I took a poll a few weeks ago to which several hundred people replied. In the survey I inquired as to how many of my friends own firearms, the reason for owning them, and how much they spend annually on ammo, new weapons and accessories. The majority of my friends are former/current military, outdoor enthusiasts and law enforcement. Of the hundreds of replies received stating firearm ownership, the average annual expenditure was around $5,000. (Fearing cataclysmic backlash, several on the list omitted exact numbers suspecting their significant others would be able to see their answer.) The most common answer as to why they owned and frequently shot firearms was, “to be prepared in the event of an emergency.”

A series of follow up questions led to the justification being similar for most, in the event of a mass shooting or robbery people want to have the ability to protect themselves and preserve the lives of the innocent people around them. This is a noble and altruistic mentality, no doubt, but what is the likelihood that all of that preparation will actually help to save a life? Can those resources be more logically applied to produce a more favorable result?

In 2012 there were eight mass shootings in the US, resulting in 43 deaths (the deadliest year up until that point). To put that in perspective, that same year, there were 92 deaths by auto accident… per day! (30,800 total.) From 2006 to 2010 close to 48,000 people were killed by firearms in the United states. In 2010, five and a half million new firearms were manufactured in the United States.

So in 2012, provided that at each mass shooting event, there was a person like one of my friends, a person who is well versed and trained in the use of a firearm and carrying at the time of the incident, and were able to shoot the assailant prior to them taking anyone else’s life, then 35 people’s lives would have been saved. (This takes into account that the 8 assailants were wounded fatally by the person intervening)