Reflecting on the Meaning of Shots Fired!

Seeing the following graphic from the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) blog made me think about the meaning of the phrase “shots fired!” Usually that phrase is associated with law enforcement officers involved in criminal situations, and appropriately so. No one wants to hear those words screamed out.

But in surveying the world of guns, the number of “shots fired” with no harmful intent or effect dwarf the number of shots fired about which people should be rightfully concerned. As the graphic below shows, nearly 74,000 shots were fired at the 2012 IDPA National Championships. At the MAG-40 training course I took, 21 of us shot nearly 500 rounds each, for a total of some 20,000 shots fired with no injuries or damage except to the cardboard targets.

I don’t know how exactly to think about these nearly 100,000 shots fired, and the millions of other shots fired by target shooters, hunters, and other sportsmen every month, alongside the dozens of shots fired by a psychopath in Connecticut. How do we allow the former and prevent the latter? Are the two even related at all?

IDPA Shots Fired

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