Gun-free zones foster preventable tragedies

Did you hear about the man who fired back at an attacker who had shot him and two of his friends at a New Orleans gas station in January, hitting the perpetrator and potentially saving his life and those of several others? Or the Uber driver who likewise shot and wounded a man who had opened fire on a crowd of people in Chicago last April?

In both cases, the heroes were licensed to carry a concealed weapon, but you are forgiven if their stories are unfamiliar, for the media tend not to fawn over mass-shooting attempts unless they are successful.

When mass shootings do occur, they tend to be in places with greater gun restrictions — schools, military facilities, other government buildings or a private place where crowds gather, such as a theater or church, that has a no-gun policy. In fact, they are more than twice as likely to take place in “gun-free zones,” a Heritage Foundation analysis concludes.

Of the 54 mass shootings included in the Stanford University Libraries’ dataset since 2002 — defined as a shooting with three or more victims, not including the attacker or gang- or drug-related shootings — 37 (69 percent) took place in gun-free zones. In two of those incidents, the shooter was slowed or stopped by an armed civilian. Only 17 cases transpired outside of gun-free zones, and, in five of them, an armed civilian slowed or stopped the attacker.

“If you have a choice to be in a gun-free zone or a legal-to-carry setting, you are less likely to be the victim of a mass shooting where it is legal to carry guns,” research coordinator Patrick Tyrrell wrote on Heritage’s Daily Signal blog. “All else being equal, if a killer can strike where he is less likely to face lethal law-abiding resistance from ordinary citizens, he will.”

When those motivated by evil or mental illness plot mass murder, they do not pay attention to laws, much less “Gun-free zone” signs. Each of us has an inherent right to defend our lives and the lives of others facing mortal threats. When government denies us the tools to do so, it ensures more helpless victims and preventable tragedies.

Reprinted from the Orange County Register

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