Let’s compare the two recent murder rampages in the Omaha, Nebraska, shopping mall and the Colorado Springs church camp.
The shopping mall was a “gun-free zone,” a place where people, including murderers, are prohibited from carrying weapons.
As we have long pointed out here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, there is one great big fallacy about rules, regulations, or laws that prohibit people from bearing arms: They rely on the assumption that murderers will obey them.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, people who intend to violate laws against murder are not going to obey gun-control restrictions. The only people who are going to obey such laws are those people who would use firearms to defend themselves from the violent criminals.
Now, it’s true that the Omaha mall is privately owned. Therefore, under libertarian principles it has the right to set any rules and regulations it wishes for people coming onto its property. Consumers, for their part, have the right to comply with the rules or simply not come into the mall. If they come into the mall, they assume the risk of being in a place where a murderer is confident that no one is armed.
But the Omaha murder rampage is a good example of how gun control operates. When a law prohibits people from carrying weaponry, a murderer knows that this is good place to operate. That’s why mass murderers commit their rampages in places like the Omaha mall or Washington, D.C., the disarmed city that is sometimes described as the murder capital of the nation.
If people are free to bear arms, does that mean that everyone who walks into a mall, school, or church camp must be armed? No. The beauty of no gun control is the unknown factor: A murderer has no idea whether someone is armed or not. The greater the probability of someone being armed in the area, the lower the probability that the murderer will select that place for his rampage. After all, when was the last time you saw a mass murderer attacking a gun show?
Moreover, all you need is one person carrying a weapon to put a stop to a killing rampage, as the murderer and the people at the Colorado Springs church camp have discovered. It was quite likely that the murderer believed that it was improbable that anyone at a church camp would be armed. Wrong guess, bozo! Jeanne Assam, a private security guard, was there and armed. She took the murderer out before he could kill more people.
Now, imagine what would have happened if the state had made the Colorado church camp a “gun-free zone,” as it has done with public schools and some colleges. The murderer would have paid no heed to the law and would still have gone on his rampage, as mass murderers did at Columbine High School in Colorado and at Virginia Tech, places that the state had mandated as “gun-free zones.”
Gun control protects murderers and disarms peaceful, law-abiding people. What happened in Omaha and Colorado Springs are just more examples of this principle.
P.S. Our book The Tyranny of Gun Control would make a great Christmas present!