On a naval base where it is against the rules to carry weapons, and in a city with some of the strictest gun laws in the US, a gunman chooses to disobey their rules and gun down a dozen victims.
The shooting at the Washington Naval Yard in Washington DC on Monday follows a familiar pattern in mass shooting history: The gunman finds a location where he knows his victims cannot shoot back and he can attain maximum mayhem.
On Monday, that resulted in 12 innocent people shot dead and others left wounded.
No matter what the motives behind this shooting, whether it is terrorist related, a grievance, or just a mental case on a rampage, this incident shows it is time to stop disarming law abiding citizens (or making it almost impossible for them to be armed.)
Most people would think that a military installation would be a poor choice for a gunman to find unarmed, defenseless victims. After all, most of our military personnel are trained in the use of firearms and are trusted to use those weapons in the defense of our country.
But most US soldiers on military bases are not allowed to carry weapons, except for the military police (who are usually stretched thin.) Regulations forbid military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and make it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection.
It seems the government has decided it can’t trust its own service members.
This same idiotic mindset made it possible for Major Nidal Hassan at the Fort Hood Army base to leisurely slaughter 14 and wound over 30 in a room full of unarmed soldiers, before armed base police arrived.
The knee-jerk reaction to this latest shooting will be to call for more gun control laws, but ask Chicago and Washington DC how those extremely strict gun laws are working out.
Obviously, if military personnel/employees had been trusted to carry side arms on military bases, the death toll in these mass shootings would have been far less (or the incidents never would have been attempted.)
Obviously, if law abiding citizens (including educators) had been armed during recent tragedies in Aurora, Sandy Hook Elementary, and Fort Hood, perhaps these and other tragedies could have been averted. (See Mother Jones article: US Mass Shootings, 1982-2012: Data From Mother Jones’ Investigation.)
John Lott wrote a book titled “More Guns, Less Crime.” In it, he has statistics showing that where gun laws have been liberalized and ordinary law abiding citizens were encouraged to own and carry firearms, crime is reduced; mass shootings are almost unheard of.
Violent crime rates go down when states pass ‘shall issue’ concealed carry laws. He presents the results of his statistical analysis of crime data for every county in the United States during 29 years, from 1977 to 2005. The book examines city, county, and state level data from the entire United States and measures the impact of 11 different types of gun control laws on crime rates.
Perhaps it’s time to examine a radical idea and make it easier for the law-abiding US citizen to carry a personal firearm than it is for the criminals who routinely prey on them.
This commentary originally appeared at IrishCentral.com and is reprinted here with permission.
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