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Folly of "Gun-Free Zones"

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Criminologist Don B. Kates questions gun-ownership policies in the United States, one year on from the horrific Virginia Tech massacre.
Excerpts from the following article, Good Citizens and Guns, 17 April 2008.  Emphasies my own.

Wednesday marked one year since the massacre at Virginia Tech by mentally-disturbed student Seung-Hui Cho. Last week the university offered anguished parents a settlement of $100,000 per murdered child.

There are three things wrong with this: First, even in financial terms, it is hopelessly inadequate to redress the deaths of these talented young people.

Second, it does nothing to correct the useless, symbolic policy which facilitated their deaths.

Third, if you don't think that the policy is wrong, Virginia Tech has no liability for the deaths it facilitated.

That policy is the "gun-free zone." Even if the victims had possessed permits to carry a gun, Virginia Tech forbade them to have that means of self-defense while on campus. This ensured that only the killer (who, of course, violated the "gun-free zone" policy just as he violated the laws against murder) and uniformed police would have guns. Obviously the university could not afford to station officers in every lecture hall.

Yet nothing less would substitute for the victims themselves having had the power to stop the massacre.

Israel has a better alternative. Decades ago, Palestinian terrorism was being directed at schools. Yasser Arafat calculated that small children can't shoot back, and that killing them was the best way to terrify parents into fleeing Israel.

Israel's response?

They armed schoolteachers and school bus drivers. Now, even suicide terrorists don't attack schools -- lest they be shot down before they can reach their helpless victims.

Dan continues, listing situations where Israeli citizens have pulled a gun and stopped Palestinian terrorists dead in their tracks, preventing greater bloodshed.  Click here to read the rest of the article.

"Gun-Free Zones" are not gun-free at all.  All it means is that if anyone's got a gun, it will be the bad guy.

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