Every situation is different, of course, and in some cases you might be able to help and in others it may be too late. But armed citizens have successfully intervened in such scenarios and stopped deranged shooters - often too late for some of the victims, but who knows how many more would have died if not for their brave actions? One example of this happened right here in Mississippi in 1997, when Coach Joel Myrick went to his truck to get his .45 after Pearl High School student Luke Woodham started a rampage with a 30-30 lever action carbine. After shooting of his fellow several students, Woodham was attempting to reach his car so he could go to the Jr. High School and shoot more. The armed coach confronted him, and like most active shooters, Woodham put up no resistance and surrendered before Myrick had to fire a shot.
Something to think about if you ever find yourself in this situation is how the first responding police officers to arrive on the scene will perceive you, the armed citizen. These officers are going to be pumped full of adrenalin and on the ready. If they see you with a gun, it may not end well for you if you don't take the appropriate action and do exactly as they say. So how do you avoid getting shot by the police? For one thing, don't brandish your weapon and especially don't point it towards the officers. Firearms instructor Gabe Suarez teaches an active shooter interdiction class and has posted several photos on Warrior Talk News explaining how to present yourself to officers if you ever find yourself in such a tense and dangerous situation.
Suarez has written much about this type of scenario, as he feels that there is a very good likelihood that a CCW permit holder could end up in such a situation given the ever-changing threats that are out there. Taking it a step farther, he also writes about responding to a terror attack, such as the one in Mumbai where armed gunmen were able to massacre so many people before they were challenged simply because of the unarmed populace of that crowded city. Because of such threats, a series of "sneaky bags" have been developed to conceal the weapon of choice for Suarez and most of his instructors at Suarez International - the AK-47 with a folding stock. Because a folding AK is only 26-30 inches long depending on the barrel and muzzle configuration, it is a very easy weapon to conceal while providing the potential for tremendous firepower with standard 30-round mags. Suarez is now marketing a purpose-made concealment bag for this that he calls a Jihad Interdiction Bag.
The AK shown in the bag is a SBR (short-barreled rifle) that you can't own without a special NFA permit. But any number of folding stock AK's will fit, like this Yugo M70AB2 underfolder:
Such weapons also have their use in certain types of bug-out situations, particularly in an urban environment where the biggest threat may be armed rioters or looters and you may need more firepower than a handgun just to safely make your exit. New Orleans after Katrina comes to mind, of course. Although I've written before about my preference for .22 rimfire rifles for a wilderness survival/foraging situation, there are times when you need a more serious weapon. I like the 7.62 x 39 AK as it can do double-duty for close range hunting as the ballistics compare to the venerable 30-30, making it a good for anything up to deer-sized game. I would pick such an AK over an AR-15 (good way to start an argument, I know!) for a bug-out rifle because of the caliber, compact folding configuration, and unquestionable reliability in any environment. I plan to post some more here soon on my personal favorite AK at the time - the Russian-manufactured Saiga Sporter rifle converted back to the standard AK-47 configuration.