GOP Congressman Introduces Bill To Abolish Gun-Free School Zones

gun-free zonesWhen 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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  • Jim Bean

    “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.”

    I read that five time and am still unable to detect a flaw or departure from rational or logic in that argument.

    • NotThatGreg

      The assumption that guns carried into schools for such self-protection will be used effectively, and will never be used for any other purpose by their owners, or by others who might take them from their owners.

      • Jim Bean

        You have to weigh that uncertainty against the certainty that otherwise, when a bad guy with a gun enters a school, bad things will continue to happen until the bad guy says its time for them to stop. Its not a perfect world and we don’t have the capacity to make it perfect. We DO have the capacity do things that make it less imperfect.

      • NotThatGreg

        Indeed. And do you perform such weighing based on a gut feeling, or on actual not-concocted-by-the-NRA numbers?

        And you need to consider the actions of the worst, most irresponsible citizens who are still able to legally acquire a weapon. Those are the ones who will be quickest to use it when they judge it to be appropriate. Or who will lose track of where it is.

      • Jim Bean

        I think I would be supported by the evidence if I pointed out that those ‘citizens who are still able to legally acquire a weapon’ are the ones least likely to use it inappropriately.

      • NotThatGreg

        Jim, I agree with that statement as far as it goes. But it evades the point. There is still a spectrum amongst that group, no? If many are carrying guns, and 99% behaving responsibly and 1% not, then that 1% is a bigger problem, higher risk, than the possible but relatively very rare lunatic shooter that may wander in.

      • Jim Bean

        I see what your saying but that assumes the one behaving irresponsibly wouldn’t otherwise be carrying a gun anyway. Ten’s of millions of hunters get their guns out of mothballs each fall and go out and carry them around. Either all hunters are all responsible or your theory has a flaw.

      • SacJP

        A risk more than offset by the 99% who are responsible and who are now able to carry the best available tool to protect themselves and those under their care.

      • NotThatGreg

        So, for instance, if one those 1% were to accidentally shoot your 4-year old [or, manages their gun so badly that their 5 year old gets it, and shoots someone under your care] then that risk is more than offset by the fact that you or one of the other 99% can shoot back?

      • SacJP

        Yes, absolutely. I’ll certainly tolerate the less than 1 in 1000 chance for me and for each person I love to be killed in a gun homicide when the alternative is the surrender of the fundamental right to the effective tools for self defense. In fact it could be 10x worse and I’d still make that trade without blinking.

      • NotThatGreg

        Well, the difference in ‘odds’ could be that I wasn’t talking about homicides. The “1%” I refer to is the presumed 1% of gun owners who are not nearly as responsible as you. And who are potentially carrying 100% of the time, and an accident waiting to happen to *somebody*, probably not you, of course. Those accidents are happening all the time – and the more people are carrying, the larger number of guns that 1% becomes. And being able to defend yourself against *them* doesn’t apply, since they have no intent to harm you in the first place.

        Has it occurred to you that there could be many qualified teachers who would prefer *not* to be packing? I don’t want someone carrying a gun, as part of their job, who doesn’t want to take on the required extra training and responsibility. Do you? Should we disqualify them as teachers?

      • SacJP

        Of course many qualified teachers wouldn’t be armed, and many unqualified teachers would either be legally disqualified or would self select not be carry a weapon.

        I’m 100% okay with schools requiring any teacher who wants to carry on school grounds to take the same POST training the police do, take an extra class on the specifics of gun safety around kids, but if any teacher is willing to jump through these hoops they should have every right to excercise their 2nd amendment rights in their place of employment (while protecting those kids in their care.)

        As far as any psychological or criminal background issues that would preclude safe carry around kids those same things should be screened for before they’re ever allowed to be alone with other peoples’ kids in the first place and should be already dealt with by the time they are teachers.

    • Ian Davis

      Jim
      How are we supposed to tell the good guys with guns from the bad ones, until they start shooting? And isnt there a concern that children (particularly the younger ones) might get hold of these weapons and fire them either accidentally, or as a “joke” or on a dare, or simply because someone pissed them off in homeroom? Accidental shootings by young children happen in people’s homes all the time. And don’t I have the right to expect that MY children are protected from that risk at school if nowhere else? Why does your constitutional right to own a gun trump my right to keep my children the hell away from guns?

      • Jim Bean

        No one is supposed to in or around the school who hasn’t been identified. Hell, my wife and I have been run off tennis courts a hundred yards from a school when it was in session.

      • Ian Davis

        Sure, life is full of risks, but one can take steps to alleviate or at least minimize some of them. For example, I can choose to drive my kid to school rather than have him take the bus. I can insist that the bus driver not be drunk or visually impaired. I can insist that football coaches make their players wear correct padding and observe concussion guidelines. Or just not have my kids play football. But gun accidents involving children can only happen when children have access to guns – why take that risk? Statistically more kids die from accidental shootings at home than die in school shootings and someone else having a gun at school for dubious reasons increases the risk to my child unnecessarily.

      • Jim Bean

        Making schools safe havens for people bent on killing kids IS the risk.

      • Ian Davis

        Well, I guess at the end of the day, that is where our risk assessments fundamentally differ – do we increase the risk of accidental shootings at schools in order to protect kids from school shooters, or do we reduce the risk of accidental shootings at school while increasing the risk that we make schools “safe havens” for people hell bent on killing kids? I dont think we will ever come to a consensus on that point, I only know that I would pull my kids out of any school that would give up its gun-free status.

      • Jim Bean

        A lot of kids have been ‘pulled’ out of schools WITH gun-free status already.
        But don’t misunderstand. I don’t think I know the answer. I DO know that if you always board the same train you always arrive at the same station.

      • Doug Cochran

        The risk of turning schools into the OK corral is much greater. I’ve yet to see any evidence that schools are chosen primarily because they are gun-free zones. If you know of any, feel free to provide links.

      • SacJP

        Who cares whether they are chosen more for it or not, the fact remains they ARE sometimes chosen and the one tool that the ‘good guys’ might’ve used to protect the kids under their care has been taken away by these stupid laws.

        If schools want to add extra training and safety requirements for teachers and administrators to be able to concealed carry then so be it, but in the world we live in under which the police have no responsibility (or ability) to protect you it makes no sense to completely prohibit the best tool to protect one’s self.

      • Jim Bean

        If there is someone no one knows on school property during school hours its assumed he’s a bad guy until proven otherwise. Accidental shootings happen. School bus accidents happen. Football deaths happen.

  • Jim Valley

    As always, the conservative response to gun violence is “more guns, more guns, more guns”. We just had a story about a robbery at a gun store in Kansas in which one person was killed. Was THAT a “gun-free zone”? And where was the good guy with a gun to prevent the violence and death? If not there, where then?

    • SacJP

      The government’s job isn’t to keep you safe. That’s your own responsibility. Get that through your thick skull and stop demanding that everyone else relinquish their rights to some paternalistic government keeper.

      • Jim Valley

        “The government’s job isn’t to keep you safe.”

        Why are police and fire forces around the country operated by the government then?

      • SacJP

        Police are in place to enforce the law, consisting of investigating and punishing crimes after the fact. In other words they exist to preserve the existing social order. The Supreme Court has outright stated they have no obligation whatsoever to protect you (even if you are being raped, tortured, and killed right in front of them and it’s fully in their power to protect you.) Even worse they regularly kill innocent people to protect their own safety usually with no punishment whatsoever.

        The situation with the fire departments is similar though not as grim. Their primary function is to prevent the spread of fires, to prevent the destruction of valuable property, and even though they are the most ‘protective’ of the governmental functions their protective role is at most incidental, and they have no obligation whatsoever to keep you safe (and aren’t capable of doing so even if they wanted to.) The peace officers of past decades were closer to this (though it still wasn’t their responsibility to keep you safe.)

        Hopefully your worldview and impression of what governments do and are actually good for will grow to become more in line with reality. The government doesn’t take over where your parents left off, and it’s a sad sick person that hands over freedom in hopes that the state will protect them.

      • Jim Valley

        Your arrogant condescension is not appreciated.

      • SacJP

        Your naiive expectation that the government is there to protect you endangers us all. When attitudes like yours are expressed that put everyone at risk of perpetual tyranny your feelings are the least of my concerns.

      • Donald Ingram

        Jim, sac is right, there is case law that states law enforcement is not duty bound to protect you as a private citizen. I think maybe you should study up on who can protect who…..Look up the case Warren vs D.C, that would be a start…..

  • Kenneth Johnson

    but did they mandate bullet proof vests for children? And what their stand on cop killer bullets? Just asking…

  • wendy

    I’m in NY and they just lifted the ban on cell phones! I guess being a NYer and not exposed to guns in my lifetime, I admit clueless about the obsession or need for guns. I guess its a cultural thing. Do they want the kids to bring guns to class? That was not sarcasm. What age if any are guns allowed in these gun-loving states?

    • SacJP

      Of course not. This discussion is about responsible law abiding adults, and does not undermine the argument that schools should require added training and rules for any employee to be able to carry a weapon.

      As a New Yorker you live someplace with such a high population density that in many instances an armed police officer is a few minutes away at most, but for the rest of us waiting 30 minutes for a policeman to come ‘protect’ us, when they have absolutely no obligation to do so, is a losing proposition.

  • wendy

    Just to add, living in NY, (for a loooong time) one would maybe assume we walk around in fear because of the strictest gun laws in the country. Yet, I have NEVER once felt worried that anyone would shoot me. Maybe I’m brave, but I feel totally safe here. My son goes to public HS, and I don’t lose sleep about shootings, which are non-existant here. I would feel way worse with people having guns at his school, because what if a teacher or administrative personnel is having a terrible day and decides to kill a student because of some undiagnosed bi-polar disease or feeling rage.

    • SacJP

      If a teacher decides to shoot your kid some ‘gun free zone’ law isn’t going to stop them. However another teacher, or a principle, who is in their right mind and has a safely stored weapon just might. Your feelings are no basis on which to deny basic rights. If you want to disarm teachers you damn well better put an armed guard within a moments reach of them and who has a duty to protect them.

      • wendy

        As long as said security guards dont suffer an undermined mental illness. Fingers crossed.

      • SacJP

        Indeed. There is no true substitute to freedom.

      • wendy

        I will say that when visiting texas, the thought of a bar room brawl with a bunch of angry dtunk cowboys pack

  • JoeNCA

    This is so ridiculous. “Gun free” means “unauthorized gun free.” Authorized people who are SCREENED, TRAINED and APPROVED to do so may have guns, such as security guards and police officers.

    Exactly why does allowing untrained, unauthorized and unapproved people have guns in schools make them “safe”?

    Essentially this guy wants to turn every school into Florida, and if you want George Zimmerman in your kid’s kindergarten class, go ahead, but I don’t want him in mine.

  • Macdoodle

    Seems to me most of these shootings happen in gun free zones.Just goes to show how safe these zones keep you.Kind of like a restraining order for abused women.It is just a piece of paper that grants a false sense of security.If the abuser decides he is going to kill that lady that piece of paper isn’t going to do squat to protect her.

  • Gregory Mason

    We have cocky police killing unarmed people. What makes you think cockey citizens wont do the same.

    • SacJP

      Because we don’t now and plenty of states have widely used concealed carry…

      I’d bet it has to do with the fact the police know that they are going to get away with it.

  • iccg

    I submit, Sir, that you are a fool.

  • Eric

    Wow. A lot of bashing in that article. First, 1000 feet of space for the purpose of breaking the law simply for possessing a firearm unless you’re a cop on duty, a CCW holder licenced by the state or for a school sanctioned event, regardless if the school is in session or not is ridiculous. It carries a 5 year penalty for simply possessing a weapon unless its locked up in your trunk in a container according to federal law. Now, I don’t know where any of you people live, but this creates a large interconnecting series of areas for one to be arrested in. But guess what, this law is practically unenforceable and another feel good attempt for some perceived feeling of safety. It sure didn’t stop he who will not be named from illegally acquiring the most commonly used (but not in the commission of a crime, go figure) and using it to murder 7 adults and 20 children. Didn’t stop that other nameless piece of shit from shooting up Virginia tech. Didn’t stop Columbine. The government’s best advice, lock the door and hide under your desk, cause that worked out really well, eh? Educators, staff, faculty and law abiding citizens should be allowed to carry IF THEY SO CHOOSE. That is the beauty of the civil right to keep and bear arms. No one is forcing it down your throats, you’re free to own and use a firearm for lawful purposes if you want. Oh, and the thing about abortion, I didn’t see anything in the constitution about being able to kill your baby. After 20 weeks it has most of its form and is beginning to develop eyes, noses, ears, lips, and is another human being. But I’m pro choice, but I’m definitely against abortion. But I wouldn’t want my personal feelings to become law without good fact based reason. Hopefully toss comment doesn’t get flagged and deleted but it probably will, because its not a discussion the anti-gun crowd (who personally are some of the most violent, angry, loud individuals I ever had the displeasure of dealing with) want to have. They want an echo chamber, and many seem to be ok with armed thugs of the federal and state government to kick in there door, take their kids and outright murder law abiding gun owners. Sorry about the rant but myself, others like me and the NRA, NSSF, what have you don’t want violent criminals or mentally insane people to have guns, or allow law abiding citizens to be deprived of the right to keep and bear arms without due process. So please stop tossing us in the same group of crazies, gang bangers and suicidal people that make up the majority of “gun violence victims” in this country. I am not a member of the NRA.

  • wendy

    At the risk of being critized, maybe the US should become the wild west again. Guns for all! Better yet, o e for each hand. Hopefully the good guys with the guns will prevail.

    • SacJP

      The Wild West wasn’t actually that ‘wild’. Our second amendment already guarantees guns for all (all who want them, can pay for them, and who are law abiding.) Why would anyone care about law abiding citizens having weapons? The criminals have them anyway, and the rest of us already put our lives in each other’s hands every time we drive down the road. Leave people free and you’ll find only a small fraction choose to carry guns.

      • wendy

        I think the differences in opinions on gun laws boil down to cultural differences. Being from NYC, guns r a non issue in my life. Yet someone from Texas, where guns are a common part of the culture feel threatened when part of their routine gets questioned.
        Different cultures, different needs