“Gun-free Zones” are NOT “magnets for crime”
On the January 13th edition of Fox “news” Sunday, they invited Larry Pratt, Executive Director of “Gun Owners of America”… a man that makes the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre sound reasonable… to discuss gun control. Briefly, the GOA is a group that believes there should be absolutely NO gun laws, period, and that placing ANY restrictions on gun ownership is “unconstitutional” (never-mind that whole “well regulated” bit). Pratt’s insane rantings were too numerous to go into here, but his opening remark condemning “gun-free zones” was not original. Pratt pointed out that Texas Congressman Steve Stockman from “just outside of Houston” was going to propose a bill to:
“remove the gun-free zones that have been so much like a magnet to invite mass murderers into zones where they know nobody else will be able to shoot back.”
The Rachel Maddow Show covered the return of gun-nut Stockman to Washington on last Tuesday’s show. I had already heard Pratt’s same idiotic claim about “gun-free zones” from several Republicans by then, and several times more since. On yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday, regular panelist Bill Kristol repeated Pratt’s ridiculous claim:
“I know everyone ridiculed the NRA for saying this, but maybe actually having armed guards at schools and not having gun-free zones where mass murderers know they can go in and kill people and no one will shoot them…”
News Flash: Psychotic mass murderers that target a school full of six year old children don’t weigh the pros & cons first as to whether that’s really a “safe” place for them to commit mass murder. If they were worried about people “shooting back”, why do so many of them end up committing suicide in the end?
The idea that “criminals are attracted to gun-free zones” has become a popular Right-Wing talking point over the past few weeks. And (of course), like most every other “fact” Republicans cite to support their case, it’s usually pure fantasy. Another “fact” pulled directly from their hind-quarters. Someone makes up some claim because it “sounds like it’s probably true”, and then never bothers to fact check to see if it actually IS true before spreading it as ”fact” (why bother? Something that sounds plausable MUST be true, no?). So I checked the Houston Police Database and… gee, wouldn’t ya know it… gosh darn it, Pratt/Stockman’s claim is total bullshit (bet’cha didn’t see that one coming.)
Full disclosure, the HPD database does not break down “shooting” crime specifically, so I relied on a crime mapping website, “SpotCrime.com” to map out all shootings in the cities of Houston, Miami and Los Angeles for all of 2012:
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These are maps of just “shootings” (between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012) in which at least one person was actually wounded. They do NOT include “armed robbery” or other crimes where a gun was used but never fired. With that in mind, note that there were 84 separate incidents in gun-crazy Houston and 50 in Miami vs just 19 incidents in Los Angeles (including one shooting at USC last April in which two Vietnamese graduate students were shot & killed). Does this mean more of Los Angeles’ murders were “mass shootings”? No. A look at each incident shows that on average only one person was actually shot in most instances, with the largest being a family of three.
As you can see from the above maps, there are no “clusters” of shootings anywhere… let alone in “gun-free zones”. And if these maps suggest anything, gosh darn if it doesn’t look like you’re FAR safer in a city/state with strict gun laws (one incident for every 25,000 people in Houston vs one incident for every TWO-HUNDRED AND FIVE THOUSAND people in LA). “Gun-free zones” don’t see Murders any more often than any other area. In fact, reading through the results, the most common crimes in which someone was wounded with a gun are robberies, hold-ups at Convenience Stores and the like… where there is a VERY high probability the person behind the counter is armed by-the-way. And another news flash for “Bloody Bill”, both Columbine and Virginia Tech had armed guards on the premises. Hell, VT had its own freakin’ campus police force on the premises!
And now these Troglodytes are out there claiming “gun-free zones are a magnet for mass murder” (as if psychopaths worry about things like that.) It’s total nonsense of course… which I’m certain comes as no surprise to you, dear Reader.
Postscript: Something else interesting pointed out to me yesterday:
Homepage of Albuquerque’s News 4 in New Mexico yesterday/Sunday.
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