Hamilton — Mass shootings: Time to end “gun-free” zones?
July 30, 2015
Every rational person deplores any kind of violence inflicted on the innocent by any means be it by: knife, machete, sword, axe, a blunt-force weapon, or by firearms. Moreover, it is safe to assume that the rational among us would like for dangerous instrumentalities to be kept away from those who would do us harm.
Ah, there's the rub. How do we keep these lethal objects out of the hands of scofflaw criminals and the mentally unbalanced and, at the same time, leave them in the hands of rational and law-abiding citizens?
Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong understood that no amount of "gun-control" measures would keep some people from having firearms. So, Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong had a very simple solution. Any civilians caught with firearms were taken out and shot. Sometimes, entire families as well. Man, talk about gun control!
But such a simple solution will not work in a representative democracy where the right of self defense and the right to keep and bear arms are rooted in Natural Law, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in Supreme Court decisions, and in state statutes. In fact, because of the recent spate of mass shootings, the idea of encouraging law-abiding citizens to carry their firearms in public places is gaining traction.
Many of the crowd-shooters have a pattern of selecting venues where they can kill or wound large numbers of innocent people before armed law-enforcement officer can be summoned to stop their rampages. Historically, the villains have picked venues known as "gun-free" zones for their heinous crimes.
Just imagine scenes where criminals start shooting people gathered in public places, such as movie theaters, and law-abiding gun owners pull out their concealed weapons and put an end to their violence. While that would provide a great deal of drama, the "prevention" of mass shootings in public venues offers a less violent solution.
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For example, what if the villains do not "know" for certain if a particular venue is gun-free or not gun-free? "Uncertainty" is not to the liking of the would-be assassin. But there's the rub. How does a largely, peaceful, law-abiding society introduce the element of "uncertainty" into the venues where large numbers of innocent citizens are likely to gather? Doing away with "gun-free" zones would seem like a logical first step. Encouraging the law-abiding to exercise their Second Amendment rights more often might serve to increase the element of uncertainty in the minds of the would-be killers.
But not every law-abiding citizen is proficient with firearms and knows how to practice firearms safety. There is, however, an element in our society that has had to meet certain physical induction standards, pass some mental tests, and is trained in the use of firearms and in fire-arms safety. The men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. That seems like a good place to start.
Back when the U.S. Army and NATO were strong, the Officers-of-the-Day, and the Sergeants-of-the-Guard carried loaded, M1911 .45 caliber, semi-automatics. In NATO-Europe ammo-dump guards carried loaded weapons as did virtually everyone inside and outside our nuclear-weapons storage sites. We had no gun-free zones. We had no mass shootings. Do you suppose that tells us something? We report. You decide.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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