Contact: Paul C. Velte IV
Peaceable Texans for Firearm Rights
Thursday, April 22, 1999
Austin - Gun controllers have leaped on the opportunity presented by this week's murder spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, to call for still more gun control laws. While Peaceable Texans abhors the terrible crime, we cannot sit idly by while opportunists attempt to capitalize upon this tragedy to further their political ambitions for more useless and counter-productive gun "control" laws.
We do not use the words "useless" or "counterproductive" casually. Mass public shootings have been the subject of study by Professor John Lott of the University of Chicago, and his results have been published in various forums (e.g., L.A. Times, May 25, 1998, p. B5). Defining "mass public shootings" as incidents where two or more people were shot in a public place, Prof. Lott's findings show an undeniable 84% decline in the number of mass public shootings in the states that had adopted laws giving citizens the right to carry firearms since 1977. The number of deaths from such shootings likewise declined by 90%. Colorado does not have a right-to-carry law. Lott rightly concluded that "[a]ttempts to outlaw guns from schools . . .. Instead of making schools safe for children . . . have made them safe for those intent on harming our children."
In October 1997, it was an armed vice-principal that stopped a student on a shooting spree at his school in Pearl, Mississippi. Assistant VP Joel Myrick broke federal law by keeping his handgun in his vehicle in the school's parking lot, but it is a good thing he did. For if he had not, many others might have died.
While the causes of the wanton violence we saw in Colorado are complex, part of the blame lies with the Federal Gun Free School Zones Act. Although this law had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, a Republican-controlled Congress re-enacted it in 1996. Noted the founder of Peaceable Texans, Paul Velte, "This federal law does nothing to protect school children, as we have seen in Columbine High School and other school shooting incidents. This law simply provides no deterrent to murderers and madmen. Instead, it makes every school in the nation a place where psychopaths know no one will be able to stop them."