Lesson #22: Pretend 'Gun-Free' School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction

By David B. KopelThis Article analyzes the law and policy regarding the licensed carrying of firearms in K-12 schools and in colleges and universities. The Article suggests that absolute bans have proven to be extremely dangerous, because they turn schools into uniquely attractive targets for mass murderers.The article focuses on prohibitions applied to people who have already been licensed to carry a handgun for lawful protection in public places. The article does not address the bans as applied to persons who have not obtained or could not obtain such a permit—such as persons under the age of 21 in most states.Part I of this Article surveys the legal, factual, and political background. Part II describes current programs, in the United States and elsewhere, in which teachers or students are allowed or required to carry firearms for defense. Part III examines empirical evidence about whether armed defenders can deter or interrupt mass killers at schools, and whether armed defenders have done so. Part IV analyzes various objections to campus defense, with particular attention to the argument that faculty and/or adult students are so dangerous that they should not be allowed to carry arms. Part IV also addresses the topic of unarmed victims being told never to fight back.Click here to access the Pretend 'Gun-Free' School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction .

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