Gun free zones are killing us: Opposing view in USA Today

Gun free zones are killing us: Opposing view in USA Today

Our hearts go out to the victims and the families of the Umpqua Community College shooting. Last week’s events were very tragic, and all Americans are mourning with the residents of Oregon.

But most Americans find it very offensive to hear the president use a tragedy like this and instantly turn it into a political opportunity.

The White House is calling for “common sense” gun control, which is insane, given that the criminally minded don’t obey the law.

Every public mass shooting since 1950, except for two, has occurred in a gun-free zone. This shooting is no different.

The Umpqua Community College is a gun-free zone, as are the locations of many recent shootings: the Lafayette, La., theater; the Charleston, S.C., church; the military recruiting center in Tennessee.

Guns were outlawed at all these locations, and yet the killers ignored the bans. Plus, the shooters passed background checks — as did the Oregon shooter, who passed several background checks in purchasing his firearms.

Albert Einstein defined “insanity” as doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Clearly, the call for more gun control is insane — it doesn’t work.

And that is why Gun Owners of America agrees with the 86% of police who say these types of incidents would be prevented if the potential victims were not disarmed.

Consider just a partial list of the locations where armed citizens have stopped bad guys in their tracks over the past year: in a bar in Youngstown, Ohio; on a street corner in Chicago; at a barber shop in Philadelphia; in a church in Florida; at a food processing plant in Oklahoma; and at a hospital in Darby, Pa.

And then, there was the attempted mass shooting in 2012 at the Clackamas mall in Oregon. When a gunman began killing people in the mall, Nick Meli drew his concealed firearm and pointed it at the gunman, thus spooking him into taking his own life.

Nick Meli was breaking the “no guns policy” at the mall, but there are many survivors who are glad he did.

Gun-free zones are the problem. Let’s repeal them.

Erich Pratt is the director of communications for Gun Owners of America.  This column originally appeared in USA Today’s print edition on October 5, 2015.