In the wake of the tragic, horrific slaughter of innocent school children in Connecticut, there has been a renewed cry for more gun control laws. This stems from the natural need to “do something” when a tragedy of this proportion occurs. I agree we need to do something, but the “something” I want is a bit different.
The “Gun Free Schools Act of 1994” made it a federal crime to possess a firearm on any school property. Many states enacted similar legislation at the state level, as the federal act required them to do so or lose certain federal funding. Thus, it has been a crime to go onto school property anywhere in the US while in possession of a gun for the past 18 years. Has that helped?
Well, I did some research and I cannot find a single mass school shooting in the US prior to 1994, when this bill was passed. For the purposes of this discussion, I will define a “mass school shooting” as one in which three or more people were killed. I have found 14 such incidents in the United States between 1997 and the Newtown, CT, incident of yesterday. That is an average of one incident every two years.
ALL OF THESE OCCURRED AFTER THE ENACTMENT OF THE GUN FREE SCHOOLS ACT OF 1994! Let me emphasize that—every mass school shooting in the US occurred AFTER it became illegal to possess a gun on school grounds.
The answer should be obvious. By making schools a “gun free zone”, you automatically disarm all law abiding citizens at those locations. This is tantamount to placing a sign on the front of the building inviting criminals and mentally deranged persons to come shoot up the place. “Come on in. We’re all unarmed, by law. We won’t interfere with your mayhem.”
I, for instance, have a state issued handgun carry permit. I am certified by the NRA as a Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor and I have been certified by the FBI as a police firearms instructor. I am certified by two states to train and certify new firearms instructors for those states. I have held a law enforcement officer commission. I travel all over the US teaching defensive firearms use. Yet, by law, I would commit a felony by stepping onto school grounds while wearing my sidearm. Despite this, someone who, for whatever reason, wants to shoot up a school can walk right in. If he is willing to murder six year olds in cold blood, he certainly won’t be deterred by a law against bringing a gun onto the campus. Duh….. To think otherwise is so naïve as to be a form of mental illness.
I think it is truly ironic that in the first mass school shooting I could find, occurring in 1997, the mayhem was stopped when the Assistant Principal got a handgun from his car and confronted the gunman, who surrendered to him. Thank God the Assistant Principal had an ILLEGAL gun that day.
A couple of weeks ago, there was an attempted mass shooting at a mall in Oregon. The demented shooter had a high capacity semiautomatic rifle, but he only managed to kill two people and wound one other before killing himself. Why was the body count so low, given that this was obviously a copy-cat version of the Aurora, CO, shootings? The answer is simple. Because Nick Meli, age 22, was at the mall there with his wife and child. Nick has a concealed carry permit and was wearing a handgun concealed on his person. When the suspect began shooting, Nick drew his gun and verbally challenged the gunman. Meli held his fire because of innocent people in the background (excellent judgment under stress), but his actions caused the gunman to break off the attack, run into a nearby service corridor and kill himself, ending the spree. Of course, the lamestream media will not tell you about Nick. They would prefer a higher body count rather than tell you a legally armed citizen saved the day.
Here are a few other instances that two minutes of internet research brought to light. In each case, a legally armed private citizen saved lives by being there and by being armed.
- In Pearl, Mississippi in 1997, 16-year-old Luke Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned to death his mother at home, then killed two students and injured seven at his high school. As he was on his way to another school building , he was stopped by Assistant Principal Joel Myrick, who had gone out to get a handgun from his car. Having that gun was illegal, but it saved lives.
- In Edinboro, Pennsylvania in 1996, 14-year-old Andrew Wurst shot and killed a teacher at a school dance, and shot and injured several other students. He had just left the dance hall, carrying his gun when he was confronted by the dance hall owner James Strand, who lived next door and kept a shotgun at home.
- In Winnemucca, Nevada in 2008, Ernesto Villagomez killed two people and wounded two others in a bar filled with three hundred people. He was then shot and killed by a patron who was carrying a gun (and had a concealed carry license).
- In Colorado Springs in 2007, Matthew Murray killed four people at a church. He was then shot several times by Jeanne Assam, a church member, volunteer security guard, and former police officer (she had been dismissed by a police department 10 years before, and to my knowledge hadn’t worked as a police officer since).
So, I do want some legislative action. I want “gun free zones” abolished, at least for legally armed citizens with government issued licenses to carry. This is real “common sense” gun legislation.