so if that is the case, and they are so helpful, why would you support hypothetical legislation banning it?
We ought to be able to agree that not every useful thing is useful in every context. A uranium solid fuel rod is great in the context of a nuclear reactor but unwelcome at an orgy. Tigers are important apex predators but should be kept out of nurseries.
Guns have utility as well, self defense, helping us hunt, shooting is a sport, and they help ensure the government doesn’t rob us of our rights. Now you said to just ban them around schools, festivals, etc, but I’d argue that is where they are currently needed.
Let's agree that guns have some utility. I assume that I am rather more skeptical of a gun's absolute value in the purposes of self-defense and rebellion than the average gun lover. I don't think I mind guns at schools so long as underage children don't have access and the armed personnel are vetted, trained, and licensed to a rational degree. Likewise, I'm OK with armed police and security at a festival but I think the public at that festival deserves some assurance that no armed people will be drinking or dancing or getting into fist fights so let's ask the festival-goers to leave their guns at home.
The vast majority of mass shootings happen in gun free zones. Lots of people die when gun aren’t present.
You are citing JR Lott's research which does not claim that the majority of mass shootings happen in gun free zones but rather the majority of mass public shootings happen in gun free zones. Lott defines mass public shootings as four or more deaths in malls, schools, churches, health care facilities, government buildings, and military sites. In other words, Lott's report ONLY amounts to the unsurprising finding that the majority of shootings in gun free zones happen in gun free zones. We should note that Lott excludes drug shootings, gang shootings, domestic and residential violence to conclude that there were only 28 mass public shootings between 2009 and 2016 or an average of 3 per year which seems like a pretty obvious low ball. We should also note that Lott's list of gun-free zones included many sites where armed defenders were present and actively engaged- Ft. Hood, Washington Navy Yard, Pulse Night Club.
Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz dismisses Lott's research: "This is junk science at its worst. Paid for and financed by the National Rifle Association." Given Lott's controversial history and the fact that he has left behind any study of Economics in favor of blogging and Fox News appearances, I tend to dismiss Lott's research as well.
However, a recent church shooting was cut very short by parishioners with guns, saving many lives.
Anecdotal, although I do not dismiss the example as irrelevant. Should we not also consider the considerable anecdotal evidence that the presence of guns does not always save lives? Four Broward County deputies were fired for failing to advance while students died at Parkland. Armed Mandalay security guards engaged Stephen Paddock in the first minutes but failed to prevent the worst mass shooting event in US history. An armed Las Vegas police officer was later fired for cowering in the stairwell while Paddock continued to kill and injure.
I don't deny the utility of guns although I suspect the utility of guns as tools for self-defense is both overrated and less effective than common sense measures excluding the violent, the addicted, and/or mentally ill from gun ownership. I don't generally mind the notion of an experienced gun instructor sitting in back of the church for protection although I may regret any sense of necessity. I do mind the notion of a church filled with armed parishioners who each feel empowered to assess and execute a defense of the congregation- mostly because in my experience, individuals attracted to such authority exhibit a poorer capacity for a correct assessment and righteous defense than individuals who decline that authority. That is again anecdotal but important to informing my opinion regarding practical gun usage and control in my country.