William A. Jacobson, a Cornell School of Law professor, criticized gun-free zones in a USA Today article published on Sunday. Jacobson said that gun-free zones are only effective at keeping armed, good-intentioned people from entering them. People with bad intentions, however, do not obey the gun-free zone signs.
"Gun-free zones presume the good intentions of those entering the zone. And the overwhelming majority have such good intentions. But for those who have bad intentions, gun-free zones turn schools and other locations into shooting galleries."Mr. Jacobson suggested that gun-free zones only help to enable mass killings, not prevent them.
"In almost all mass shooting situations, particularly at schools, the common theme is a gun-free zone, with the shooter being the only one armed person in the building for minutes or longer."According to the data, Professor Jacobson appears to be correct in his assertion that gun-free zones attract mass-murderers. Last year, the Crime Prevention Research Center released a report that clearly showed a correlation between gun-free zones and mass shootings. The CPRC report found that between January 2009 and July 2014, 92 percent of mass shootings happened in gun-free zones.
Gun rights activists have long advocated for the removal of gun-free areas. They, like Mr. Jacobson, believe the gun-free zones attract those who wish to harm others. They argue that instead of going to a place where armed citizens may fight back, the mass-murderers are drawn to areas where law-abiding citizens are unarmed.
"And in each case, the shooter couldn't care less about the gun-free nature of the building, and if anything, was drawn to such a location."At the end of his article, Professor Jacobson suggests we get rid of gun-free zones altogether. He believes doing away with the gun-free areas would help to reduce the number of mass killings in the United States.
The tragic Oregon Community College shooting has reignited the debate over gun control in the United States. President Obama released a statement similar to those he has released in the wake of past mass shootings.
Obama believes that the only way to curb gun violence is by passing legislation that further restricts Americans' access to firearms. In his statement, the president scoffed at the idea that more firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens would help to prevent mass shootings.
"And what's become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation. Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: We need more guns, they'll argue. Fewer gun safety laws."In his call for more gun regulation, Obama mentioned countries like the United Kingdom and Australia who have enacted strict gun ownership laws. He suggested that the United States should enact similar laws in order to prevent future mass shootings.
While President Obama and his democrat colleagues make renewed calls for gun-control legislation, conservatives are opposing further gun restrictions. Most Republican candidates addressed the recent college shooting and expressed their belief that more gun control is not the answer.
Republican presidential candidate and former Florida governor Jeb Bush argued that gun control was an impulse decision and not the right thing to do. In his comments on the issue, Jeb also said "stuff happens" which ignited fierce backlash on social media. Though his remark was taken out of context, Bush apologized and said he shouldn't have used the word "stuff."
Another Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, said that armed teachers could have stopped the tragedy at the Oregon Community College. In his response to the shooting, Trump bashed gun-free zones and put at least some of the blame on the country's mental health system.
[Photo by Scott Olsen / Getty Images]