When American voters handed over control of the United States Senate last November in a fit of apathy, I knew that the Republican Party would point to it as a mandate from voters and proof that our country wanted their policies as they would attempt to push their agenda down our throats.
Sure enough, Congressional Republicans did exactly that. Emboldened by now having both the House and Senate in their grasp, Republican lawmakers introduced five anti-abortion laws within the first three days. One of these laws included a nationwide ban on abortions after 20 weeks which is in violation of the Constitution, but hey, that pesky Constitution is just a piece of paper, right?
The one amendment to the Constitution that they sure do love and claim to understand perfectly is the Second Amendment, the one that gives them the perceived right to take guns anywhere and everywhere they want, even into a classroom if that’s what they want to do. Seriously, there are quite a few people who actually think that their right to own a firearm also means that they can take a gun into a private establishment against the wishes of the owners, or down the halls of your local elementary school because “Murica,” apparently.
In all of the hullabaloo going on with the Steve Scalise scandal and the Charlie Hebdo shooting in France, another little piece of legislation which was introduced on Tuesday slid underneath the radar:
Yesterday, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced H.R. 86, the Safe Students Act, which would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.
The bill, originally introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in 2007, repeals the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990, which makes it “unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.” In 1995, the Supreme Court held the GFSZA unconstitutional, which prompted Congress to amend the bill in 1996. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of the amended Act.
“Gun-free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments,” said Massie. “Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”
Representative Massie concluded: “A bigger federal government can’t solve this problem. Weapons bans and gun-free zones are unconstitutional. They do not and cannot prevent criminals or the mentally ill from committing acts of violence. But they often prevent victims of such violence from protecting themselves.”
As John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime writes, “Ask yourself: Would you feel safer with a sign on your house saying ‘this house is a gun-free zone’? But if you wouldn’t put these signs on your home, why put them elsewhere?”
Original Cosponsors include: Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC).
Congressman Massie is Chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus in the 114th Congress. (Source)
Now, obviously everyone who owns a gun isn’t a NRA-worshipping idiot who believes their AR-15 is the only thing that stands between their children and the legions of Obama’s UN special forces who will any day now swoop their kids up and put them all in FEMA camps. I personally own and am proficient in the use of a variety of firearms, but you’re not going to see me carry a gun into a local school because the NRA told me that I need to do so to protect my kids from criminals or mentally ill gunmen.
In this press release, Congressman Massie quotes John Lott, a propagandist for the NRA and gun lobbies, as justification for abolishing gun-free school zones. As my friend Chad R. MacDonald points out, Lott is the guy they go to for talking points whenever there’s a school shooting or other acts of violence involving a firearm that make the national news.
Lott is most known for his book “More Guns, Less Crime” which exhorts the value of, you guessed it, more guns to decrease crime. This is a message the gun lobbies like of course, and so Lott gets paid to spread that message. He is a frequent “expert” called upon whenever the topic of guns comes up, and he writes a column for Fox News where he continues to forward a pro-gun agenda. And, whenever there is a mass shooting in America, there’s John Lott appearing on television to downplay the gun violence issue.
The problem is that the research he used to base his book upon is in dispute. Accusations have been leveled at Lott of fraudulence, (proven here) to which he has responded with claims that he lost his data in a computer crash. In the meantime, Lott’s books,based upon questionable data as they are, have become the cornerstone of gun lobby arguments and their base, which can prove rabid in their uncompromising stances. As this writer has experienced, when one speaks out against the gun lobbies, expect extreme resistance from gun advocates. (Source)
Yet, despite John Lott’s record of producing flawed and questionable data, Congressman Massie pushed forward with this asinine legislation – because that’s what the gun lobby and the NRA want. The NRA, despite their Eddie Eagle gun safety mascot and program, doesn’t exist to safeguard Second Amendment rights or the rights of sportsmen and women anymore. The NRA stopped being about legitimate gun rights and safety years ago; instead they’ve become a fearmongering advertising arm of the gun industry.
Congressman Massie’s legislation is not only wrong, but it is dangerous. A favorite talking point of the gun lobby is that gun-free zones don’t stop school shootings, but that’s not the intended purpose of gun-free school zones. Criminals and the mentally ill don’t care about signs but we don’t need armed and untrained people carrying weapons in schools either. Gun-free zones are to keep our children safe and to provide an additional level of charges that can be brought against someone who does violate the law by bringing weapons on school property. These zones are meant to discourage individuals from bringing a gun to a school where it could be used in a spontaneous argument or accidentally discharged.
Those are the real, legitimate reasons for gun-free school zones, but neither the gun lobby or Congressman Massie will admit that.
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