(Article changed on March 2, 2014 at 10:03)
The pro-gun lobby has successfully changed the gun violence argument from asking how mass shooters pass background checks and buy guns legally to why weren't there more guns around . Almost every mass shooter from Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech), James Holmes (Aurora), Jared Loughner (Tucson) and Stephen Phillip Kazmierczak (Northern Illinois University) to the more recent shooters, Aaron Alexis (Navy Yard) and Paul Ciancia (LAX airport) sailed through their background checks and bought the weapons legally.
These facts unseat the pro-gun lobby's meme that "criminals won't obey laws" because these criminals did obey laws--and the law smiled on them. (Nor did Adam Lanza's mother break laws in amassing her many weapons and regularly taking her son to shooting ranges.) So now the pro-gun lobby wants to pretend the issue isn't the EZ procurement of guns but lack of more guns to stop the bad guys who easily procured them so easily.
The "gun-free zone" meme is not just an insult to every citizen who does not want to live in an armed society, it is an insult to law enforcement personnel who give their lives to protect us. By implying that the lack of "armed citizens" is the reason for gun deaths in a shooting, it actually equates cop wannabes like George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn (the loud music shooter) with hired and trained law enforcement personnel.
Open and concealed carriers are so full of fear, they are afraid to go where normal people go--including children, the elderly and 90 lb women--every day unless they have their loaded lethal weapons. They clearly have a mental problem. Yet they parlay this cowardice into some kind of public service in which they are protecting you and me. Most, if not all, examples of "armed citizens" protecting the public are anecdotal and there are even instances where the "armed citizens" added to the bloodshed. When the ABC news show 20/20 conducted an experiment of "carriers" protecting against an armed assailant they failed miserably, sometimes even failing to get their gun out or a shot off.
According to the "gun-free zone" meme, a mass shooter chooses a gun-free zone because no one will shoot back. Does anyone believe Aaron Alexis chose the Navy Yard or Paul Ciancia (LAX airport) because they were "soft targets" with no armed guards? Or the Fort Hood shooter? Hello? But there weren't "armed citizens" in the actual room the pro-gun lobby would whine as if the 20/20 experiment and other instances haven't buried this fallacy once and for all.
"Crazy people shoot up schools and other institutions because they are crazy and harbor some angst toward those institutions," wrote a recent poster on our website. "It's the same reason they tend to shoot family members or close acquaintances. They are not targeting 'soft targets,' they are targeting places with lots of people, lots of publicity, and some sort of revenge motive. There is no evidence that these crazy people would be in ANY way discouraged by a minimally trained civilian waiting to pull his gun for the first time. Statistically, such a person will only serve to increase the chaos and help the shooter claim more victims in the crossfire."