CPRC academic board member Professor Tim Groseclose and Dr. John Lott wrote a piece about the shooting last week at UCLA. Their piece begins this way:
The fatal shooting at UCLA wasn’t supposed to happen. Late last year, California passed a ban on people being able to carry a permitted concealed handgun on college campuses. California instituted the ban despite the previous rule being in effect for over 100 years without a single example of any problem.
Both of the authors here have taught at UCLA, and we don’t take these arguments lightly.
Suppose a criminal comes upon your home and sees a sign announcing, “Gun Free Zone.” How would he respond? Unless he thinks that the homeowner is playing a joke on him, the sign would put his mind at ease and make him more likely to break in.
The shooting last week at the campus engineering building took place only about 400 yards from the UCLA police station. But despite police being so important in stopping crime, this case again illustrated a simple fact: Police virtually always arrive on a crime scene after the crime occurs.
Time after time, killers consciously avoid places where victims might be able to defend themselves.
Take a look at mass public shootings. Since at least 1950, all but three public mass shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, there have been no exceptions. Every mass public shooting has occurred in places where general citizens are not allowed to have guns. And Europe is no stranger to mass shootings, with a fatality rate virtually the same as that in the U.S.
With dozens of cases where concealed weapon permit holders have clearly stopped what would have been mass public shootings, it is understandable that killers avoid places where they can’t kill a large number of people.
Today, 12 states mandate that permit holders are allowed to carry guns on public college campuses. An additional 21 states leave it up to the university. But these legal restrictions largely didn’t exist before the early 1990s.
Those advocating gun-free zones argue that permit holders will accidentally shoot bystanders. Or that arriving police will shoot anyone with a gun, including the permit holders. At colleges, fears are raised that students will get drunk and misuse guns. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.