GUN-FREE ZONES DO NOT MAKE US MORE SAFE
Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado, 1999; Trolley Square Mall, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2007; Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 2007; Westroads Mall, Omaha, Nebraska, 2007; New Life Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2007; Pearl High School, Pearl, Mississippi, 1997. All of these, except Colorado Springs were in areas designated as gun-free zones, places where state, federal, and/or private property laws and regulations forbid people from carrying a firearm, except law enforcement or security personnel. The only difference between the first four incidents and the last two is the gunman was confronted by someone else with a gun before law enforcement could arrive. Do you feel more safe walking into a mall or school realizing the only people who may be carrying guns are criminals that do not care about the restrictions and aim to kill as many people as possible before either killing themselves or being killed? Instead of creating more zones without guns, laws should be enforced and/or modified to ensure the people carrying guns know how to use them and have met the mandatory requirements including training on how to handle a gun. American society has been lulled into believing gun-free zones make us safer, but they do not, because they restrict our ability to defend ourselves and provides criminals areas where they can destroy as many lives as possible before law enforcement arrives.
History in the latter part of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century in America saw a marked increase in the number of mass shootings. This increase coincided with the passing of more gun control laws that continued to whittle away at our right to defend ourselves. Gun control proponents have a simplistic view of human behavior when they believe if they make enough rules and post signs banning guns, they will not see gun violence in public places. Unfortunately, reality does not agree with them. While no way inclusive, the above tragedies show the horror of creating areas where large numbers of people gather and law-abiding citizens are not allowed to carry guns. The people who perpetrated these crimes could be considered mentally unstable, but they were not too unstable as to attack police stations or locations where they knew guns would be present (LaRosa, 2007). If they were sane or smart enough not to attack police stations, they should not be considered too insane to stand trial for their actions. They knew where they could inflict the most damage before being confronted by someone else carrying a gun. Dr. Stephens (2005), Director, National School Safety Center, told a Congressional subcommittee that even though there was a drop in the number of gun-related incidents and deaths at or near schools after the enactment of laws to keep guns off school campuses, the carnage was worse than ever. Metal detectors and other things put into place after the gun-free zones were created on campuses around the nation may have kept more guns out and reduced the number of problems. But, when someone did get a gun into a campus setting, the number of fatalities went up. Guns have been banned not only from schools, but also restaurants, malls and other public and private property. Some bans were enacted by federal, state or local laws, while others are by private property owners. In October 1991, Texas laws banned guns inside restaurants. However, at Lubys Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, a gunman ignored those laws, walked in and started firing. He killed twenty-three people, including the parents of Suzanna Gratia Hupp. Hupp had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but had obeyed the law and left her gun in her vehicle. On several occasions during the mêlée, she had a clear shot of the gunman, and could have ended the killing spree, but as a law-abiding citizen, she was helpless. Later, she stated, “I was mad as hell at my legislators because they had legislated me...
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