Confidence in Law Enforcement to Prevent Mass Shootings Plummets

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

A new poll from Convention of States Action and the Trafalgar Group shows Americans no longer trust local and federal law enforcement to stop mass shootings. This outcome should be no surprise after a long string of mass shootings where law enforcement knew the perpetrator before the tragedy.


The tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, is the latest example. However, school officials and law enforcement were aware of the risks posed by the shooter in Parkland, Fla., and the other mass shooting tragedies since then. It seems the left’s preoccupation with social justice rather than criminal justice prevents law enforcement at all levels from taking proactive action to prevent violence. The social justice push ended stop and frisk in New York City and ensured red flag laws in Illinois and New York were useless.

These examples may explain why a majority of voters report they are not confident local authorities can prevent a mass shooting before it happens. Sixty-two percent of voters say they are not sure their local law enforcement or federal agents could identify and stop a violent person before they started a mass shooting. More than a quarter (26.9%) report they are not confident at all. Only 9.8% indicated they are very confident in their local authorities’ ability to prevent a mass shooting.

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Uvalde officers not immediately and aggressively confronting the gunman in the elementary school was reminiscent of law enforcement failures in the Parkland shooting. “Americans watched in horror as an active shooter was permitted to rampage through a school while the police stood outside and did absolutely nothing. Over and over again, citizens are given the clear message that—when it comes to protecting loved ones—you’re on your own,”  said Mark Meckler, President of Convention of States Action.


Americans are painfully aware of the tragic results in these situations and believe in the “good guy with a gun” more than the gun grabbers would like. According to the poll, a plurality believes their fellow citizen with a firearm is the best protection for them and their family in a mass shooting situation. Almost 42% of voters believe that an armed citizen would be their best protection if they were caught in a mass shooting event. Local police retained the confidence of 25.1%, and 10.3% had the most faith in federal agents. Almost one-quarter said none of the above.

Results indicating how many respondents feel they will best protect themselves and their families would be an interesting supplement. Democrats appear the most fatalistic, with a plurality of 33.9% saying they do not trust anyone to protect them and their family in a mass shooting event. But, they are still the party pushing for strict gun control. Meanwhile, 70.4% of Republicans trust armed citizens the most, while only 16.8% and 1.6% trust local or federal law enforcement.

Yet, somehow, our leaders in Congress think more gun laws are the answer. The recent bi-partisan gun law does little to prevent these tragedies, especially in an environment where citizens are losing trust in law enforcement. “At the same time, we’re told guns are the problem, and we should give up our right to self-defense,” Meckler noted. “Voters are not stupid. They understand that responsible citizens offer the best means of protecting our schools, homes, and communities in this country. Pursuing such policies is not only bad politics, it puts all of us at risk.”


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As if to prove the point made by a plurality of voters, an armed citizen stopped a mass shooter in a mall food court in Indiana yesterday. According to law enforcement, the gunman shot three people fatally and injured two Sunday evening before a good guy with a gun shot and killed him. The shooter entered the mall with a rifle and several magazines. Greenwood Police Dept. Chief Jim Ison said, “The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop the shooter almost as soon as he began.” The poll ended before reports of this shooting appeared in the news cycle.

A legally armed citizen recently thwarted another mass shooting in West Virginia. A woman used her pistol to shoot a man who had returned to a graduation party with a rifle. He had been in a verbal altercation with the partygoers earlier in the day. “This lady was carrying a lawful firearm,” Lt. Tony Hazelett of the Charleston Police Department said. “A law-abiding citizen who stopped the threat of probably 20 or 30 people getting killed. She engaged the threat and stopped it. She didn’t run from the threat. She engaged it preventing a mass casualty event here in Charleston.”


Examples like these may be why states like Texas, Georgia, and others are passing open and constitutional carry laws. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed constitutional carry in March of this year. As of July 1, no legal gun owner in Indiana is required to have a carry permit after passing the required background check. That law may have made all the difference for the Hoosiers in the mall on Sunday.


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