In the aftermath of the October 1 shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, that resulted in the deaths of 10 people, including the shooter, the predicable calls for more gun control came from those on the Left. However, many of those calling for anti-gun measures such as universal background checks, gun registration, and bans on “assault weapons” ignore the fact that practically all mass shootings like the one in Oregon have taken place in “gun-free” zones.
This point was made in several articles written recently by knowledgeable authors who are experts in the area of guns and crime.
One of these writers, John R. Lott Jr., is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. In an October 7 article posted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lott noted that the gun-control law that President Obama and fellow Democrats have constantly promoted wouldn’t have stopped the shooting at Umpqua Community College — where expanded background checks have been in place since August — nor would it have stopped any of the other mass public shootings that have occurred during Obama’s presidency.
Lott made the additional point that practically all mass public shootings take place in what are deemed “gun-free zones,” including the Oregon shooting. Noted Lott:
If the media more regularly reported when a shooting occurs in a gun-free zone, more people would realize that gun-control laws don’t deter criminals who are looking for select targets where people can’t fight back. More Americans would come to feel that gun ownership makes them safer.
While acknowledging that Oregon law does allows those with concealed handgun permits to carry their weapons on school property, Lott noted that this right is largely negated by the schools’ practice of placing weapons bans in both faculty and student handbooks. This disarmament is practiced so fanatically that Umpqua president Rita Calvin will not even let the college’s security guards carry guns.
Lott concluded, “What all these rules mean is that no potential victims — students, faculty, or those unaffiliated with the college — were able to defend themselves in the classroom where the attack occurred.”
A similar point was made in an October 7 article in the Washington Times by J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is a former Ohio secretary of state and mayor of Cincinnati, and is a senior fellow and policy board member of the American Civil Rights Union. Blackwell referred back to a study released by Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center last year, indicating that 92 percent of mass shootings since 2009 have taken place in designated gun-free zones.
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