Rule Five Gun-Free Zone Friday

Check out this recently-updated piece from John Lott on mass shootings and gun-free zones.  Excerpts, with my comments, you know the drill.

At some point, you would think that the empirical evidence would be overwhelming. When the Aurora, Colorado Batman movie theater shooter attacked, there were seven movie theaters showing “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20th within 20 minutes of the killer’s apartment at 1690 Paris St, Aurora, Colorado, but the killer picked the only theater that had signs posted that it was a gun-free zone. His first target had been an airport but he worried about their “substantial security.” Similar stories have occurred at malls such as in Omaha and Salt Lake City or the Lafayette, Louisiana movie theater. Despite teachers carrying guns in schools in 20 states, all the shooting attacks at schools have occurred in schools that ban teachers from having guns. Given that people are allowed to carry their permitted concealed handguns in the vast majority of public places, if these mass public shootings were random, 95% or higher of these attacks would take place in areas where permitted concealed handguns were allowed. Instead the reverse is true, with 98% of those attacks taking place where general citizens are banned from having guns. At some point, it would seem obvious that these attacks aren’t random.

They aren’t random, of course; there is ample evidence that the shooters, in planning their atrocities, chose venues where they were not going to meet armed resistance.

Vince Vaughn explained what should be obvious to most people in an  interview in the UK edition of GQ:

It’s well known that the greatest defence against an intruder is the sound of a gun hammer being pulled back. All these gun shootings that have gone down in America since 1950, only one or maybe two have happened in non-gun-free zones. Take mass shootings. They’ve only happened in places that don’t allow guns. These people are sick in the head and are going to kill innocent people. They are looking to slaughter defenceless human beings. They do not want confrontation. In all of our schools it is illegal to have guns on campus, so again and again these guys go and shoot up these f***ing schools because they know there are no guns there. They are monsters killing six-year-olds.”

Monsters, yes, but not so stupid that they can’t choose venues that will allow them to carry out their rampage well within the time it takes for law enforcement to intercede – and this is a world in which we have police departments like the cowards in Uvalde as well as the heroes of Nashville.  Speaking of which:

Media Matters then attacked Vaughn by pointing to a flawed report by Bloomberg’s Everytown, but of course, Media Matters doesn’t respond or even acknowledge all the errors that have been previously pointed out with Bloomberg’s report.  See also here. Killers often openly talk about their desire to attack where no one is there with a gun to stop them.

UPDATE, ADDED EXAMPLE: In the planned Church attack in Detroit, the person planning the attack note one reason to picking his target:

Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church.” . . .

UPDATE, ADDED EXAMPLE: Regarding the Charleston Church shooting:

“I don’t think the church was his primary target because he told us he was going for the school,” Scriven said Friday. “But I think he couldn’t get into the school because of the security … so I think he just settled for the church.” . . .

The Covenant School shooting in Nashville (March 27, 2023).

“It was the only school that was targeted. There was another location that was mentioned, but because of a threat assessment by the suspect of too much security, they decided not to,” Drake said. “That area was here in Nashville, so we’re continuing with that investigation as well.” Lydia Fielder and Tony Garcia, “Nashville school shooter purchased 7 guns, planned attack on multiple locations, police say,” WSMV, March 27, 2023.


UPDATED, added example: The Buffalo mass murderer in 2022 wrote in his manifesto explaining why he picked the target that he did: “areas where CCW are outlawed or prohibited may be good areas of attack” and “areas with strict gun laws are also great places of attack.” Like other attackers, the Buffalo murderer cased the target before his attack.

Of course John Lott is damn good at this business.  But what he doesn’t offer in this article is a solution.  That’s not an easy ask, but one possibility might be local or state level laws placing part of the liability for the results of mass shootings on the venue; make it easier to bring suit in civil court for businesses that deny patrons the right of self-defense.  I’m not sure how such a law would work; I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play on on television.  But it’s a fact that many potential mass shootings have in fact been stopped by armed citizens; see this list for examples.

It’s abundantly clear that the status quo is costing lives.  It would be great if we could count on people to examine the facts and arrive at a dispassionate, rational conclusion, but let’s face it, that’s pretty much a lost art in the United States today.  Just look at Congress or our last four or five Presidential elections as proof.