Two powerful op-eds on gun free zones

The problem with gun free zones is getting more and more attention. The first is by the very famous Michael Barone in today's National Review Online:

When Florida passed its concealed-weapons law, I thought it was a terrible idea. People would start shooting each other over traffic altercations; parking lots would turn into shooting galleries. Not so, it turned out. Only a very, very few concealed-weapons permits have been revoked. There are only rare incidents in which people with concealed-weapons permits have used them unlawfully. Ordinary law-abiding people, it turns out, are pretty trustworthy.

I’m not the only one to draw such a conclusion. When she was Michigan’s attorney general, Democrat Jennifer Granholm opposed the state’s concealed-weapons law, which took effect in 2001. But now, as governor, she’s not seeking its repeal. She says that her fears — like those I had about Florida’s law 20 years ago — proved to be unfounded.

So far as I know, there are no politically serious moves to repeal any state’s concealed-weapons laws. In most of the United States, as you go to work, shop at the mall, go to restaurants, and walk around your neighborhood, you do so knowing that some of the people you pass by may be carrying a gun. You may not even think about it. But that’s all right. Experience has shown that these people aren’t threats.

Virginia has a concealed-weapons law. But Virginia Tech was, by the decree of its administrators, a “gun-free zone.” Those with concealed-weapons permits were not allowed to take their guns on campus and were disciplined when they did. A bill was introduced in the state House of Delegates to allow permit-holders to carry guns on campus. When it was sidetracked, a Virginia Tech administrator hailed the action and said that students, professors and visitors would now “feel safe” on campus.

Tragically, they weren’t safe. Virginia Tech’s “gun-free zone” was not gun-free. In contrast, killers on other campuses were stopped by faculty or bystanders who had concealed-weapons permits and brandished their guns to stop the killing. . . .

The second is by a good friend of mine, Tracy Price, in today's Washington Times:

The above list is a tiny sampling of the growing number of multiple-victim shootings, including at least 39 school shootings in the United States. What do all of the above have in common? Each occurred in a "gun-free zone." The recent killing of 32 innocent students and teachers at Virginia Tech adds another tragic chapter to this horrible book of violence and death. I, like many fathers, consider this reality when I send my sons off to school each morning. . . .

Thanks to Jon Shell for sending me the first article.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The interesting thing for me is not that Barone was wrong about the concealed-weapons issue and now admits he was wrong. The question is: How could he have been so wrong about the citizens of the United States? How could he have held such a low opinion of us? How could his thought processes have been so fundamentally flawed?

The only answer I can come up with is that he simply does not know us at all. He only knows what the chattering classes say, and they also have no understanding of us.

This is a long way of saying thank you to you, Mr. Lott, and to the other intellectual giants who have created the body of literature about us and our guns and our good behavior.

4/30/2007 9:02 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Well, I think that a lot of people are affected by the newscoverage that they hear. People are constantly deluged with bad things that happen with guns. A lot of people don't grown up learning much about guns (I would be in that category also). I have to confess that if you had asked me about all this in the early 1990s or late 1980s, I would have also had strong concerns. At best on the issue of right-to-carry laws I would have been indifferent (think that possibly the bad effects would be balanced off by the good ones). Barone's change of thought, while it might be a little bigger than mine, is something that I can relate to.

4/30/2007 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Duke said...

The telling point is not that professors, politicians and researchers have changed their opinion when confronted with the facts, but that increasing numbers of the 'general public' are reexamining their conditioned-in prejudices; concluding that there may just 'be something' to the argument that only the law abiding abide by the law. Realization is slowly dawning that only those lacking murderous intent obey the 'designated victim zone' signs. Those who see such reservations as - literally - 'happy hunting grounds' will be encouraged, not deterred, by the presence of 'signs' advertising the absence of effective interference with their intent.

5/05/2007 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Big Dave said...

I got my CCW permit in Michigan in 2001, and we were prohibited from carrying anywhere alcohol was served because opponents claimed that there would be, “blood flowing in the street!” I’ve since renewed my license and because there hasn’t been any new ‘red’ rivers in Michigan, they have modified the restrictions so that I can carry in any place of business the does not derive its main income from alcohol, like Red Lobster. Also, I can carry in my vehicle on school property if I do not exit the vehicle, (i.e. dropping my kids off at the curb.)

This is the restrictions from the back of my license:

“This license allows the licensee to carry a pistol on or about his person anywhere in the state, except a licensee shall not carry a concealed pistol at a school, on school property, day care center, child placing agency, sports arena, stadium, bar or tavern licensed to serve liquor, church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other place of worship, entertainment facility seating more than 2500 people, hospital, dormitory or classroom of a college or university or casino or as otherwise prohibited by law. Consult the statute for complete wording of pistol free zones.”

“Gun control is putting more than one bullet through the same hole.” Ted Nugent

5/05/2007 7:19 PM  

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