Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tragedy in Binghamton

Without a doubt, one of the reactions to the spree killings in Upstate New York will be the advocacy for stricter gun laws.

As always, John Lott, brings clarity to the situation


You would think that it would be an important part of the news stories for a simple reason: Gun-free zones are a magnet for these attacks. Extensive discussions of these attacks can be found here and here. We want to keep people safe, but the problem is that it is the law-abiding good citizens, not the criminals, who obey these laws. We end up disarming the potential victims and not the criminals. Rather than making places safe for victims, we unintentionally make them safe for the criminal.

At some point, you would think the media would notice that something is going on here, that these murderers aren’t just picking their targets at random. And this pattern isn’t really too surprising. Most people understand that guns deter criminals.

If a killer were stalking your family, would you feel safer putting a sign out front announcing, “This home is a gun-free zone”? But that is what all these places did.

Read the whole article.

From an earlier article:

...attacks... at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb., or Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City or the recent attack at the Tinley Park Mall in Illinois or all the public schools attacks, all these cases had one thing in common: They took place in “gun free zones,” where private citizens were not allowed to carry their guns with them.

The malls in Omaha and Salt Lake City were in states that let people carry concealed handguns, but private property owners are allowed to post signs banning guns and those malls were among the few places in their states that chose to post such signs. In the Trolley Square attack an off-duty police officer fortunately violated the ban and stopped the attack. The attacks at Virginia Tech or the other public schools occured in some of the few areas within their states that people are not allowed to carry concealed handguns.

Most people understand that guns deter criminals. The problem is that instead of gun-free zones making it safe for potential victims, they make it safe for criminals.

Letting civilians have permitted concealed handguns limits the damage from attacks. A major factor in determining how many people are harmed by these killers is the amount of time that elapses between when the attack starts and when someone with a gun is able to arrive on the scene.

In cases from the church shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo., last December, where a parishioner who was given permission by the minister to carry her concealed gun into the church quickly stopped the murderer, to an attack last year in downtown Memphis, to the Appalachian Law School, to high schools in such places as Pearl, Miss., concealed handgun permit holders have stopped attacks well before uniformed police could possibly have arrived.

Twice this year armed Israeli citizens have stopped terrorist attacks at schools (once by an armed teacher and another by an armed student). Indeed, despite the fears being discussed about the risks of concealed handgun permit holders, I haven’t found one multiple-victim public shooting where a permit holder has accidentally shot a bystander.

With about 5 million Americans currently with concealed handgun permits in the U.S. and states starting having right-to-carry laws for as long as 80 years, we have a lot of experience with these laws, and one thing is very clear: Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding and lose their permits for any gun-related violation at hundredths or thousandths of one percentage point. We also have a lot of experience with permitted concealed handguns in schools.

Prior to the 1995 Safe School Zone Act, states with right-to-carry laws let teachers or others carry concealed handguns at school, and several states still allow this today. And there is not a single instance that I or others have found where this produced a single problem. There are today even some universities, including large public universities such as
Colorado State University and the University of Utah, that let students carry concealed handguns on school property.

With all the news media coverage of the types of guns used and how the criminal obtained the gun, at some point the news media might
begin to mention the one common feature of these attacks: they keep occurring in gun-free zones.

Remember this tragedy at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, TX in 1991?

Dr. Suzanna Hupp talks about the Virginia Tech massacre: another "gun free zone" tragedy.

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