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By Larry Pratt
March 29, 2008

April 16 is the anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre. We are certain to hear about the need to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys. Of course, that means more gun control.

Schools are generally gun free zones by law. There are exceptions, the biggest being all of Utah's state-run universities. No school shootings have occurred in that state. But the multiple killings that have occurred at various schools around the country have all taken place in areas which have been legally rendered as gun free zones.

Those who do not believe in self defense think that safety will come by making it even harder for people to get guns. They warn us that if we loosen up on these gun free zones and allow students and staff who have carry permits to transport a handgun on their person ... that it will only lead to bystanders being hurt or killed. But how do they know that?

The answer is, they don't. They have zero examples of armed defenders harming (let alone killing) innocent bystanders while stopping multiple killers. In fact, in spite of gun free laws, we have three cases where defenders left their campus, ran to their
vehicles, got their guns and returned to stop the shooters. They never even had to fire.

It was enough for the killers to see that they had lost control of their murder-suicide scheme to give up. This is typical of approximately 97 percent of the 2,500,000 cases of armed self defense in America each year. In only three percent of the cases is a gun fired, and that does not mean that the perpetrator is even wounded, let alone killed.

So, we have a massive amount of data to show that armed Americans are amazingly self-controlled, even in the face of danger. They are obviously not carrying their guns so they can find a pretext to shoot somebody.

Let's look at a recent example of armed self defense where shots were fired. A very well-armed murderer shot and killed two sisters in the parking lot of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He then entered the building where he was engaged by some of the twenty church members who had volunteered for the security team. When Jeanne Assam told the shooter to drop his gun, he swung around, firing in an attempt to shoot her. She shot him repeatedly until he fell mortally wounded. He then took his own life.

No innocent bystanders were killed inside the New Life Church, and none were shot by the security team.

A similar outcome occurred in Jerusalem at a yeshiva, a Hebrew seminary. A Muslim terrorist spent some 15 minutes gunning down students (ultimately killing eight). When police responded to the scene, they did not enter the building, similar to the police response at Columbine. A part-time student who lives nearby entered the building, and leaning out over a balcony, fired twice, wounding the terrorist in another room.

A second part-time student arrived just after that and finished him off. The second defender had grabbed a policeman's hat off one of the onlooking officers. He figured that would keep him from being confused as a terrorist by the first defender.

And, as at the New Life Church, the defenders shot no bystanders.

If we are genuinely concerned about defending life and protecting students, which policy has the track record worth emulating? On the one hand we have those advocating gun free zones who have only rivers of blood and piles of bodies to show for their policy. On the other hand, we have those advocating armed self defense who are batting a thousand.

We are told that having students or faculty (with concealed handgun permits) carrying guns scares many students and teachers. Maybe so. What is worse ... being scared or being dead?

� 2008 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:  

E-Mail: [email protected]

Either Pratt or another GOA spokesman is available for press interviews.









And the freedom protected in the Second Amendment is a right
belonging, without discrimination, to all of America’s citizens.