In the wake of the deadly shooting at Clackamas Town Center in Oregon Tuesday, a North Idaho firearms instructor thinks more lives could be saved in mass shootings if more civilians were armed, even in shopping malls.
Center Target Sports has trained hundreds of people about how and if they can use a gun to stop a crime.
"Well, the concealed carry class specifically covers the appropriate use of a firearm in defense but more importantly the legal aspects and, of course, the limitations of the firearm," Center Target Sports owner Ed Santos said.
Just last November one of Center Target's students put those lessons to work foiling an armed robbery at the Coeur d' Alene Goodwill.
"I have a concealed weapons permit. I drew my weapon and pointed it at the guy and told him 'Drop it or I'll shoot ya'," Timothy Patterson said back in November 2011.
Center Target instructors are wishing someone, either an off-duty officer or a properly trained citizen, had been inside the Clackamas Town Center Tuesday when the gunman started shooting.
"They would have been in a position to put tremendous firepower on that shooter who would have definitely been affected. If nothing else he would have been distracted and again that would have allowed a lot of people to get away," Santos said.
On the other hand a well intentioned civilian shooting at the gunman could have also inadvertently hit a bystander.
"If a concealed carry holder addresses that threat and God forbid, shoots an innocent person, the shooter was there to shoot as many people as he could and the actions of the concealed carry holder would have probably saved many more people that would have been injured collateral damage-wise," Santos said.
Coming to the aid of innocent people in a mass shooting is not without it's risks. For example if you're still engaging the gunman when the police department shows us officers say it's your responsibility to make sure they know you're not the bad guy otherwise you could get shot as well.