Meet John Parker Jr. He’s that “good guy with a gun” the anti-gun safety crowd keeps talking about. You know, that rugged hero who should be free to carry around any kind of firearm any time and anywhere — with no license, registration, background check, waiting period or training required — because he might shoot the next mass shooter and save the day.

Anti-Gunsense folks argue that “gun-free-zones” like schools, churches and public buildings are easy targets for mass shooters because the “good guy with a gun” is barred from defending them. But guess what? Oregon Live reminds us that Umpqua Community College is not a gun-free zone. Concealed carry is legal in the state of Oregon, even on college campuses.

John Parker, a young veteran, gun rights advocate and UCC student, was armed and on the scene during Friday’s horrific mass shooting. So why did this “good guy with a gun” leave the heroics to his unarmed fellow veteran and schoolmate Chris Mintz? Because, contrary to popular belief, not all of these “good guy with a gun” types are total idiots, that’s why. Chris Mintz was unarmed and it may have seemed crazy for him to tackle the shooter and take seven bullets while doing it. But since he was trained in physical combat and close by enough to prevent more of his classmates from getting injured and killed, the risk must have seemed worth it to him (Mintz is currently recovering in the hospital).

As for Parker, the chance to save people and stop a mass shooting in progress is every Second Amendmenter’s dream. But instead of rushing in, he and his cohorts showed admirable restraint and did the right thing. Alas, mass shootings like all things in life rarely follow the scripts running in our heads.

Why John Parker Jr., a “good guy with a gun” did not shoot the UCC shooter.

John Parker and other veteran students were hanging out in the school’s Veterans’ Center when Christopher Harper Mercer started shooting. Naturally, they all wanted to help. But after talking with others on the scene and swiftly assessing the situation, they realized they were likely to do more harm than good. In an interview with MSNBC, the soft-spoken veteran explained that not only might their approach from a distance put more people in harm’s way if the shooter tried to defend himself, it might also interfere with the incoming SWAT team’s rescue efforts. Not only that, but a “good guy with a gun” can easily be mistaken for one of the bad ones.

“Luckily we made the choice not to get involved. We were quite a distance away from the building where this was happening. And we could have opened ourselves up to be potential targets ourselves, and not knowing where SWAT was, their response time, they wouldn’t know who we were. And if we had our guns ready to shoot, they could think that we were bad guys.”

Parker also explained that he and the other veterans are “trained to go into danger” and that if there “was something we could do [to help] we were going to do it.” since

Ironically, Chris Mintz was able to save some of his fellow students because he did not have a firearm and hence did not add to the confusion or to the threat level. And a huge part of actually being a “good guy with a gun” like John Parker and his fellow veterans is knowing when their guns can help and when their guns will make things worse. These guys are trained, experienced and restrained, plus they obviously care about gun safety.

Parker then went on to defend his Second Amendment right to carry firearms. But since we no longer have any slave rebellions to put down, it’s unclear what we need these so-called “well-organized militias” for. I’m not a fan of guns, but could possibly live easier with them if more gun owners came across as responsible like Parker and his friends. Unfortunately for gun rights activists and all of us non-gun-toting citizens, there are way too many mass shooters like Mercer. Not to mention that idiot who shot himself in the penis and tried to blame some imaginary black guy. Our nation’s lax gun laws make it way too easy for these people to own and purchase guns, and this needs to stop.

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