Active shooter expert reacts to Orlando shooting


Sage Dynamics trained several people who have conceal carry licenses from various states, including Florida, last December.

Could armed "good guys" have made a difference in the outcome in Orlando's mass shooting? Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics believes the answer is yes. 

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“It would be really hard for me to lay out a procedural on something like that but in the event that one of my students or myself or anyone who is knowledgeable or has realistic expectations of their own performance had been present, I think their likelihood of success would have been based on their ability to find a position of advantage and engage the shooter from there. It is really hard to armchair that because obviously I was not there. I do not know the specifics. But I can say it is highly unlikely there that had there been an armed individual who chose to get involved that the outcome would be the same that we're looking at right now," Cowan said. 

Sage Dynamics is a firearms and techniques training company. Cowan served in the U.S. Army, in the National Guard and then in federal law enforcement with the Department of Defense. As an instructor with Sage Dynamics, he offers training for individual citizens, law enforcement, military and private security.

“My first reaction, honestly, when I first heard about it when I woke up and I looked at my phone and I saw the news coming in ... But my first reaction was government was at least complicit, by establishing gun-free zones," Cowan said.  “I looked at it like this, when I say government I mean federal government, and then we ... (have) state and local governments create as well these arbitrary gun-free zones in a possibly good-natured but very misguided attempt for exactly what just happened. So, if the government agency says that you cannot take guns to be certain establishments or the certain buildings, they have disarmed the public. But what are they doing to provide protection since the public is not allowed to protect themselves?”

News4Jax asked Cowan if he believes the shooter could have been stopped by an armed citizen’s response.

”Yes, absolutely I do not think there is any way that someone could seriously say that had the active shooter been there -- the terrorist is what I'm going to call him -- had a CCW, someone who carries a concealed weapon engaged, that we would be looking at the same outcome. If you look historically, in situations where armed individuals have been present when shooters come to kill people and engage them the death pool has been considerably lower. So again, I can't predict how things could have gone, I don't have a crystal ball, but I think if you want to get into statistics on the situations that have occurred, when there has been an armed individual who's engage the shooter that the outcome has been drastically  better than what we're looking at today in Orlando," Cowan said.

Cowan said he agrees not everyone should carry a gun.

RELATED: Deputies teach residents how to react in active shooter situation

Earlier this year, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office also began offering training for unarmed persons concerned about active shootings. The Sheriff's Office has held two training session so far, with emphasis on Homeland Security's mantra: Run, hide, fight. 

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