselves. It is a problem with humans as much as anything else.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit