Compiling Cases Where Concealed Handgun Permit Holders Have Stopped Likely Mass Public Shootings

This is a revised, updated version of a post originally written on April 21, 2015. We have most seriously updated this list starting at the beginning of 2020.

UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh wrote in the Washington Post on April 20, 2015: “Have civilians with permitted concealed handguns stopped such mass shootings before?”  We provided Volokh with a list of such cases, which he used.

Below, we have collected news stories on more cases of permit holders stopping mass public shootings with their handguns (we separately collect cases where concealed handguns are used to stop other crimes). There is no reason to believe this list is comprehensive, given how little media coverage is devoted to these heroic acts. In addition, we do not attempt here to list the vast number of defensive gun uses in general that are reported daily in the US.

Permit holders stopped some mass public shootings that gained extensive news coverage, but only a few stories mentioned that a permit holder stopped the attack. The stories frequently get other facts wrong.

A note: Gun control advocates raise the concern that concealed handgun permit holders who stop an attack might accidentally shoot a bystander. They are also fearful that the police might accidentally kill the permit holder.  While such incidents are a possibility, they have yet to occur.  We probably do not have all the cases where a permit holder stopped a mass public shooting, but if a permit holder were to shoot a bystander, it seems clear that such an event would get news coverage.

[This post has been updated. Cases have only been systematically collected since 2015. Because of the lack of news stories accompanying these cases, we believe we have found a much greater percentage of the cases since 2015 than earlier. But even then, we believe we have a more complete list from 2020.]

Las Vegas, Nevada, Friday, June 23, 2023

On Friday, June 23rd, 2023, an employee at Turnberry Towers near Karen and Paradise shot a gunman who walked in and fired shots at the front desk. Fortunately, the employee had a concealed handgun permit and was able to quickly stop the attack before anyone else was hurt

. . . Channel 13 spoke with the resident to get their story. Law enforcement has not confirmed the following details.

According to the resident, a man wearing a helmet had an AR-15 and other weapons when he entered the towers Friday afternoon.

This is when the resident tells us the man fired shots in the area of the front desk, shattering glass which is shown in pictures they have provided to us.

The resident says it was an employee of the towers who stopped the attack, and thinks they are a hero who deserves recognition for stepping in. . . .KTNV Staff, “Man called ‘hero’ for stopping shooter at Turnberry Towers Friday,” KTNV Channel 13 ABC (Las Vegas), June 24, 2023.

It was a resident. Unprovoked, never had issues with anyone here,just went to his car, grabbed an AK and came back in and shot the front lobby up. Homberto, who works in receiving is a hero. He shot the armed man and saved so many lives. Nobody was injured other than the shooter.Brianna Dymond, a resident of the apartment building, June 24, 2023.

El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, February 15, 2023

A permit holder stopped a shooter who had shot four people and threatened others. Interestingly, many initial news reports had credited an off-duty police officer with stopping the attack (also here). The suspect apparently had a stolen gun.

Police in El Paso, Texas say that a “licensed-to-carry” bystander shot the alleged gunman who is accused of killing one person and injuring another three.

The suspect, a 16-year-old Hispanic male, is accused of shooting the individuals after a “confrontation ensued” between two groups at Cielo Vista Mall on Wednesday evening at 5:05 p.m.

The El Paso Police Department said the confrontation eventually escalated into a “physical fight,” and the 16-year-old pulled out a handgun, fatally shooting Angeles Zaragoza, 17, and injuring another 17-year-old and 15-year-old.

Police say that Emanuel Duran, 32, who is a licensed-to-carry holder, shot the suspect as he was pointing his gun toward the direction of more bystanders.

“As soon as the shooting ended, the 16-year-old suspect began to run and was pointing the gun towards the direction of bystanders, including 32-year-old Emanuel Duran, a Licensed to Carry Holder. As the suspect ran towards Duran and bystanders, Duran drew his handgun and shot the suspect,” Duran said. . . .Adam Sabes, “Texas ‘licensed-to-carry’ bystander shot El Paso mall shooter as he targeted more would-be victims: police,” Fox News, February 17, 2023.

Phoenix, Arizona, Saturday, February 11, 2023

Fortunately, there was a man at this restaurant who was able to quickly stop this attack: “We don’t know what Luna’s motive was, but were it not for the presence of the armed citizen his attack could easily have resulted in multiple injuries and fatalities.

. . . Detectives who took over the investigation reported that the man who was killed had entered the restaurant with a gun and fired a number of rounds inside the building.  

“The man detained and questioned by police was inside the restaurant during this incident and had shot the individual ending this confrontation,” Bower said.

The detained man declared it was self-defense and many witnesses supported his statement, police said. . . .Andrea Morabito, “Man claims self-defense in fatal shooting at Phoenix restaurant, police say,”:” Arizona Central, February 12, 2023.

Panama City, Florida, January 11, 2023

As the Gold Nugget nightclub in Panama City was closing, the suspect walked outside. After being locked out of the business and enraged over lost property, he got a firearm from his car and began firing into the club occupied by multiple patrons and staff. That’s when a patron who is a concealed weapon license holder intervened and fired multiple rounds, striking the suspect at least once. Officers said the patron’s actions were determined to be in self-defense and the self-defense of others.

According to a press release from the Panama City Police Department, officers responded at about 4:15 a.m. to a shooting at the nightclub located at 3901 West Highway 98 in Panama City. They found 36-year-old Angel Alamo-Contreras “suffering from at least one gunshot” wound. He was pronounced dead on scene…

“Through video evidence and witness statements, it was determined that Contreras left the bar as it was closing,” the release reads. “After being locked out of the business and enraged over lost property, he retrieved a firearm from his vehicle and fired several rounds into the front door of the establishment. At that time, the business was still occupied by multiple patrons and staff.”

Kippel was among those still in the Gold Nugget. The release states he “ran to the front door” and saw Contreras holding the firearm.

“Kippel fired several shots, striking Contreras at least once,” the release reads. “Kippel was found to be a concealed weapon license holder and video surveillance confirmed Kippel’s statement of the events.”…

Chief Smith stated in a press conference Wednesday morning that there will be no charges filed against the suspect. Officers said Kippel’s actions were determined to be in self-defense and the self-defense of others…Nathan Cobb, “No charges in fatal shooting outside Gold Nugget. Police say shooter reacted in self-defense,” Panama City News-Herald, January 11, 2023.
Katie Bente and Allison Baker, “One dead after shooting at gentlemen’s club,” WJHG, January 11, 2023.

Tucson, Arizona, December 18, 2022

The incident started when the suspect was kicked out of the bar because of his disruptive and threatening behavior. He returned shortly after with a rifle and fired a shot into the ceiling. The suspect was shot three times by an armed patron at the bar after he was repeatedly told to put the rifle down but refused. The owner of a local bar credited the armed citizen with protecting the lives of other customers and employees. Multiple media outlets initially reported the shooting as a “bar fight.”

A shooting at a bar on Tucson’s west side Sunday was initially reported by multiple media outlets as a “bar fight”, but Famous Sam’s owner Mark Rhude said it was a much different situation that could have been more serious.

Speaking exclusively with News 4 Tucson, Rhude said it was an active shooter situation stopped short by a heroic customer with a gun.

Rhude wasn’t at work at the time but based on his staff’s account of what happened he said a man at the bar began hurling racial slurs and talking about violence…

Staff was able to get the man to leave but about an hour or so later, just after 6 p.m. on Sunday, the man returned with a rifle and fired a shot into the ceiling…

But then two customers stepped in to try and convince him to drop the weapon. One of those customers was armed with a gun of their own.

“He [the customer] then said drop your gun to the bad guy three times and bad guy wouldn’t and he leveled it right at the guy and our customer here, he shot him, apparently three times,” Rhude said…

Rhude doesn’t encourage people to bring guns into his business but said he’s thankful the customer was there.

“He was a hero and I appreciate what he did because he saved you know other customers and our employees, so yeah unfortunate situation but he did good,” Rhude explained.Chorus Nylander, “Tucson bar owner says shooting was self-defense against armed man,” KVOA, December 19, 2022.

Chandler, Arizona, December 14, 2022

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