Interview with America’s 1st Freedom: “Gun-Free Zones Are Targets”

24 Mar , 2017  

Here is an interview that Dr. John Lott did with America’s 1st Freedom:

Discussion of so-called gun-free zones doesn’t make it onto the news much these days, so the truth can be hard to find. The reason why is simple: After high-profile shootings, the “mainstream” media tend to ignore the facts and follow their gun-ban agenda into emotional discussions of gun bans, magazine bans and background checks.

Researcher John Lott, author of the new book, The War on Guns, and head of the Crime Prevention Research Center, has done more research on the relationship between mass public shootings and gun-free zones than anyone else in the country. We recently posed some questions to Lott in order to gain a better understanding of the issue.

America’s 1st Freedom: What is the most important thing you think people need to know about so-called gun-free zones? What has your research shown?

John Lott: Criminals try to pick the easiest places for them to commit crimes. They want to kill as many people as possible. Killers consistently pick defenseless targets where they know no one will have a gun.

Since at least 1950, all but four public mass shootings in America have taken place where general citizens can’t carry guns for protection. In Europe, every mass public shooting has occurred in a gun-free zone. And Europe is no stranger to mass public shootings. It has been host to three of the four worst K-12 school shootings and, in the past eight years, a per-capita casualty rate 50 percent higher than the United States.

With dozens of recent cases in which permit holders stopped what clearly would have become mass public shootings, killers unsurprisingly try to avoid resistance.

Earlier this year, a young Islamic State sympathizer planned a shooting at one of the largest churches in Detroit. In a wiretap, the FBI recorded why he picked the church: “It’s easy, and a lot of people go there. Plus, people are not allowed to carry guns in church. Plus, it would make the news.”

For similar examples of killers explicitly picking targets where they didn’t have to worry about security or civilians with guns, just look at the 2015 Charleston, S.C., church shooting; the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.; and the 2015 attack in San Bernardino, Calif. Nor are the examples limited to the United States. For example, in 2014 the mass public shooter in Moncton, New Brunswick, in Canada had comics on his Facebook page making fun of gun-free zones.

In late 2013, Interpol Secretary General Ron Noble warned that even with “extraordinary security,” it was virtually impossible to keep weapons out of soft targets, and that means that only the terrorists will have weapons. That is exactly what my research has shown.

A1F: Isn’t the United States unique in terms of mass public shootings?

Lott: Even after the attacks last November that left 130 dead in Paris, President Barack Obama had the gall to claim, “We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency.” But using the traditional FBI definition, the EU and the U.S. each experienced 25 mass shootings during the first seven years of Obama’s presidency (January 2009 to December 2015). Killing people at virtually the same rate: 0.083 per million people in the EU versus 0.089 per million people in the U.S. But the injury rate in the EU was more than twice as high: 0.19 versus 0.087.

Compared to the rest of the world, moreover, the U.S. and Europe are quite safe from mass public shootings. In Russia and elsewhere, struggles over sovereignty have led to a lot of devastating attacks. For instance, the 2004 Beslan school siege—carried out in the name of Chechen independence—claimed 385 lives. . . .

The rest of the interview is available here.

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