Jordan Suderman next author in 2016-2017 MLHS senior student editorial series
The debate over gun-free zones has been raging for many years, and it is not going away any time soon. With the number of concealed carry permit holders in America increasing dramatically the last few years, over 14.5 million Americans now have the right to carry firearms, not including those in states which do not require permits to carry. Meanwhile, gun-free zones have increased in number over the past few decades, yet there seems to be no evidence that they do anything other than restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans. These so called gun-free zones are fraudulent, powerless words that do not reduce crime, but only restrict the rights of American citizens.
Gun-free zones will not prevent criminals from committing crimes; in fact, they may even encourage those with criminal intent. Take, for example, an amateur robber who is attempting to steal from a store that allows customers to carry firearms. A customer with a concealed carry permit draws his weapon and confronts the suspect, which causes him to flee. The would-be robber may even be prevented from attempting another robbery due to the fear of a repeat situation. However, if the store was a gun-free zone and there was no one to stop him, that robber could have gotten away with the crime and gone on to commit more robberies with increased confidence.
In the case of mass shootings, gun-free zones become the targets of those who plan terroristic attacks due to the lack of armed civilians who could fight back. A report published by the Crime Prevention Research Center explains that this was true in the attack on a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, that took place in 2012. The gunman in that attack chose the theater because it was the only one of seven in the area that banned firearms; the possibility of encountering armed citizens prevented the attacker from going to any of the other theaters. In fact, a study from the same report, which excludes gang-related shootings and those that took place on private property, found that 92% of mass public shootings occur in gun-free zones, clearly showing that the perpetrators target these zones.
One argument that gun-control advocates make is that gun-free zones prevent accidental shootings in the event of an attack. They contend that if an armed bystander fires at the attacker, he or she may hit a civilian, or that when police arrive, they may accidentally shoot the person who is fighting back. However, no examples of this have occurred out of all the shootings that have been stopped by civilians.
In conclusion, gun-free zones are an ineffective way to reduce gun violence and prevent accidents. Not only do they not prevent crime, but they also deny gun owners the right to defend themselves and have not been proven to reduce accidental shootings. Americans need to realize that gun-free zones are not only ineffective, but also dangerous. Especially in today’s dangerous world, the right of the people to defend themselves is paramount.