Friday, September 28, 2007

To disarm or not to disarm, that is the question.

A very simple question is it not? To disarm the law abiding citizens or not to disarm them? People are talking about this question everywhere, people both for and against allowing adults to have their 2nd amendment right to bear arms sustained, even if only in the form of concealed carry, while on school grounds. I hear a number of standard arguments against it used over and over again, so I am going to discuss them here in detail.

1) "Someone who is mentally unstable might be able to get a CCW permit which would allow them to bring a gun onto school campus."

That argument is the most futile of all. If a mentally unstable person is able to walk or even ride in a wheelchair, he can already illegally carry a gun onto school campus. In fact, it has already happened a number of times such as at Columbine, VT, Pearl HS, Appalacian School of Law, etc. "Gun free zones" only keep the law abiding folks defenseless which makes the environment safer for illegally armed criminals or lunatics. Criminals break the law by definition & couldn't care less about breaking a "gun free zone" restriction. Criminals will already go to jail if caught with an illegal weapon, so why would they care about a gun free zone? Any mentally unstable person willing to shoot innocent victims will obviously not care about a gun free zone either.

Have you heard about the Pearl or Appalacian school shootings? If not, it is probably because those events were cut short by armed citizens who ran to their cars to get their weapons and forced the attack to an early end well before Police could arrive which most likely saved countless lives. In the case of Pearl HS, vice principal Joel Myrick had to run a quarter of a mile away to where his car was parked since the law prohibited him from having a weapon within a quarter mile of the school grounds. Did that law prevent Luke Woodham from going to Pearl HS with his weapon to open fire against the innocent victims on school grounds? Of course not. All it did was waste Joel's time by forcing him to run half a mile round trip before he could get back to stop the shooter. Afterwards the investigation found that the shooter had plans to visit yet another Pearl school to continue his rampage, so without the armed intervention of Joel Myrick the shooter would have been successful at even more carnage.

2) "An armed citizen could accidentally hurt a student or other bystander while trying to stop the attacker."

All CCW permit holders are required to know the law regarding the use of deadly force. In every state the law says that you are responsible for every bullet you fire, and accidentally killing an innocent bystander is NOT justifiable by any defense whatsoever. Any civilian who accidentally kills an innocent bystander will go to jail on manslaughter charges. As a result, any law abiding citizen carrying a gun is going to go out of their way to be extra careful to obey all of the normal safety rules such as: be sure of your backstop - know where your bullet will stop if you miss or shoot through your intended target, don't put your finger on the trigger until ready to shoot, don't point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy, and always assume your weapon is loaded. The CCW holder is going to keep his or her weapon hidden until he or she can maneuver into a good position to fight back in the safest manner possible.

It is also interesting to note that not one person that I'm aware of who has used this argument has been able to specify a single example of such an accident happening, even though multiple independent studies show that there are between 1.5 & 2.5 Million cases of self defense uses of guns every year in the US alone, depending on the particular study. I on the other hand can name 2 school shootings that were brought to an early end by an adult with a gun without in so doing causing harm to a single innocent - Pearl HS & Appalacian School of Law (2 students with a gun with help from unarmed students in Appalacian's case). There are a number of states that already allow adults to carry weapons onto school campuses - if it is so dangerous why are those states all free from school shootings? If armed citizens are so unsafe why is it that although there have been hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of gun shows, each with thousands of weapons on site & at least hundreds of civilians carrying weapons, there has never been a single "gun show shooting"?

3) "A student could disarm the armed citizen & then use the gun to shoot people."

First of all, why would a student want to try to take a gun in a risky scenario like that when the student can just go get a gun via much easier methods such as burglary or the black market? Second of all, folks who carry a gun are always very aware of their gun & instinctively protect it at all times. It would be very difficult for the student to be successful, even if he were to decide to attempt it. Additionally, by the very nature of the weapon being concealed, how will the student even know that it exists?

4) "Only the Police should have guns. Teachers & students need to dial 911 to request help."

As we saw with both Columbine & VT, the bad guys have plenty of time to shoot a lot of people before the Police are able to break in & stop them. The Police are a reactive force by nature. As stated by VT Police Chief Wendell Flinchum: "We obviously can't have an armed guard in front of every classroom every day of the year." Even in cities that have fast average Police response times the average is normally 6 to 10 minutes. A lot of damage can be done in that amount of time. You can add to that the time it takes to surround, gather surveillance intel, study building layout via blueprints, and figure out where the bad guy & hostages are before they can storm in & take the bad guy down. Columbine went on for hours before Police were able to go in. If I were on the inside of a school being attacked by a bad guy I would already know where the bad guy is (the person shooting the innocent students), the layout of the school, & where the hostages are. In that type of a situation I'd have a great time advantage over the Police who need to prepare to come in blind. I would much prefer to have a self defense weapon than a cell phone. I'd prefer to take my chances fighting the bad guy than to sit around waiting to see if I will be shot before the Police come in. I can't imagine what would go through the minds of innocent victims waiting for their turn to be shot, all while knowing that they were disarmed by a worthless "gun free zone" policy which only served to make them easy prey.

5) "If helpful citizens have guns at the scene of a school shooting, the arriving Police could confuse them for the bad guy & shoot them by mistake."

It is actually very simple for the Police to figure out who the bad guy is. When on such a search if they find someone with a weapon they will shout "Freeze! Drop your weapon!" - the good guys will drop their weapon & freeze. The bad guy might keep his weapon, and may even start shooting at the Police as he tries to escape. If he does drop his weapon & freeze, then it will all be sorted out via witnesses & evidence.

It was not long ago that it was no big deal for even students to bring guns to school. They'd place them in their locker or backpack so that they could participate in target shooting events during school or to go hunting as soon as school was out. It was not until after someone had the "brilliant" idea of disarming all law abiding citizens while in school zones that our series of school shootings began.

"To disarm or not to disarm?" - what a stupid question.

Tell me what you think via comments link below. No email address or registration required.


Anonymous said...

Spot on! You said all the things I've been thinking, as well as some I had not yet thought of. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

What is it that the anti gunners don't understand about the fact that lawbreakers aren't concerned about breaking gun laws?

Dustin said...

Well said Mickey. It seems simple enough to you & I. What part of "criminal" or "lawbreaker" or "mentally unstable" don't they understand? I highly recommend for those who need a proper definition of such terms. :)

Anonymous said...

good luck with this one..."It is actually very simple for the Police to figure out who the bad guy is. When on such a search if they find someone with a weapon they will shout "Freeze! Drop your weapon!" - the good guys will drop their weapon & freeze. "

It will be BANG, BANG, BANG, "Drop your weapon"

Dustin said...

It is of course possible for the Police to do that ("bang bang, freeze") but it would be against their training & standard procedures. Nevertheless, we should be free to choose to take on that risk if we are allowed to be armed & decide to fight back rather than be forced to be disarmed & left with nothing to defend ourselves with.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic - very well said! Now, when can we get an extra large dose of common sense administered to our legislators, administrators and so on? - Wild Bill

Anonymous said...

Here in VA the CCW holder must, by statute, have a cleaner backgroud than law-enforcement applicants and that includes the FBI. (check the law)

How many of those who want "Gun Free Zones" would put such a sign in their front yard?? That is what they demand for the rest of us.


Robocop said...

Very good post.

Dustin said...

Thanks Robocop.

Marvin: yes I agree 100%. Why don't the "gun free zone" proponents put "gun free zone" signs on their own front doors if they think it makes an environment so safe to announce that it is gun free? Might as well put up a sign "easy victims live here - all criminals are welcome"

Anonymous said...

Very good article.

Dustin said...

Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

This article states what I've been saying to anyone the topics of gun control comes up. The anti-gun supporters are ignorant on the argument they are speaking on. Nothing wrong with ignorance it's simply a lack of knowledge and can be remedied by fact. People will give up their freedoms for safety, even the illusion of safety, it has been proven time and again throughout history.

Dustin said...

Very true.

elktownship pennsylvania said...

I believe that the issue of the second amendment is currently being positioned, and in the near future, we'll see a big shift in the politics of this issue. Great post that gets inside your thinking about the right to bear arms.

Dustin said...

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. It was one of my earliest posts, reading it now I see how my wording has changed over time. For example, I no longer say "2nd amendment right to bear arms" - instead I say "2nd amendment protected right to bear arms" - recognizing the fact that the right to arm yourself for your own defense is a preexisting natural right that existed long before the 2nd Amendment was written.

+. said...

there's a question i've had for awhile regarding justification for "Campus Concealed Carry." i found your blog post while doing research, so perhaps you'd like to share some thoughts.

you said: "All CCW permit holders are required to know the law regarding the use of deadly force."

i live in Pittsburgh, PA. according to the information posted by our Sheriff's department on their site where you can apply for a Concealed Carry permit, there are only 3 things required to get one of these: (1) primary identification, (2) secondary identification, & (3) two references, with contact info.

(look for yourself!

as far as i can tell, there is *nothing* in any of the requirements which states that "CCW permit holders are required to know the law regarding the use of deadly force." ... in fact, i see nothing on that site at *all* regarding laws as applied to firearms. in very fine print, at the bottom of the page, there's a one-sentence reference to the state Attorney General's page, with instructions to "conduct a search on 'firearms'".

(... it should be noted, too, that going to this site and conducting said search currently reveals only 25 results: press releases, announcement of firearms-related arrests, and a few "reciprocity agreements" with other states. nothing, as far as i can tell, about the actual LAWS regarding firearms.)

now, with that said, i'm incredibly curious: how do you justify saying that CCW permit-holders are "required to know the law regarding the use of deadly force."

where is this requirement?

how does a sheriff's department, which issues CCW permits, ensure that permit-holders are educated in the laws regarding use of deadly force?

sorry for an insanely-long post, but i wanted to justify my question before i asked it. in the process of becoming more knowledgeable about the "Campus Concealed Carry" movement, this is one issue that has very much eluded my understanding.... proponents continually claim that CCW permit holders *are* knowledgeable, yet nowhere i can find government-mandated requirements (or even resources) regarding this knowledge.

my gratitude, in advance, for any thoughts you might care to provide.

Dustin said...

You said: "where is this requirement?"

While it is true that most States require training, written tests & shooting skills tests, you are correct that not all specify knowledge of deadly force laws in their list of CCW permit requirements. Are you going to argue that someone in such a State where it is not written as a requirement to know the laws surrounding use of deadly force to conceal carry, such a person can then go & commit an unjustified killing (not justified in the law such as self defense), then simply claim they didn't know the law? Of course not, they'll still go to jail just like any other unjustified murderer - lack of education is never justification.

So in answer to your question, the requirement is written in State & Federal laws that prohibit homicide without specified justification such as defending your own life or that of another with 3 very specific requirements:

1) Real Threat to life or serious bodily harm (can't be a 3 yr old joking that he is going to kill you)
2) Said person has ability or means to carry out the threat (can't be a 3 yr old kid with a baseball bat)
3) Said person is in range to carry out threat (can't be on opposite side of street with a baseball bat).

If there is any doubt at all by the Prosecutor that the homicide may not be justified you'll need to prove it to a Grand Jury & possibly again in a trial if the Grand Jury isn't convinced.

Hopefully I was helpful, let me know if I can help with anything else in your research.

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