Blog 5/12/23

Weekly Spotlight 5/12/23 – 5/18/23

Dispelling the “Gun-Free Zone” Myth

We’ve all walked into public places, from shopping malls and libraries to schools and government buildings, that read “Gun-Free Zone.”  The message is simple but clear: no guns allowed on the premises.  That should evoke feelings of comfort and safety, right?  Unfortunately, gun-free zones are  frequent targets of deranged individuals and violent criminals because they are full of defenseless people.  It’s time to dispel the myth that gun-free zones make people safer. 

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 94% of mass shootings since 1950 have occurred in areas where regular citizens were not permitted to carry firearms.  This includes several of the recent tragedies we’ve seen in Tennessee and Kentucky.  There is no justifiable reason to have so many defenseless public places when we know they’re being specifically targeted. 

Politicians in some states have not gotten this memo, and they believe more gun-free zones are the answer.  For example, the state of Hawaii recently passed legislation that will expand the number of so-called “sensitive places” where concealed carry is not allowed, even for law-abiding citizens with the requisite permit.  While it’s expected to face a number of legal challenges, creating more vulnerable and defenseless targets is the opposite direction we need to be moving in.  

Fortunately, other lawmakers have made it a priority to either carve out sensible exceptions to gun-free zone laws or eliminate them entirely.  U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) recently introduced the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) Reform Act, which would allow off-duty and retired law enforcement officers nationwide to concealed carry in more public places where guns may not be generally allowed.  This includes state, local and private property otherwise open to the public, national parks, and school zones.  

Going even further, the Safe Students Act introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) would eliminate the blanket ban on guns in public school zones passed by Congress more than three decades ago.  It would instead give state and local entities the power to set their own policies regarding firearms, which would almost certainly lead to the appropriate arming of more school resource officers and other trained individuals.  The only way violent criminals will be effectively deterred is to make it clear that they would face immediate and overwhelming defense.  

The bottom line is that criminals do not follow the law, and “gun-free zones” are the epitome of laws that do the opposite of their intended effect.  If lawmakers are truly serious about curbing violent crime, they will realize the myth behind gun-free zones and empower more people to defend themselves in these important public places.  

Visit our advocacy page and tell your representative you support stronger defenses for public places


House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) said he opposed gun control reform laws in the past as he believed it “wouldn’t solve the problem” of mass shootings in the United States, signaling that there will be no congressional action taken in the House. Scalise said on Monday to CNN that he opposed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Biden signed into law in June. It made changes in the U.S.’s mental health system, school safety programs, and gun safety laws. Several Republicans, including Scalise, voted against the measure because they said it went against the Second Amendment and would not prevent shootings.

A firearms bill passed by Hawaii lawmakers will make filing lawsuits on many of the state’s gun laws easier, a Second Amendment advocate told The Center Square. If Senate Bill 1230 becomes law, it would be illegal to carry firearms in what the bill deems “sensitive places,” including government buildings, hospitals, restaurants and bars that serve alcohol, stadiums, movie theaters, concert halls, schools and colleges. The bill is on Gov. Josh Green’s desk after receiving approval from lawmakers last week. The bill also bans carrying guns at permitted public gatherings or demonstrations for which a permit. Carrying a firearm on a sidewalk adjacent to such a gathering would also be illegal.

The Supreme Court may already be considering wading into the debate over the constitutionality of so-called assault weapons bans. This week, Justice Amy Coney Barrett requested Naperville, Illinois submit a defense of its ban after a gun-rights group requested an emergency injunction from the Court. That means at least one justice wants to hear more on the case before SCOTUS decides what to do with the emergency request. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Court will intervene and block the city’s ban, but it is a live possibility.

…Those groups now are lobbying to eliminate the concealed handgun permit mandate, which has been in place in North Carolina for nearly 30 years. Several hundred thousand people hold such permits, according to one bill supporter. The bill also would lower the age in which someone can carry a concealed firearm from the current 21 to 18. There are 27 states that already allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, according to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, so “it’s not something new,” said GOP Rep. Keith Kidwell of Beaufort County, a bill sponsor.