Armed Civilian Halts Shooting in Progress Outside South Carolina Bar

In discussing guns, mass public shootings, and armed civilians with folk on the new-fangled social networks, I find a widespread belief that it’s more or less silly or insane to believe armed civilians will ever be of use in such situations.

Such scenarios, like mass public shootings themselves, are rare, but they do happen. When they do, they don’t get nearly the national press that a typical mass public shooting gets, for understandable reasons. But they are worth considering in the public debate over whether more guns in civilian hands is a potentially good or bad policy.

One such incident of an armed civilian preventing what might have turned into a mass casualty shooting did happen this weekend in South Carolina, as detailed by local TV station WISTV:

32-year-old Jody Ray Thompson pulled out a gun after getting into an argument with another man and fired several rounds toward a crowd that had gathered out in front of the club.

“His rounds struck 3 victims, and almost struck a fourth victim, who in self-defense, pulled his own weapon and fired, striking Thompson in the leg,” Lt. Kevin Bobo said.

Bobo said the man who shot Thompson has a valid concealed weapons permit, cooperated with investigators, and won’t be facing any charges. 

Jack Hunter, writing about the incident at Rare, details a similar incident in a South Carolina Waffle House last year in which an armed civilian on the scene shot and killed an armed robber.

Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post last October accumulated stories of 10 such incidents publicized at least enough for him to know about them. They do happen.