It was a bad weekend for the NRA’s ‘good guy with a gun’ myth

This is America.

An off-duty FBI agent accidentally discharges his weapon after doing a backflip at a bar in Denver, Colorado. Video still from KMGH.
An off-duty FBI agent accidentally discharges his weapon after doing a backflip at a bar in Denver, Colorado. Video still from KMGH.

While the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun advocates often claim that the answer to America’s alarming rate of gun violence is the presence of a so-called “good guy with a gun,” a pair of incidents over the weekend further debunked that claim.

On Sunday night, a man drove onto a football field in Dallas, Texas and opened fire. Several spectators started shooting back, which resulted in gunshot wounds to five people, including a pregnant woman who was struck in the chest. She remains in critical condition, but doctors say her child is expected to survive.

Not many additional details are known, but local law enforcement described the scene to CBS Dallas/Fort Worth:

Police said that the first officers who arrived at the scene acted like paramedics, using tourniquets on the arms and legs of victims to stop their bleeding. These quick actions could have saved lives in this incident.

A day earlier, video surfaced of an FBI agent mishandling his gun and accidentally shooting a man at a bar in Denver, Colorado. The off-duty agent attempted to do a backflip at Mile High Spirits while a handgun was in the waistband of his pants on Saturday morning. After the gun fell onto the floor, the agent picked it up and accidentally discharged his weapon, striking a bar patron in the leg. The victim was rushed to the hospital and is in good condition, according to KMGH.

KMGH described the scene on the video after after the weapon is discharged:

Some people in the crowd scatter for safety as others look in disbelief. The man then appears to put the gun in the back of his pants and is seen holding his hands up before walking away from the shot.

David Laferriere, who helped tend to the victim, confirmed that the agent walked away after the shooting:

“As far as I’m concerned, (the agent) made no effort, whatsoever, to take care of the victim, even though he was probably the best trained of anyone there to take care of the victim.”

Another individual who was present offered this sharp criticism of the FBI agent’s actions:

“It’s a joke that the agent was even in that environment. I don’t want to jump to the conclusion that he’s not qualified, but he clearly isn’t the caliber of person to have that responsibility, given his actions in that moment.”

The off-duty agent was reportedly taken to Denver Police Headquarters, but later released to an FBI supervisor. The FBI hasn’t commented on the incident.


In November, police in Colorado said identifying and pursuing a shooting suspect was made more difficult by the number of civilians who pulled out guns after the incident. Though President Donald Trump has repeated the “good guy with a gun” myth, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that concealed carry laws actually increase violent crime in states where they are enacted. FBI research from 2014 also found that active shooter incidents were more likely to be stopped by unarmed citizens.

According to Everytown, an average of 96 Americans are killed by guns each day.