Rep. Ronald E. “Ron” Paul, R-Texas
In particular, we can look to the bloody massacres that took place at Columbine and Virginia Tech as examples of what can happen when people are forbidden from exercising their 2nd amendment rights.
Rep. Ronald E. “Ron” Paul, R-Texas, has introduced a bill that could potentially prevent this type of decimation.
The Citizens Protection Act of 2011, H.R. 2613, would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and amendments to that Act.
A ‘school zone,’ as defined by the Gun-Free School Zones Act, means (a) in, or on the grounds of, a public, parochial or private school; or (b) within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial or private school. The statute only applies to those schools that provide elementary or secondary education and excludes private property that is not considered to be part of school grounds.
GFSZA bans individuals from carrying firearms in school zones and criminalizes those who do so. In accordance with the Gun Control Act of 1968, any person who is convicted under GFSZA permanently loses his or her legal right to own a gun.
The Citizens Protection Act would not have any effect on state or national requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit or acquiring firearms; its only purpose is to repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act.
Many of the arguments used against concealed carry on college campuses become moot when debating the passage of Paul’s legislation, as GFSZA is not relevant to colleges and universities. Critics cannot equate the archetypal, helter-skelter atmosphere of a college campus with the environment of a high school or elementary school where students are present for eight hours and then return home.
The dozens of school shootings that have taken place in the United States are evidence that GFSZA has not been effective. It should come as no surprise that criminals flock to these gun-free zones, where they know their victims will be unarmed.
Children cannot be expected to defend themselves, especially when chaos ensues. The Gun-Free School Zones Act does exclude law enforcement officials, but it is nearly impossible for police to be present at all schools at all times. Additionally, as some individuals suggested during the aftermath of the tragedy at Columbine, law enforcement may not always respond in the most effective way possible.
Imagine a situation where a gunman enters an elementary school with intent to kill. Police are aware of the crisis and are on their way. If firearms were permitted in school zones, a faculty member with a concealed carry permit, should he come face-to-face with the gunman, may be able to intervene before police arrive with his own weapon to save the lives of many children and other adults.
Homicidal, psychotic individuals target schools because there is an abundance of potential victims, but they are also cognizant of the fact that those targets are sure to be unarmed, and thus, unable to defend themselves. If the government restored citizens’ constitutional right to practice the 2nd amendment in school zones, perhaps doing so would end the notion that schools are easy targets, which may deter criminals from carrying out such heinous acts in the first place.
Since 1999, the Gun-Free School Zones Act has been contested in U.S. circuit courts nine times and has been upheld in every case.
Paul also introduced the Citizens Protection Act in 2007 and 2009. Both times, the bill was referred to committee but was never brought to the floor for a vote.