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At the Washington Times: The risks of a gun-free Capitol

17 Dec , 2018  

Dr. John Lott has a new op-ed at the Washington Times about Democrats promising to ban Congressmen from being able to have guns on Capitol grounds. The piece starts this way:

Letting legislators bring guns onto the U.S. Capitol grounds or into their offices hasn’t been a problem for 242 years. But Democrats are now promising to end that practice when they retake control of the House of Representatives next month.

Congressman Jared Huffman, California Democrat, claims that the shooting attack against Republicans in 2017 convinced him of the need for a change. Mr. Huffman worries that “our political climate is too volatile” for legislators to carry guns. Mr. Huffman now has the support of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, also a California Democrat, who has vowed to change the policy if she becomes House speaker in January.

Mr. Huffman has the problem backward. The Republican legislators only survived the shooting at their baseball practice because of Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s security detail, to which the Louisiana Republican was entitled as a member of the House leadership. There would have been a horrible massacre if not for the Capitol Police.

At least five of the congressmen had concealed handgun permits from their home states. At least one aide also revealed that he had a permit. Others may be reluctant to announce publicly that they carry, since it’s better that potential attackers do not know who is armed. When attackers know who is armed, they know who to shoot first. Uniformed police are practically wearing a neon sign flashing: “I have a gun. Shoot me first.”

But the District of Columbia’s gun regulations meant that no one had a permitted, concealed handgun at the congressional baseball practice. Virginia, where the attack occurred, honors permits from every other state. But as Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama told me last year: “My residence is in the District of Columbia, which means that it would have been illegal for me to take my weapon with me to the ballpark — about a 9-mile bike ride — and it would have also been illegal for me to come from Virginia back into D.C. with my weapon.”

The problem with gun-free zones, which ban law-abiding civilians from carrying, is that they don’t scare off criminals. They have just the opposite effect. Disarming our legislators on their way to and from the Capitol buildings leaves easy targets to criminals and terrorists.

Mrs. Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders with security details won’t have too much to worry about, but the rule change will prevent rank-and-file members from protecting themselves and their staff.

The United States has more than 17.3 million handgun permit holders — about 7.2 percent of the 21-and-over population. How do Mr. Clemmons and other Democrat lawmakers ever go to a mall, a restaurant, or a movie theater?

The U.S. Capitol’s existing rules aren’t an anomaly, and places with even more liberal regulations haven’t experienced problems. At least 21 states allow some form of permitted handgun carry within public areas of their legislative bodies.

For example, Kentucky allows permitted concealed carry in legislative areas, including the state capitol. You must carry your gun openly if you attend a legislative meeting, though no permit is required.

In Texas, any concealed handgun permit holder can carry in the state capitol. Registered permit holders get to skip the metal detector, since they have already passed a criminal background check. After a while, lobbyists and journalists figured this out and got their own permits.

While Democrats are concerned that guns in capitol buildings will be used to purposefully kill people, all they have been able to dig up is a single accidental discharge in Kentucky in January 2014. No one was harmed.

Since 1950, 98 percent of America’s public mass shootings have occurred in areas where guns are prohibited to the general public. In Europe, every mass shooting has happened in a gun-free zone. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.

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2 Responses

  1. Tom Campbell says:

    Brain deficient Demos, such as Pelosi and Huffman, both notably from The People’s Autocracy of California, have just invited a mass shooting or an assassination of our legislators, were this idiotic idea to be effected.
    What is it about guns vs murders that these types of people cannot, do not, or refuse to understand?

  2. Tionico says:

    This almost makes me wonder if these two and others aren’t carefully setting the stage for a serious shooting spree in the Capitol buildings. They could see to the elimination of a certain few key congressmen…… to their own advantage.

    In my state, anyone can carry openly and those with Mother May I Cards may carry concealed anywhere in the capitol campus except the Supreme COurt building… which, as are all other courtrooms in the state, gun free zones, BUT there are metal detectors and individual searched/patdowns for everyone entering, and those who announce themselves as being armed upon approach are given a key to a secure guarded storage locker for their handgun, which key they carry with them until their departure when they reclaim their property. I have personally carried, concealed, on the Senate floor during session, and I once attended a bill signing by the governor whilst armed. State police were there, perhaps fifty citizens and a few legislators, and I in their midst quietly armed……. legally.

    Pelosi and her sidekick are delusional, or utterly corropt. (both?)T

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