Repeal The Gun Free School Zones Act


Another mass shooting, and another round of talking heads is clamoring for “common-sense” gun control.  The latest massacre, at Santa Fe High School in Texas, lead to the murder of 10 people by deranged teenager Dimitrious Pagourtzis, who stole the firearms from his father. After suffering intense humiliation from a would-be girlfriend, he went on a shooting spree in unhinged retaliation. This is beyond terrible. The rapid pace of gun massacres must be confronted, especially at public schools.

The media are not helping, of course. They over-cover these tragedies and relentlessly push a gun control agenda. We still don’t know what happened in Las Vegas (I can tell you, just hold on a sec). Following the Santa Fe shooting, CNN fudged the numbers, lumping in gang-shootings and accidental deaths with the mass shootings that have targeted schools. They also mocked Texas Lieutenant Governor Patrick, claiming that he blamed the number of exits and entrances to the high school. Honestly, diminishing the number of entrances in a school will better protect schools. Even in California, school boards are reducing the number of ways anyone can enter a school, and those proposals can eliminate dangerous malefactors. David Hogg and the rest of the Parkland crew with their left-wing mainstream media agents like the Los Angeles Times focus on the “mass-shooting” firearms. “Get rid of the guns!” How about we tax the bullets, while we’re waiting? Chris Rock suggested as much in one of his comedy routines.

These proposals are not enough and will never work. No matter how much common sense comes into the discussion, the regressive left refuses to recognize that guns do not kill anyone. An assailant has to aim the barrel and pull the trigger. It’s not the guns. Thankfully, Texas elected officials are not calling for gun control. They are not targeting the Second Amendment in any way—yet. Conservative experts are talking about the over-medication of our youth, the removal of God from our schools, the disregard for the rule of law from elected officials. The biggest problem, however, remains that schools are mandated gun-free zones per federal law. I have addressed this issue before, and it’s astounding that still so few want to talk about it, especially among Second Amendment proponents.

Time for a brief history lesson. The Gun-Free School Zones Act passed in 1990 as part of a larger crime control bill introduced by US Senators Joe Biden (who would have guessed?) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin). Sadly, it was signed into law by George Herbert Walker Bush. Relying on the similar “I hate this part, but I have to sign the whole bill” rhetoric employed by Trump over the Omnibus bill, Bush disliked the gun-free zone aspect.  It’s unthinkable that three decades ago, both sides of the aisle ultimately worked against the natural rights of American citizens, but it happened.

Bush called the gun-free zone law an overreach, and the United States Supreme Court agreed later that same year. The Court struck down the law because it overly stretched the commerce clause. Four years after the bill was signed, Congress passed and Bill Clinton signed the Brady Law, with US Senator Dianne Feinstein strapping on a scary-looking assault rifle to bully and shame anyone who opposed comprehensive gun bans. Seven years later, with US Attorney General Janet Reno’s promptings, Congress revised the law to get around the Supreme Court’s primary objections. Twenty-one years later, and no comprehensive lawsuit has emerged to challenge this nonsense.

How many schools have been targeted for mass shootings? Too many. Why should anyone be surprised. The kids are sitting ducks. Yet we need more gun control laws, right? It’s already against the law for a minor to own a gun. It’s also against the law to bring a gun onto school grounds except for recognized peace officers; to carry a gun without a permit in Texas; and to saw off the barrel from a shotgun. In California, criminal enhancements exist to ensure greater punishment (although not necessarily deterrence) for gun crimes, but we’ve seen our own eruption in gun violence on school campuses, nonetheless. Oh, and it’s illegal to murder people with a firearm, too, but that didn’t stop Demetrius or Nikolas Cruz or the other mass murderers who raised hell on public school campuses.  Both sides of the political divide have fomented into pushing for gun control or allowing more good guys to keep and bear arms.

But no one is talking about ending this Gun Free Zone insanity … except President Trump, but even then, he was talking about it last year. At least The Hill brought attention to how arbitrary and nonsensical this provision has become. If someone brings a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, they face federal penalties, like 10 years in prison. Granted, one suspect faced these charges for firing a shot at the Charlottesville, Virginia rally last year, tiki torches notwithstanding. School wasn’t in session that weekend, so the statute has become more arbitrary than meaningful.

It gets worse if someone discharges the firearm near a school—even if it’s to take down an assailant and protect the public! Even in constitutional carry states like Arizona, citizens can obtain a concealed carry permit, which will allow them to carry a firearm on school property—but they cannot use the firearm. This is ridiculous. This stupidity must cease.

Ending this “Gun Free Zone” policy should be the focus of our Congress: not mental health, not different types of exits, not even national reciprocity for concealed carry. What’s the point of carrying a gun when the owner cannot use it?  Yes, let’s have constitutional carry. Yes, let’s remove the unconstitutional barriers to owning a firearm. But let’s fight to make schools safe again and repeal the Gun-Free School Zone Act for good!

Arthur Schaper

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