Whenever you see more than a few murders taking place, the odds are almost a hundred percent that they are going to occur at a place where permit-concealed handguns are banned. And they were doing it, ironically, in an attempt to try and make people safe. But the problem is it is law-abiding citizens who obey those bans, not the criminals.
Banning gun-free zones and allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons could help eliminate mass shootings at schools, John R. Lott, one of the nation’s leading gun experts, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview Saturday.
Lott’s landmark book “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws” is in its 3rd edition. He told Newsmax there is a “very good chance” the Connecticut school shooting could have been averted, if teachers there were permitted to carry concealed handguns.
It is no accident, he said, that mass shootings repeatedly have occurred in designated gun-free zones, which attract lunatics looking to murder as many souls as possible before they turn their guns on themselves.
Newsmax: Dr. Lott, your work suggests people are more secure, rather than less so, when firearms are readily available in society.
Dr. Lott: Simply telling them to behave passively turns out to be pretty bad advice . . . By far the safest course of action for people to take, when they are confronting a criminal, is to have a gun. This is particularly true for the people in our society who are the most vulnerable.
Newsmax: The media typically spins these mass shootings as an American phenomenon. They suggest we ought to be more like Europe, with strong gun control, because then we would not have these problems. Is that true?
Dr. Lott: No. Europe has a lot of multiple victim shootings. If you look at a per capita rate, the rate of multiple-victim public shootings in Europe and the United States over the last 10 years have been fairly similar to each other. A couple of years ago you had a couple of big shootings in Finland. About two-and-a-half years ago you had a big shooting in the U.K., 12 people were killed.
You had Norway last year [where 77 died]. Two years ago, you had the shooting in Austria at a Sikh Temple. There have been several multiple-victim public shootings in France over the last couple of years. Over the last decade, you’ve had a couple of big school shootings in Germany. Germany in terms of modern incidents has two of the four worst public-school shootings, and they have very strict gun-control laws. The one common feature of all of those shootings in Europe is that they all take place in gun-free zones, in places where guns are supposed to be banned.
Newsmax: Can you give readers an example of an incident where a teacher or authority-figure with a gun was able to thwart a violent shooting?
Dr. Lott: There was the university case in the Appalachian law school. You had the K through 12 in Mississippi and the one in Edinboro, Pa. You had New Life Church [in December 2007] — you had 7,000 parishioners there when the person broke into the church with about a thousand rounds of ammunition.
But there was a woman there, a former Chicago police officer who had gotten a concealed handgun permit because she was being stalked by her ex-husband. She had asked permission from the minister there to be able to carry a concealed handgun. She was worried if she couldn’t carry it at the church there, that she would be vulnerable going to and from the church. She shot at him 10 times, wounding him, and he committed suicide . . . These types of cases occur all around us, and they usually don’t get much attention, especially if they are stopped before people are injured or killed.
Newsmax: How can society prevent such mass shootings, or are they avoidable at all?
Dr. Lott: About 75 percent of the time when these attacks occur, the killers themselves die at the scene. Even the times when they don’t die, it seems pretty clear their intent was to die, but they just couldn’t bring themselves to commit suicide, pull the trigger, and shoot themselves at the last moment.
But in their warped mind, what they want to do is commit suicide in a way that will get them attention, so people know who they were when they were here. I’s a pretty sick idea, but if you read the documents that they leave, the diaries and the video tapes, it is pretty clear that these guys know that they get more attention the more people they can kill.
So their goal is to try to kill as many people as possible. So there are two issues here. One is focusing on the attention. And I think it’s pretty clear that . . . if people stopped mentioning their names — I’m not saying that’s possible — that’s one thing that would reduce their incentive to go and commit these crimes.
The second thing is to give people the option to protect themselves. One of the things I’ve written about recently is the attack at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater. There, you have seven movie theaters that were showing the Batman movie when it opened at the end of July.
Out of those seven movie theaters, only one movie theater was posted as banning permit-concealed handguns. The killer didn’t go to the movie theater that was closest to his home. He didn’t go to the movie theater that was the largest movie theater in Colorado, which was essentially the same distance from his apartment as the one he ended up going to. Instead, the one he picked was the only one of those movie theaters that banned people taking permit-concealed handguns into that theater.
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