On January 2, Representative Thomas Massie (shown, R-Ky.) introduced H.R. 34, the Safe Students Act, to repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.
In response to a question posed to him on his Facebook page on February 16 regarding his bill and the recent Florida high-school shooting, Massie insisted that had the bill been passed when he first submitted it, “many lives could have been saved.”
The bill, originally introduced by Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) in 2007, repeals the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990, which makes it “unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.” In 1995, the Supreme Court held the GFSZA unconstitutional, which prompted Congress to amend the bill in 1996. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of the amended act.
“Gun-free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments,” said Massie. “Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”
Massie’s explanation is logical and perhaps therein lies the difficulty in getting it passed in an era where feelings matter more than reason and where passion is substituted for informed deliberation.
In light of the special rules on gun possession imposed by the GFSZA, one wonders why public schools are the only category of government buildings not protected by armed guards and metal detectors.
One never hears congressmen calling for the removal of the scores of well-armed guards who protect every door leading into the Capitol Building, but they cry and clamor against any suggestion that schools be similarly protected.
Let that sink in.
Massie recognized this hypocrisy in a statement he gave to Breitbart: “Gun-free zones are invitations to deranged criminals," he declared. “Why on earth would we have a federal law to advertise our schools as such? The 1990 law has done absolutely nothing to improve school safety, and should be repealed because it makes schools less safe,” he told the news agency on February 16.
In an earlier statement supporting his bill, the constitutionally consistent congressman stated, “A bigger federal government can’t solve this problem. Weapons bans and gun-free zones are unconstitutional. They do not and cannot prevent criminals or the mentally ill from committing acts of violence. But they often prevent victims of such violence from protecting themselves.”
Although Massie often finds himself at odds with the Republican establishment and with President Trump, the latter called for arming of teachers while campaigning for the White House.
As reported by Breitbart February 16:
It the wake of the attack on unarmed innocents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it is important to remember that President Trump campaigned on allowing teachers to be armed for self-defense.
He first broached the subject after the October 1, 2015, attack on Umpqua Community College (UCC); an attack in which an armed man entered a gun-free campus and killed nine people.
Trump responded to the attack by saying, “I’ll tell you, if you had a couple of the teachers or someone with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off.”
Weeks later, during the October 28, 2015, presidential debate, Trump revisited the topic by stressing that gun-free zones actually attract attackers who might avoid campus if they knew their would-be victims could shoot back. He said gun-free zones provide “target practice for sickos.”
Two months later, on October 8, 2016, the Washington Post quoted Trump saying, “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools.”
In a statement calling on lawmakers to sign on as sponsors of Massie’s Safe Students Act, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America (GOA) Erich Pratt issued the following statement after the tragic massacre at the school in Parkland, Florida:
This tragedy breaks everyone’s heart at Gun Owners of America, and we send our sincere thoughts and prayers to everyone effected. It is disturbing to see a coward attack students who are so treasured by friends and loved ones.
However, it is disgusting to see media pundits and politicians calling for gun control as the knee-jerk reaction to this tragedy.
The fact is this tragedy happened in a gun free zone, where sadly over 98 percent of the public mass shootings occur.
Furthermore, anti-gun liberals tell us that these types of shootings don’t occur in other countries. But that’s a lie. The U.S. is not even in the top ten when one compares international death rates resulting from mass shootings.
Again, consider the fact that all those congressmen calling it dangerous for schools to be protected by armed teachers or armed guards and who oppose repeal of the Gun-Free School Zones Act see no hypocrisy whatsoever in the benefit they personally derive from armed guards standing sentinel at every door leading into the Capitol Building and the doors leading into every other federal building throughout the country.
Currently, Massie’s bill counts on only five co-sponsors, all Republicans: Louie Gohmert of Texas, James Comer of Kentucky, Brian Babin of Texas, Jody Hice of Georgia, and Justin Amash of Michigan.
As of February 19, the bill is awaiting hearing by the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. The chairman of that subcommittee is Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).
Photo: AP Images