Whether it’s politicians larding up disaster relief appropriations bills with their pet projects, or leveraging national emotional crises such as the one set off by the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, into the impetus for tired gun control ideas, the politics of opportunity are always with us.
And when I use the word “tired” I really mean it. Already Senator Diane Feinstein is vowing to drag Assault Weapons Ban legislation back from the grave, hoping that grief over dead elementary kids in Connecticut will translate into political will for less gun freedom.
It’s not necessarily inappropriate to use moments like these to debate ideas, though, but instead of rehashing ground long-ago covered maybe it’s time to talk about some new ideas.
Instead of trying to implement policies to prevent something as random and unpredictable as someone losing their mind and attacking the public at large (something eerily reminiscent of “precrime” efforts Phillip K. Dick wrote about in The Minority Report) how about we better equip the public to respond to these inevitable attacks?
America has been trending toward more permissive gun policies for some time. Gun sales have skyrocketed in recent years, and today 49 states have a policy allowing for citizens to receive a permit to carry their firearms concealed. Some might argue that this trend toward embracing firearms as self defense is a big reason why violent crime in America has been trending downward (something I wrote about yesterday).
But one area where this trend hasn’t touched are the “gun free zones” which surround this nation’s schools and campuses. Schools and campuses that, in something that should hardly be considered coincidence, are all too often the targets of these shooters.
So here’s a crazy idea: Why not let the people who live in work in these “gun free zones” carry guns to defend themselves? “I’m not sure so…I wouldn’t want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing,” former Secretary of Education William Bennett said on NBC’s Meet The Press.
“I wish to God she would have had an M4 in her office locked up,” said Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert on Fox News Sunday. “So when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands, But she takes him out, takes his head off before he could kill those precious kids.”
Talk of taking the killer’s head off may seem brash, but this idea has merit.
I don’t have a lot of confidence in the government’s ability to combat crime by limiting access to weapons – it doesn’t seem to have worked in some of this nation’s most stringent gun control enclaves which also claim some of the nation’s worse crime records – and I have even less confidence in the government’s ability to determine who might be too dangerous to own a weapon without sweeping up far too many law-abiding Americans who don’t deserve to have their rights limited.
But what I do have confidence in is the ability of individual Americans to defend themselves, and their friends and loved ones, when enabled to do so.
So, yes, let’s end the false security of “gun free zones” before any more of them become killing zones. Let’s allow CCW license holders to bring their guns to those zones and, for crying out loud, let’s train some of the employees who work in these zones to use and carry firearms.