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In Response To Mass Shootings, Tulare County Sheriff Says CCW Holders Could Help

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdreaux tweeted on August 6 that carriers of concealed weapons can help reduce threats in their communities. The tweet sparked conversations about the training for CCW licenses and their use.

A Central Valley Sheriff is encouraging carriers of concealed weapons to use their guns in the event of an active shooter or other threat. It started when Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreax decided he was tired of hearing about active shooters taking innocent lives.

“They’re going into situations where the playing field is not an even game by any means, and that we have people that are having to run for their lives based on someone coming in, overpowering them with a gun,” says Boudreaux.

Carrier of Concealed Weapons, or CCW license holders, can protect communities against such threats, he says. He even tweeted his comments last week to mixed reactions. One tweet asked, what happens if a “good guy with a gun” is misidentified by law enforcement? 

“For those who take the CCW class, they know and are taught how to respond when law enforcement gets there,” says Boudreaux. “They’re to immediately lay the gun down.”

Some experts say it’s unlikely a CCW holder would be in a position to engage a mass shooter. Reviews of U.S. mass attacks in 2017 and 2018 by the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center found that 7 percent ended due to bystander intervention. That's two interventions out of 28 attacks in 2017 and two out of 27 attacks in 2018. However, the reports didn’t say if the bystander was armed. 

One Stanford study found that more guns do not mean less crime. Overall, the study determined that crime increased by as much as 15 percent in states that passed “right-to-carry” laws.

For those who do apply for a CCW license, California mandates they get at least eight hours of training. Visalia resident Jim Reeves says that’s not enough. 

“To cut my hair somebody needs 3,400 hours of training and experience, but to carry a gun around and supposedly defend me in an emergency situation requires eight hours of training?” Reeves asks. “That doesn't comfort me at all.”

Boudreaux says more training is a good idea but says he won’t up the number of hours in his county unless the state requires it. Boudreaux says Tulare County is home to around ten thousand CCW licenses.

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.