If you spent any time with Colin Goddard and heard him describe the scene at VT, you would know that his having a gun would not have made a difference. In fact, he has said that if he had had a gun that day, he probably would have been shot to death by Cho.
Goddard’s ordeal began during French class, when he and fellow students first heard gunfire coming from a hallway, his mother said.
Professor Jocelyne Couture-Nowak told her students to dial 911, just seconds before Cho entered the room and sprayed bullets, wounding Colin in the leg. Cho “went first through one row of desks and started shooting just randomly,” Ann Goddard said.
Cho then left the classroom, she said, and returned minutes later.
Colin lay on the classroom floor, playing dead. He “turned his head and actually saw the shooter’s shoes come right up next to his body,” Ann Goddard said. “The shooter was standing right next to him.”
Her son was “absolutely scared to death,” she said. “He kept his wits about him, but he was scared to death.”
If you had time to hear the gunshots, you had the time to draw a gun had you had one. Probably even time to find or create reasonable cover. A reasonably trained shooter can go from leather to well placed shot in under 2 seconds. You had the advantage of knowing where the shooter was going to appear from and that he was coming. It’s certainly not a guarantee you won’t get shot. Gunfights aren’t exactly safe, even if your opponent is a lousy shot. The key to winning a gun fight is to be mentally prepared to win, and to keep landing well placed shots on your attacker until he’s down. I’d be curious to know what Colin thinks the fundamental tactical difficulty would have been in taking Cho down had he had a firearm that day, other than his emotional state, which can’t be discounted.
Goddard was frightened into inaction, by his own account. I don’t mean that as any kind of admonition; the same thing happens even to trained soldiers and police officers. No one can predict what their reaction is going to be when bullets start flying, and I won’t blame anyone for being petrified by fear in a situation like that. Since I’ve never been in a situation where someone is shooting at me, I have no idea whether I’d react any better. Dan McKown certainly wasn’t exempt in a similar situation, even though he was carrying a firearm.
But just because being frozen by fear was one person’s reaction doesn’t mean it will be everyone’s. Many of the young adults involved in the campus carry movement are people who are not unfamiliar with being shot at, since a lot of them are veterans completing their education after serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m skeptical that enough college students are going to carry firearms to make any significant difference in a potential mass shooting situation, but the odds at least won’t be zero. I don’t see any reason why someone who is licensed to carry everywhere else shouldn’t be able to carry onto campus. In short, I just don’t see any reason not to allow it.