Just days ago, another senseless mass shooting occurred in Virginia Beach. Sadly, and almost immediately, anti-gun groups across the country jumped on this as an opportunity to score political points and justify further restricting our Second Amendment rights. But would making it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves have done anything to prevent this tragedy?
The Virginia Beach shooting occurred in the local government’s operations building. This building was a gun-free zone, a fact known by employees … including the shooter. This meant that employees and visitors who are responsible gun owners were unlikely to be prepared to defend themselves if need be. Unfortunately, that’s what happened.
Gun-Free Zones Do Not Improve Safety
It’s time we discussed the effectiveness of so-called “gun-free zones.” The Crime Prevention Research Center discovered that 97.8 percent of all mass shootings since 1950 took place in gun-free zones. If you think about it, this statistic makes perfect sense. Only law-abiding citizens respect the idea of a gun-free zone. Responsible gun owners decide to either avoid the area or leave their legally purchased, licensed weapons at home. This not only restricts our natural-born right to defend ourselves but also makes everyone else less safe.
Seconds matter in active-shooter situations. Sometimes, the first line of defense is a responsibly armed good guy, and gun-free zones remove that layer of defense.
Back in December, I wrote an Op-Ed about the failure of gun-free zones. Since then, the need for this discussion has only become more important. The USCCA has also been supportive of concealed carry holders in Virginia for years now, speaking out for their natural-born right to defend themselves.
Check out this 2016 piece I wrote for the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
“Study after study has shown that concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding citizens in our society. They have filed the proper paperwork, completed the required coursework and sought out the training necessary for effective self-defense. Criminals don’t do any of that.”
More and more people are realizing that gun-free zones are unable to provide the safety that they promise. When someone decides to commit a crime, he or she is also choosing to ignore the law. Gun-free zones only make that easier. As Kevin Michalowski, executive editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, said recently in an interview with Richmond’s Morning News: “Quite honestly, if someone ignores the idea that murder is illegal, certainly a law against carrying a concealed weapon into a gun-free zone is not going to stop them.”
Around the Country
The Bismarck Tribune: Rules Outlining ND’s Armed First Responder Program Being Drafted
For the small town of Edmore, the nearest emergency responders are about 40 miles away. This is a concern for Superintendent Frank Schill, whose district has about 50 students and no resource officer. As school shootings continue to make headlines, the district is evaluating options to increase school safety and join the state’s yet-to-be-established armed first responder program.
National Review: A Win for Gun Rights in Pennsylvania
For the past two years, federal courts have endorsed a legal regime allowing the violation of our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure under the pretext of lawful exercise of gun rights. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, last week, delivered a message the Supreme Court desperately needed to hear: The lawful exercise of your Second Amendment rights does not make you a second-class citizen.
Quote of the Week
After a woman in Ohio successfully defended herself and her children from an ex-boyfriend who tried to break into her house, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said, “Thank goodness she had a concealed carry permit and was able to defend herself and her five children. It is hard to imagine what might have happened to her or her children if she had not been able to protect herself and her family.” (WCPO-TV ABC-Cincinnati, OH)