A couple of mentions about the Northern Illinois University Attack being in a gun free zone

An editorial in the Texas A&M University school newspaper:

A cross the nation, the death toll on college campuses continues to climb. Virginia Tech, 21 wounded, 33 dead. Louisiana Tech, two dead. Northern Illinois University, at least 16 wounded, six dead. The travesty is, these deaths might have been prevented had students been allowed to carry firearms on campus. . . .

Here is another mention at KXMB television in Bismarck, ND:

This one, like some others before him, even stopped to reload. One gun. That’s all it would have taken. But that campus, like all the others, is a “gun free zone”

Here is a press release from CCRKBA:

The tragic shooting at Northern Illinois University late Thursday is another failure of the "gun free zone" mentality that has created a false sense of security on college campuses and other public venues across the country, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.

"Gun-free zones have given us nothing but body counts," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb. "This giant loophole in public safety is becoming a national disgrace and it is time to dramatically change our perspective on self-defense in this country. . . . .

On the blogs, Bill Quick and Jay Tea quote the Northern Illinois University Student Code of Conduct:

Northern Illinois University The Student Code of Conduct
3-1.5 Dangerous Weapons:
1.5a Possession, use, sale, or distribution in any residence hall, building, or grounds under university control of: fireworks, firearms, shotguns, rifles, hand guns, switchblade knives, any type of ammunition, explosives, and all other serious weapons.
1.5b Misuse of martial arts weaponry, BB guns, pellet guns, clubs, knives, and all other serious weapons.
Students who wish to bring firearms to the campus must obtain written permission from the chief security officer of the university. Firearms must be stored at the University Security Office except with written permission of the chief security officer of the university. At no time will any of the above dangerous weapons be allowed in the university residence halls.

UPDATE: Gun control groups unite on proposals after the Northern Illinois University attack. The problem is that none of these proposed regulations would have stopped the attack:

WASHINGTON, DC - February 15 - Following yesterday’s mass shooting at Northern Illinois University which left six dead, including the shooter, and 16 wounded, America’s leading national gun violence prevention organizations, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Violence Policy Center, issued the following joint statement:

“Our sympathies go to all those affected by this terrible tragedy.
America is in a gun crisis. Yesterday’s shooting at Northern Illinois University was the sixth mass shooting in less than two weeks. On college campuses, in malls and stores, and in our neighborhoods, our nation is paying the ultimate price for the ease with which we allow almost anyone access to increasingly powerful weaponry. Yet all too many of our elected officials remain deaf to the daily toll guns exact across our nation. Mass shootings are not a force of nature unstoppable by man. They are the predictable result of our nation’s weak gun policies, and much can be done to prevent them.
To prevent future mass shootings we must begin to ratchet down the firepower that is available to civilians. For years, we have outlined proposals to reduce gun violence. We call on the presidential candidates to make gun violence prevention a priority issue. We demand that Congress hold hearings on gun violence prevention. And we urge federal and state policymakers to act immediately to implement policies such as those outlined below that will work to reduce the carnage:
o An effective ban on all semiautomatic assault weapons. In addition, the Bush Administration should act immediately to better enforce the existing federal ban on the importation of foreign-made assault weapons.
o A complete ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
o Ensure that all gun sales at gun shows are subject to a background check.
o Establish a system whereby university officials are notified when a student purchases a gun from a gun dealer.”



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Is there any information yet in the press about how this obviously disturbed individual was able to obtain the 3 guns that he used in his killing spree?

2/15/2008 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are they going to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE !!!!!
Gun Free Zones are a FREE PASS for these losers to kill innocent people, not just schools and colleges, but many others as well.
All you do in a gun free zone is keep "Law Abiding Citizens" from carrying.
Let the law abiding citizens protect those that choose not to carry/protect themselves.

Don't be a Sheep, be a sheepdog and keep the wolves at bay.

2/15/2008 1:52 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear First Anonymous:

Two of the guns were obtained at a gun shop 6 days ago. The person went through the background check with no problem, which isn't surprising given that he had not been involuntarily committed.

2/15/2008 2:01 PM  
Blogger TYF said...

They think limiting magazine capacity will do anything at all? Do they have the slightest idea how easy it is to change a magazine in a semi-auto pistol?

Limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds, and the killers will just carry more magazines. The policy has just bought a 3-second pause in the firing...which might be worth something, if the students were armed and could shoot back. But three seconds is the same as zero when you're waiting for the cops to come stop the perp.

And the knee-jerk stuff about assault rifle bans is laughable. This guy used a 12 gauge shotgun, not an AR-15.

2/15/2008 3:56 PM  
Anonymous crystal said...

This guy had a FOID. I think that is similar to concealed carry permits.

I've heard previously that people who have concealed carry permits are much less likely to commit crimes.

Is this guy a statistical anomily or is that data not applicable to a FOID?

2/15/2008 6:16 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Crystal:

Thank you. You are the first person who I have ever come across who compared a FOID card to a right-to-carry permit. Illinois is one of two states that do not even allow people to carry concealed handguns. Illinois is also one of the few places in the country that require you to have one of these cards to purchase a gun. The FOID card appears to me primarily as a tax on getting guns. It doesn't even serve as a substitute for background checks because you still have to have the check done even with the card.

2/15/2008 6:48 PM  
Blogger TYF said...

John -

A FOID, or Firearm Owner ID Card, is a pre-screening device administered by the state police. They do a background check before they issue one, and ensure you meet the minimum requirements to own a gun or ammo. You can't legally be in posession of a firearm or ammo without one, and stores won't sell you ammo unless you show your FOID.

You are correct that it grants no right to carry a concealed firearm. But you'd better have one if you're transporting a firearm in the trunk of your car.

Although it's a bit of a hassle to get one, I'd hardly call it a "tax." The fee is just $5, and the card is good for 5 years.

That said, it does seem silly to do an initial background check and then check again each time a person wants to buy another gun.

2/15/2008 8:19 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Right, I agree with you generally, but I still think that the principle behind the FOID card was to introduce a tax with the notion that it could be increased later on.

2/15/2008 9:11 PM  
Blogger TYF said...

Interesting about increasing the FOID fee. Rod Blagojevich tried doing that when he was in the state legislature - introduced a bill that would've hiked it from $5to $500. Caused such a firestorm among gun owners, he quickly withdrew it (and ran far far away from this proposal when it was brought up against him in the 2002 gubernatorial campaign).

2/15/2008 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure that the reason they do a check each time you go to purchase a firearm is for changes in your background. The FOID is good for 5 years. A lot can change in a short period of time, nevermind 5 years. I feel this should be a requirement. I have a CPL and they check me out each time, even though I've had an extensive FBI background check done. It obviously won't catch everything, but it will show all recent dealings with the law..... PPO's etc.

2/16/2008 6:12 AM  
Blogger Rail Claimore said...

The FOID amounts to more than just a tax: It's basically gun-owner registration for Illinois residents. Non-residents are exempt from the FOID (and can't get one in most cases anyway) if they are merely transporting their firearm or have been specifically invited to a shooting/hunting event.

Beginning this summer, the fee will increase to $10, but it will be good for 10 years instead. This came about because the ISP were so swamped with applications not to long ago that they were breaking the maximum 30-day requirement for the issuance of FOIDs.

Waiting periods didn't do anything to prevent the NIU shooting either. Illinois has wait periods of 72 hrs for handguns and 24 hrs for long guns.

2/16/2008 9:01 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Rail:

I should have been clearer. When I use the term "tax" I meant all the costs involved, not just the fee, though I did think that the original proponents would increase it over time. This is just one way of making gun ownership costly and reduce gun ownership. If you forget to renew you FOID card, as I recall, you can get yourself in all sorts of trouble and many have. Again, that is just an additional cost to gun owners from owning a gun under that system. Thanks for your comments.

2/16/2008 10:11 AM  
Blogger TYF said...

Last Anonymous -

Agreed. When I said "it does seem silly to do an initial background check and then check again each time a person wants to buy another gun," I had in mind the initial FOID background check as the silly one, because they're still going to check you again later. Absolutely, I understand that things can change, and those additional background checks are the necessary ones.

2/16/2008 1:17 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear TYF:

I am not aware of any study by criminologists or economists that find that background checks are associated with any reduction in any type of crime rate. If it makes people feel better, fine. But there is no evidence that it actually helps.

2/16/2008 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All a BG check does is keep a criminal from legally buying a gun.
I'm not sure why they would choose now to use the legal method. People who have no criminal history will not be stopped by this method. Just like someone getting a drivers license will not be stopped from getting one. Then later getting a drunk driving charge. This will not show by running a check on their driving record if they have no prior history. All an initial BG check looks for is to stop someone with a prior record.

2/18/2008 11:27 PM  

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