Rash of multiple victim public shootings renews legislative debate

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that recent multiple victim public shootings may be having a different effect on the public than did such incidents in the 1990's.

From the story:

    On Feb. 24, a man in the middle of a child custody dispute opened fire with a knockoff AK-47 on the courthouse steps in Tyler. He killed his ex-wife, wounded his adult son and shot dead a man who tried to intervene by pulling out his own gun, a Colt .45. A few days later, Bingham told lawmakers he thought he needed protection in court. "They were very open," he said. "And responsive."

    Texas judges are already permitted to carry concealed weapons in court; legislation is now being drafted to let prosecutors arm themselves as well.

    Gun rights advocates say incidents such as the Tyler shootout will reinforce Americans' growing reluctance to view gun control laws as the only rational response to spiraling violence. In the early 1990s, the Gallup Poll reported that 71% of Americans wanted harsher restrictions on guns. A few years later, that number was down to 62%. By last fall, it had dropped to 54%.

    "In a post-9/11 world, a lot of people are more apt to think about [guns in terms of] providing their own personal protection," said Todd Vandermyde, the NRA's Illinois lobbyist.

Pro-self defense activists are renewing attempts to legalize concealed carry, after yet another multiple victim public shooting, this time in the "no-CCW" state of Wisconsin.

Again, from the story:

    The massacre at a Wisconsin church service 10 days ago left Corey Graff outraged.

    Outraged at the loss of life, of course. But furious, too, at state legislators who have refused to grant citizens the right to carry concealed handguns.

    Graff plans to push the issue again this spring. This time, the Wisconsin activist hopes that lawmakers will imagine themselves in that church service — cowering, crying, wishing they had a gun at hand to defend themselves.

    "Hopefully something positive can come out of the tragedy," Graff said.

After detailing a large number of gun rights and a few gun control bills being proffered in many states, and noting that even some Democrats in Illinois are bucking their party to support pro-self-defense legislation, the story ends with Ohio's own gun ban extremist, fantasizing about an instance of a child who was prohibited from possessing a firearm entering a "no-guns" school zone causing Ohioans to call for still more gun control laws.

    Last week, a second-grader in Columbus, Ohio, brought a .45-caliber pistol to school in his book bag. He was shot in the hand when the gun accidentally discharged.

    "Sooner or later, people are going to say, 'Enough is enough,' " said Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

    Hoover hopes the recent rampages push voters — and lawmakers — to that tipping point.

    On the other side of the debate, so does Corey Graff.

    "How many dead people is it going to take before the Legislature does the right thing and passes a concealed carry law?" asked Graff, executive director of Wisconsin Gun Owners Inc. "How much carnage is going to have to occur before the public wakes up?"

ANOTHER: Seven victims at Minn. school shooting rampage

After reportedly stealing his grandfather's "police-issued weapons", and murdering the police officer and his female companion, a Red Lake High School student entered his "no-guns" high school Monday bypassing security measures such as a metal detector and video cameras (and perhaps even "no-guns" signs), which were installed for the purpose of "protection".

According to reports, the shooter killed an unarmed male security guard, before opening fire on students and teachers. An unarmed female security guard was forced to flee. Defenseless security guards, teachers and students were unable to stop him, and he finally took his own life.

Related Stories:
Op-ed: The False Hope of Gun-Free Zones

    Few people remember the school shooting in Pearl, Mississippi that took place in October 1997. Fewer people remember how it ended. This episode came to a close when Pearl High School Assistant Principal Joel Myrick sprinted a quarter mile to retrieve a personal handgun from his car and confronted the shooter who was unwilling to continue the attack against an armed victim.

    Myrick parked so far away from the school to keep from violating federal gun free zone statutes. By the time the shooting spree ended, two students lay dead and seven others were wounded. Myrick's heroic defense of the children at his school was sparsely reported, going mostly unnoticed by the establishment media who were unwilling to report that he used a gun to end the mayhem and murder. They were also unwilling to ask the hard question - how many children died while Myrick sprinted to his car?

Op-Ed: That church shooting

    If just one other member of that congregation were carrying a gun, lives would have been saved. And that's the real answer to this kind of murder and mayhem. Oh, I know, some of you are saying to yourself: "Farah, are you suggesting packing heat at church?" Yes, I'm advocating it.

    I'm advocating that law-abiding people carry firearms wherever they go – especially in places where guns are thought to be unnecessary, especially in schools and other "gun-free zones," especially in the high-crime cities where guns have already been banned. It's a matter of life and death. The only person safe in a "gun-free zone" is the criminal, who doesn't care about such rules and regulations.

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