What the NRA’s ‘Professor of Killology’ Thinks About The San Bernardino Shooting

A young man sizes-up an assault style rifle during the National Rifle Association’s annual convention Friday, May 3, 2013. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/STEVE UECKERT
A young man sizes-up an assault style rifle during the National Rifle Association’s annual convention Friday, May 3, 2013. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/STEVE UECKERT

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a retired West Point professor who gives training each year to National Rifle Association members on his study of killing, believes that the United States will continue to see violent mass shootings if we try to restrict guns. He says there’s only one thing that can prevent more deaths.

“Armed people everywhere,” he said. “Everyone should be able to carry a gun legally anywhere in America.”

The NRA has responded to past gun massacres by perpetuating wild conspiracy theories that the federal government is planning to take away guns and enact martial law, that people need to be prepared for armed revolution, and that the only way to stop a violent killer is to have more “good guys” with guns. Grossman helps stoke the pro-gun community’s fears with “killology” seminars, which he has given to the NRA’s convention for the past two years.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman CREDIT: Screenshot
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman CREDIT: Screenshot

During his seminars, Grossman tells gun owners to fear for themselves and their families because we are raising a generation of mass killers. “Our founding fathers knew there would be days like this,” he told NRA members during the group’s convention this April. “And they created the Second Amendment for just a time like this.”


ThinkProgress spoke with Grossman, who also trains law enforcement and military on how to kill, about the recent shooting in San Bernardino and what he thinks the country can do to prevent gun violence.

“Open warfare with criminal gangs.”

One of Grossman’s main arguments is that that our children are becoming more and more violent because of violence in video games and in the media, creating what he calls a “generation of mass killers.”

“We know that the sick movies and the sick video games create sick, sick kids,” he said. “What we have is a whole civilization that is more predisposed to violence.”

Not only does the country need to worry about children who are being raised to be killers, but now we’re also seeing a “new model” of violence, Grossman said.


He defines three types of mass shooters. The first, the “lone wacko, will give us crimes we’ve never dreamed of, like Sandy Hook.” He said there’s no way to stop these mentally unstable, lone killers, and he predicts we will soon see “day care massacres and school bus massacres.” Those killers could just as easily use knives or other weapons to commit their killings, as we saw in Belgium, he said.

“Then we have another factor which is gang crime,” he said. “Gang crime and gang membership is exploding. Mexico is our future. Open warfare with criminal gangs.”

The third factor, he said, is what we saw in San Bernardino or at the Boston Marathon — Islamic terrorists, who he calls “the lone jackal.” These terrorists cannot be stopped with gun laws, he said.

“If you have Muslims in the workplace, you have due cause to fear them.”

Of the three types of shooters he identified, Grossman said he most fears the “lone jackal,” which we saw in San Bernardino. Because the shooters were Muslim, he is ready to draw conclusions about all Muslims in the United States.

“The message is: if you have Muslims in the workplace, you have due cause to fear them. Offend their religion, offend them, and they and their family will come and kill you.”

That’s what we saw in both Boston and San Bernardino — a family of terrorists, he said.

“We have every cause to have deep and profound concern about any Muslims in the workplace with us,” he continued. “We’ve had workplace killers, but their family had never participated. They’ve always been the lone wacko that walks in and goes postal…Now we have this model of a whole family participating. And that changes it.”


“We have a subgroup of our population which is being actively encouraged to participate in terrorist acts,” he continued.

“There’s one good answer, and that’s armed, trained people everywhere.”

Grossman pointed out that California, where 14 people were killed this week, is one of just eight states in the country that do not allow the concealed carry of firearms. If employees at the location of the shooting had been armed, we wouldn’t be seeing the same death numbers, he said.

His goal is to make sure as many people across the country are armed as possible.

“There are universities across America that have armed students,” he said. “There’s federal workplaces now that are armed. Our military bases now are increasingly arming our troops.”

“There’s one good answer, and that’s armed, trained people everywhere,” he continued. “The state of Ohio has several thousand armed educators now. I don’t think there’s a school left in Utah that doesn’t have armed educators. Texas calls it their school marshals. It’s a done deal in state after state across America.”

When asked about the concern that the guns in schools could get into the wrong hands, Grossman said: “Tell me that kid can’t get a gun at home. Or from a neighbor. Or my burglarizing a house. Or anywhere else. You can’t stop that kid.”

“The overwhelming support for the right to keep and bear arms in America is just undeniable.”

Grossman does not take polls seriously that show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support universal background checks for all gun buyers, including most NRA members.

“You know that polling was pretty biased,” he said, explaining that background checks are already required for many gun sales and that he wants to be able to gift a gun to his son or neighbor without subjecting them to a background check.

“There are background checks in place and that poll was completely deceptive,” he said. “The gun show loophole? We haven’t seen any evidence of guns being bought in gun shows to commit these crimes.”

“When you look at the polls, the overwhelming support for the right to keep and bear arms in America is just undeniable,” he continued. “The politicians do what the public demands of them.”

Grossman says that when you look at gun laws across the country, it’s clear how the public really feels about guns.

“You can make the polls twisted to say what you want to, but look at reality. Forty-two states have shall issue concealed carry.”

“The NRA doesn’t have any money.”

The NRA has poured millions of dollars into recent elections to ensure that politicians reject gun reform, but Grossman said “it’s not the NRA” that’s influencing politics.

“It’s the vast majority of voters that they represent,” he said. “People think the NRA is like this cabal of individuals influencing politics. They’re not. They represent a huge voting group of Americans who are fiercely invested in a set of rights.”

“Don’t ask how much influence the NRA has,” he continued. “Ask how much influence do pro-gun voters have, and the answer is enormous.”

Grossman also claims that all of the NRA’s money comes directly from voters, so the NRA itself is not influencing politicians. “This is not Bloomberg who’s using his own money. The NRA doesn’t have any money. All they have is the money of American voters.”

The politicians are on the completely wrong side of the facts when they call for gun control, he said, and only the NRA understands that more guns will keep the country safe.

“Armed citizens will always be in control of their nation. Unarmed citizens are not citizens, they’re subjects.”