Gun free zones and schools shootings

Larry Elder has an op-ed up on Yahoo! News where he asks the question, “do gun free zones encourage school shootings”?  He does an excellent job of highlighting several instances in the US where firearms have been used to stop or prevent school shootings, including the oft-cited Appalachian Law School incident, as well as several others.  Additionally, he points out that Israeli policy is for school teachers to arm themselves; and although it was likely intended as a deterrent for Palestinian terrorists, it has had the added affect of deterring any sort of school shootings.

Unfortunately, Larry doesn’t explicitly state whether or not he believes that gun free zones “encourage” school shootings.  It’s easy to say that someone knew a location would be unarmed, and chose it specifically, but in reality it’s almost impossible to determine a person’s motives.  I don’t think that “gun free zones” encourage shootings; but I do think that they make them easier.  Someone who has their mind bent on murder isn’t going to be encouraged one way or the other by a gun free zone – their mind is set to evil.

So, I don’t believe that a gun free zone is going to encourage anyone to start a killing spree – but I imagine that knowing that your victims are going to be unarmed probably makes you feel better.

Guns in schools is a complicated topic, specifically because there is so much emotion tied to the issue.  Unfortunately, a lot of that emotion isn’t logical.  Most parents would be fine with a police officer in their child’s school, but balk at the concept of arming teachers.  I’ve said before that I would support a program similar to the Federal Flight Deck Officer program if it were enacted for teachers.  I say similar because the FFDO program has some serious, glaring flaws.

But prohibiting teachers from carrying if they have a valid CCW seems a little silly – in all likelihood, no one but the teacher would ever know the gun was there.

1 Comment

  1. I wouldn’t say gun free zones encourage shooting so much as to say they attract or localize them.

    Lots of folks have grudges against cops, but mass shootings of cops are pretty rare. Can’t recall the last time I heard of anyone going on a rampage in a police station.

    The shooters will hit soft targets, generally. I should think that if we value our kids we should be willing to protect them. ‘What, you don’t want to keep your kids safe? What kind of a monster are you? Of COURSE teachers should have guns!’

    Given the protection they get, it seems we value politicions higher than kids.

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