Want Fewer Mass Shootings? Then Repeal Victim Zones

December 18, 2012

I’m seeing a number of people responding to the school shooting last week by calling for more gun control.  I just want to point out that the public policy most likely to prevent massacres like this is, on the contrary, less gun control:

Let the law-abiding carry guns and protect themselves.

Why do you think these mass shootings are always in “gun-free zones” (i.e., victim zones)?  As Dan Mitchell suggests, posting a sign at the entrance calling it a “gun-free zone” is tantamount to posting a sign saying, “ATTENTION CRIMINALS: This is a defense-free crime zone.  All law-abiding persons have been disarmed for your convenience.”

If we really care about the children, we should do what works, not what’s politically correct or what feels good.  What works is letting the law-abiding protect themselves and others.

Wintery Knight suggests that instead of gun control, we should try fatherlessness control, so to speak.  Unlike gun control, this needn’t encroach on anyone’s liberty; we would simply repeal no-fault divorce and stop positively encouraging fatherlessness through our welfare spending.

Meanwhile the comic strip Day by Day suggests that by the reasoning of the people now calling for gun control, what we really need is Progressive control.

24 Responses to “Want Fewer Mass Shootings? Then Repeal Victim Zones”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    Yes, let’s let first graders and teachers carry guns to protect themselves. Are you aware that the perpetrator’s mother was a gun enthusiast, and his access to his mother’s high-powered and completely unnecessary weaponry and unnecessarily large amounts of ammunition is the reason that this massacre happened?

    P.S. Do you own a gun?

    • Tevyeh Says:

      Okay, this is the first time I’ve commented on any forum about the Sandy Hook tragedy, but I can’t let this one go:

      “…his access to his mother’s high-powered and completely unnecessary weaponry and unnecessarily large amounts of ammunition is the reason that this massacre happened?”

      Do you sincerely believe that this tragedy would have been prevented if the killer’s mother had not owned any firearms? “Oh man, my mom doesn’t own guns. Now I’ve got to go procure my own guns somehow if I want to pull off this massacre. Well, that sounds like too much bother. I’ll just stick to violent video games.”

      Sorry to be callous about such a tragedy, but I’m always amazed by the way politicization of an issue can lead to such astoundingly poor reasoning.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Lets your evaluate your reasoning. If the type of weapons and amount of ammunition used in this massacre were banned, how would a 20 year old with no friends and a mental illness acquire them? O wait, you can’t!

        Let’s assume they weren’t banned, but that his mother didn’t own guns, didn’t take her son shooting, and strictly forbade weapons in the house. If you don’t think that this kids training (remember, he gunned down two adults who tried to take him down, like a trained killer. Yes, Im sure his mothers training had nothing to do with that) and easy access to high powered weapons facilitated this tragedy, you are either in denial or a gun nut with an agenda. Also , weren’t you the one who told me how expensive just one gun is? How does a 20 year old kid with no job purchase expensive assault rifles and mass amounts of ammunition? Yes, your reasoning is absolutely flawless.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        PS. I have yet to figure out how to type on an I pad. The first paragraph has an extra your and should include an “can you explain” in front of the “how”

      • Tevyeh Says:

        “If the type of weapons and amount of ammunition used in this massacre were banned, how would a 20 year old with no friends and a mental illness acquire them? O wait, you can’t!”

        Au contraire. The weapons were, in fact, banned on the premises of the school where the shooting took place. Strange how criminalization fails to deter, well, criminals. Seriously, dude, are you on meth? Oh wait, that’s illegal and therefore impossible.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Banned, as in you can’t acquire them legally. Seriously?

      • Tevyeh Says:

        My point, and that of the original post if I understand correctly, was that a law prohibiting an act will generally fail to deter a person with criminal intent. How effective have our anti-drug laws been at eliminating drugs, despite consuming a large proportion of total U.S. law enforcement resources? Criminalization of a thing, whether drugs, guns, commercial sex, or whatever makes that thing *slightly* less convenient for a person to obtain, so long as that person doesn’t mind breaking the law.

        In the wake of a tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook, it’s our impulse to believe that there’s something the government can do NOW NOW NOW to make sure it never happens again. Unfortunately, human evil is difficult to contain.

        Let’s say that the response to this incident includes a total ban on “assault rifles” (a categorization based more on style than substance, but I digress): maybe our nation’s next massacre will involve a higher-caliber hunting rifle. (If Adam Lanza had been using, say, a .30-06, the body count would likely have been higher, even if he had had to reload more often.

        Okay, so say we end up with a total ban on private firearm possession. Do you know what a simple device a flamethrower is, and how easy it is to build one at home? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cologne_school_massacre

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Can we at least agree on the premise that if there were no guns, there would be no gun deaths.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        True enough, but I don’t think the total number of homicides would be much lower, if at all. Even if you disagree, I’d really like to hear of a gun control proposal that would impede criminal violence more than it would restrict legitimate self-defense. I’m talking about likely results, not intended results. Can we also agree that criminalization of an act doesn’t necessarily prevent it from happening?

      • Snoodickle Says:

        How about making possession of a firearm a mandatory life sentence.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        That would certainly prevent any rational person from possessing a firearm. “Rational” being the key word. How afraid are you of being murdered by a sane, rational individual?

      • Snoodickle Says:

        You raise a good point that is a perfect segue to a common sense reform that the Second Amendment would arguably not prohibit: require every person who purchases a weapon to first undergo an exhaustive mental health exam, in addition to a criminal background check. (I believe Israel has some variation of this policy)

  2. Snoodickle Says:

    P.S.S. Are you aware that gun violence in Chicago spiked after the Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s gun ban?


    • I know you often link to just the first thing you find on Google and claim it as a source, but this time you couldn’t even be bothered to click on one of the search results before copying and pasting the URL?

      Maybe you were just illustrating, through your Google search, the “Deafening” “Media Silence” about the fact that, contrary to what you wanted me to believe, “In the first six months of [2011], there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of [2010] – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.” Etc. Read the whole thing (by the excellent John Lott) here.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Again, the I pad is causing me innumerable difficulties. Copy and paste is exceedingly difficult

      • If only you had had access to this valuable advice before it was too late!


      • Snoodickle Says:

        I actually meant to link to this. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/May-2012/Chicago-Crime-Shootings-Slightly-Up-Murders-Way-Up-What-Gives/

        A much better gauge of the courts ruling is its long term effect, which thus far does not look good.

      • Snoodickle Says:


        Here is another helpful link that not only illustrates the lack of deterrent effect of the death penalty, but that many of the states with high gun ownership ( ie the South) have the highest murder rates.

      • Now that I can see it, I can tell you that your link about Chicago is non-responsive. It only claims that murder is up from 2011 to 2012, not from the 2010 Supreme Court decision. Your other link is even further from proving what you want it to prove.

        If you really want to do empiricism, instead of looking at one or two years in a single city, why not try to be a little more thorough?

        One person who has made some effort is John Lott (Ph.D. in economics from UCLA, has taught at Yale and the University of Chicago, etc.). In his book The Bias against Guns, chapter 6 describes a study he did jointly with William M. Landes, a professor of law and economics at the University of Chicago Law School, on this very subject (“Acts of Terror with Guns: Multiple Victim Shootings”).

        They compared states that allowed concealed carry with states that didn’t, and controlled for some 40 other variables. They also compared whether multiple-victim-shooting rates were trending up or down before and after a state passed a law allowing concealed carry, and compared those to whether they were trending up or down in other states at the same time.

        In short, they found that concealed carry reduced multiple-victim shootings—a lot. By one measure, all other things being equal, a state would have 78% fewer murders and injuries from multiple-victim shootings with a concealed-carry law than without it. (In other words, the concealed-carry law would prevent, on average, three quarters of these murders and injuries.)

        Of course, for violent crime more generally (not just multiple-victim shootings), John Lott’s book More Guns, Less Crime (published by the University of Chicago Press) comprehensively examined county-by-county data and concluded that legalizing concealed carry leads to less violent crime, not more.

        You may find other studies (which may or may not be as careful or as thorough) that conclude that concealed carry has no effect (or no knowable effect) one way or the other. (The CDC reports “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5214a2.htm ) I don’t know whether you’ll find any serious studies that have concluded the third possibility, that concealed-carry laws lead to more violence. (From The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2003: “Mr. Lott’s research has convinced his peers of at least one point: No scholars now claim that legalizing concealed weapons causes a major increase in crime.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry_in_the_United_States#Research_on_the_efficacy_of_concealed_carry )

        If at this point you’re ready to cry uncle and give up on knowing anything one way or the other through empirical studies, which start to look more and more necessarily complex and difficult, if not impossible–that’s fine, too. Some (say, Tevyeh) would say that that’s where we should have started in the first place, and would suggest, in the absence of reliable empiricism, why not try using abstract reason and common sense?

        So again, seriously: If you were the criminal, and you wanted to kill as many people as possible, would you rather go to a place where some fraction of your victims might be legally carrying concealed weapons and might shoot back, or would you rather go to a “gun-free” victim zone?

      • Snoodickle Says:

        So as you concede that John Lotts partisan research is inconclusive, let me make the following point. The culture of guns and the violence they represent is the problem with this country. My problem with CCW laws is twofold (1) they’re ineffective (2) they perpetuate the misguided violent element in our culture. As Tevyeh and I were discussing above, if there were no guns, there would be no gun violence. It’s simple common sense. I’ll ask you the following; would you rather live in a country with no guns or one in which everyone is armed? It seems like an easy choice to me.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        PS. Since you didn’t believe me about the murder rate in Chicago, and were somehow unable to find this information yourself, here you go.

  3. “It’s simple common sense. I’ll ask you the following; would you rather live in a country with no guns or one in which everyone is armed? It seems like an easy choice to me.”

    Actually, I might still disagree with you—a country in which no one is armed is one in which the strong young man can always overpower a lone woman to rape her or a lone old man to rob him—but anyway that’s moot, because a country with no guns is not one of the possibilities at this point, unless you can go back in time and uninvent guns. As a couple of people have remarked recently ( http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/310515/price-gun-control-veronique-de-rugy ), even in countries where guns have been banned for years, mass shootings continue to happen (e.g., Anders Breivik in Norway last year).

    So a country with no guns is off the table. The remaining choices include a country in which everyone has guns and a country in which only criminals have guns. You see why I would prefer the former.

    • Snoodickle Says:

      Is this lone old man pulling out a gun quick draw style to fend off this would be robber? Also, do you own a gun?

  4. […] Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Bob Braun exploits people’s emotions and the Newtown shootings to call for more gun […]

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