By Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman
Shopping malls should be as safe as public schools and university campuses, and the outrage that unfolded at the Westroads mall in Omaha, Nebraska proves they are, thanks to the monumentally stupid proliferation of so-called “gun free zones.”
These victim disarmament zones are the handiwork of extremist gun control fanatics and their soulmates in state legislatures who created these loopholes in right-to-carry statutes across the country. Instead of providing areas of presumed safety where nobody is supposed to have a firearm, gun free zones are nothing more than risk-free environments where every criminal and lunatic with an axe to grind or a desire to become famous can stack up a quick body count with little concern about resistance from an armed citizen.
Nineteen-year-old gunman Robert A. Hawkins had no intention of surviving his bloody rampage. Despite what the gun control camp will argue, there is no way to prevent a person from committing a violent act when he is willing to die in the process. Hawkins, who had a criminal record, could not legally possess a firearm but he evidently stole the murder weapon, a semi-automatic rifle, from his stepfather.
If there is a true outrage in this incident, it is the prohibition of legally concealed firearms at Westroads Mall. One hell of a lot of good that prohibition did for Hawkins’ eight victims. Undoubtedly such bans make anti-gunners – who fought bitterly and hysterically against passage of a concealed carry law in Nebraska – feel good about themselves, but the reality is that such prohibitions cost lives.
In our new book, America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age, we detail the failures of gun-free zones, and how their only “contribution” has been to raise homicide statistics that gun control proponents can use in their ceaseless campaign to deprive law-abiding citizens of their gun rights.
Recall the Trolley Square shooting in Salt Lake City earlier this year, or the 2005 shooting at the mall in Tacoma, Washington. The shooters in both of those incidents were stopped by people with guns. In Salt Lake City, an off-duty policeman from another jurisdiction happened to be in the mall with his wife, essentially as a private citizen. Fortunately, officer Kenneth Hammond ignored the “no guns” signs at Trolley Square and had his pistol. He traded shots with Sulejman Talovic, sending the gunman running for cover until uniformed officers arrived and killed Talovic.
In Tacoma, gunman Dominick Maldonado was confronted by a courageous armed citizen named Brendon McKown. Although Maldonado seriously wounded McKown, he quickly stopped shooting and ultimately surrendered to police. The Tacoma Mall also prohibits firearms.
Remember Luke Woodham, who shot up Mississippi’s Pearl High School in 1997? His rampage was stopped by Assistant Principal Joel Myrick, who had rushed to his car to retrieve a .45-caliber pistol. Myrick aimed the gun at Woodham’s head and held him until police arrived.
In January 2002, gunman Peter Odighizuwa, who had just murdered three people on the campus of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia was confronted by two armed students who had rushed to their cars to retrieve handguns. He dropped his gun and was wrestled to the ground.
Unfortunately, at Virginia Tech this year, there were no armed students or teachers to interrupt Seung-Hui Cho before he killed 32 defenseless people. Sadly, nobody ignored the ridiculous prohibition at Westroads Mall in Omaha.
The strategy of gun control extremists is to rob people of their right of self-defense by stripping them of the tools to defend themselves. They alone are responsible for the gun free zone loophole that leaves us all vulnerable to this kind of senseless attack, and it is time that America tell these fools that we’ve had enough.
Alan Gottlieb is founder of the Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) and Dave Workman is senior editor of Gun Week (www.gunweek.com). They are authors of America Fights Back: Armed Self-defense in a Violent Age, published by Merril Press.