The NRA pushes the myth that Stephen Willeford, a good man with a gun, somehow stopped a deadly rampage in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Except he didn’t. Willeford confronted the attacker after he had fatally shot worshippers at the First Baptist Church. Was the killer prevented from continuing his rampage elsewhere? Perhaps. But 26 churchgoers dead was hardly a victory.

The theory also operates on the assumption that the good man can shoot straight and keep his cool when confronted with a totally chaotic scene of carnage. Even well-trained members of the military sometimes hit innocents. And note the instances in which even armed professional guards were afraid to rush in on a maniac.

In the Las Vegas massacre, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, the targets at a country music concert could not have fought back, even if they had been armed to the teeth. The gunman was holed up on the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel with 23 guns, including 12 assault weapons, by his side. It took a SWAT team to break into the room, and by then, 58 were fatally shot.