Gun-free zones are fatal mistakes
Friday, May 11, 2007 3:37 AM
By DAVE WORKMAN
Reacting to questions from reporters about how to prevent future outrages like the murders of 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech on April 16, Texas Gov. Rick Perry dispelled any notion that common sense has been eradicated by political correctness in the United States.
Perry's sensible solution: Allow legally armed citizens to carry their defensive firearms anywhere -- schools, restaurants, churches. Perry correctly asserted that so long as such areas are legislated as "gun-free zones," killers who don't care about the law will enjoy risk-free opportunities in which good people cannot fight back.
Perry's remarks were in stark contrast to comments made in Oklahoma recently by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He's against guns on campuses, yet he admits the nanny state approach is no panacea to violence.
"We can't guarantee complete security," he said. "We need to see what we can do as a government -- on the federal level, on the state level -- to ensure the safety of our students."
Gonzales is wrong and Perry is right. Government should get out of the way and let people take care of themselves.
Perry's remarks brought wails of anguish from the anti-gun mob, a political lobby more adept at dancing in the blood of murder victims to advance its agenda than it is in offering common-sense solutions that would help people keep from being murdered.
Perhaps self-styled "progressives," especially those in Texas, have forgotten George Hennard, the lunatic who drove into the Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen on Oct. 16, 1991, and opened fire, killing 23 people, all of them disarmed by a then-existing state prohibition on concealed carry. Survivors haven't forgotten. One of them, former State Rep. Suzanna Gratia-Hupp, ran successfully to change the law, enabling Texans to fight back.
Those who lobbied in state after state against concealed-carry statutes predicted that such laws would lead to bloodbaths. In a sense, they guaranteed such mayhem by demanding that some areas be gun-free zones, where law-abiding citizens may not carry their firearms. Armed citizens have gone through background checks and in many states have taken mandatory gun-safety courses. How many anti-gun liberals would tolerate such scrutiny and red tape just to exercise a constitutional right? If there is blood on anyone's hands, it is on theirs. The common denominator in all of this country's mass shootings in recent memory is that they happened in gun-free zones.
Don't blame these monstrous crimes on the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment Foundation. Blame them on the anti-gun lobby for pushing limitations on the public's right of self-defense.
This country has tried it their way -- the way Gonzales would have it -- and all we have to show for it is a body count.
It's time for a different approach. Perry's idea is simply a reminder of an earlier, simpler time, when everyone thought with the logic of a Boy Scout: Always be prepared.
Why is it easy for Perry to understand that criminals and madmen do not make appointments to commit violent acts, but this fact eludes college presidents, liberal politicians, an attorney general and far too many pundits?
Nobody is advocating anarchy. This is a matter of personal and community defense because the police are not our shepherds. In an emergency when seconds count and police are minutes away, individuals must act. We should abolish the concept of gun-free zones. Eliminate the term from the national vocabulary. Criminals don't obey it, and they shouldn't make the rules or benefit from them.
Strengthen this philosophical shift with stand-your-ground laws that protect citizens who defend themselves and others from civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution.
Nobody can stop every determined criminal or madman, but we might stop most of them, and save innocent lives in the process. If that makes anti-gunners uncomfortable, that's a small sacrifice for public safety.
Dave Workman is senior editor of Gun Week, a national firearms publication owned by the Second Amendment Foundation.