Let's say you are a terrorist, or just a head case, or even a robber; you are heavily armed. You have a couple of machine pistols. You see a two people; one of them is a big galoot who thinks he is the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger pulls out his little chrome pistol with the ivory handle, just like the one George Patton carried.
The question is, which one do you cut in half first?
Spotty, I'd shoot the Lone Ranger first.
You have chosen well, grasshopper. The Lone Ranger dies in a hail of bullets and his pretty pistol clatters to the pavement. He never was much of a shot, but he's no match for somebody with machine pistols, anyway.
But in the wake of the carnage in Mumbai, right blogistan is aflame with the idea that armed citizens would have stopped the terrorists cold.
These are the people for whom James Bond movies are made.
In situations like this, even conventionally-armed cops can't stand up to the bad guys (scroll down for the story about Mike Blood). So, unless we're prepared to let the Lone Ranger and his pals carry Uzis around - and Spot for one is not - the deterrent is really small.
In fact, the Lone Ranger is more likely to shoot himself than anything else.