I’ve seen more than a few posts around the web suggesting that gun-free zones are a magnet for mass-murderers since they know they’re less likely to be fired on by gun-carrying citizens. Therefore, the logic goes, we should do away with gun-free zones.
There are a couple of problems with this:
1) Most gun-free zones are areas where lots of people congregate. I suspect that this is more attractive to the “mass” part of the “mass-murderer” than any promise that there won’t be guns. Assuming that mass-murderers actually do a cost/benefit analysis of their actions when planning the deed (an extremely iffy assumption), then they’ve surely noticed that almost every mass-murderer exits the scene of the crime in a body bag. Gun-free zone or not, the police seldom take armed gunmen alive. A gun-free zone might give you a few more minutes to kill a few more people, but I don’t think the survival rate of the shooters increases at all.
2) We don’t enforce gun-free zones worth a damn. Just calling something a gun-free zone doesn’t make it so. If we actually checked everyone entering a gun-free zone and made it a felony to attempt to enter a gun-free zone with a gun, then the designation might actually mean something. As it is, there’s really no more reason to think that a gun-free zone is “gun-free” than anywhere else. I’m not saying we should start enforcing them; I’m just saying that if we’re going to have them, make them mean something. Otherwise, get rid of ’em.