Richardson: ‘Gun-free zone’ is truly the fatal conceit - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

Richardson: ‘Gun-free zone’ is truly the fatal conceit

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Bill Richardson

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12:29 pm | Updated: 1:48 pm, Tue Oct 14, 2014.

Dec. 14 marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. After that tragedy the entire country wanted to know how such a terrible thing could happen. And more importantly, how can we prevent it from ever happening again?

The state’s report was just released on Nov. 25. The findings were as expected: Adam Lanza committed the murders and he acted alone. The findings were also as expected to anyone who can still think for themself: the very policies promoted by extremist gun control advocates enabled the murder of those children and their teachers.

Do your own research. Get the report. It’s only 48 pages. And then compare the security at Sandy Hook to the schools attended by your children. Are you satisfied with their level of security?

A book authored by economist Friedrich Hayek, “The Fatal Conceit,” discusses the fatal flaws with centrally planned economies. He labels as the “fatal conceit” the idea that “man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes.”

Just as the Obamacare legislation and rollout highlights the fatal flaws with big government and the “we know better than you do” elitist policies, so too the tragedy at Sandy Hook highlights the fatal flaws with gun control legislation.

Lanza broke many laws that day including murder, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a handgun while under the age of 21, breaking and entering, carrying a pistol without a permit, and my favorite — possession of a firearm on school grounds — the “gun-free zone” legislation. But these laws did nothing to protect those children. So, gun control advocates automatically concluded that more legislation was needed, including:

• An “assault weapons” ban. All of the children and the adults in the school were killed with the AR-15. So if we ban them, then these tragedies won’t happen.

Lanza had four weapons with him that day: the AR-15, a 10 mm handgun (which he used to kill himself), a 9mm handgun (not used that day) and a shotgun (also not used).

Reducing or eliminating access to one weapon type would have prevented Lanza from committing the murders? He had with him three other guns that could have done just as much damage!

That thinking is clearly flawed.

• A “high capacity magazine” ban. Lanza used 30-round magazines in the AR-15. If only those had been limited to 10 rounds, many lives could have been spared.

The idiocy of this proposal only illustrates that the people making it know nothing about firearms. It takes 3 seconds to change a magazine. Based on the number of spent cases, he changed magazines at least six times. That didn’t seem to impact the outcome.

This is also flawed.

• “Universal background checks.” We need to close that “gun show loophole” and make sure that everyone who buys a gun passes the federal background check.

Lanza didn’t purchase the guns or the ammunition. His mother did. She passed the background checks just fine.

Lanza was the user of the weapons not the buyer of the weapons. A universal background check would have made no difference.

Another flaw.

• More comprehensive mental health intervention. We need to prevent the mentally disturbed from getting their hands on firearms.

It’s very clear from the report that Lanza was very disturbed and exhibited a clear decline in his mental state in the last few years leading up to the tragedy. But the report also clearly states: “Those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.”

Think about that. They investigated a known killer for a year and found no motive for the crime, and yet we somehow think that mental health professionals should be able to predict this sort of behavior.

This is critically flawed.

Where gun control advocates think they can legislate good behavior and public safety, gun rights advocates know that there’s evil in the world and sometimes evil things happen to good people. You can either ignore that and hope for the best, or you can be prepared for it and minimize the impact if and when it happens to you.

Clearly nothing stopped Lanza from initiating his attack. And with the gun-free zone legislation in place, nothing could have stopped the attack once it began. The people inside the school were stripped of their natural right to defend themselves by the very gun control legislation that was supposed to protect them.

On the day of the shooting, security at the school was business as usual. All exterior doors were locked and required an electronic key card to enter. There were large glass windows onto the lobby so staff could buzz you in if you didn’t have a card.

Lanza fired eight rounds through the glass to force his way in. So much for the locked doors.

But rather than a stern look from school administrators, Lanza should have been met with two or three armed adults upon entry. If he had, the outcome could have been very different.

Here’s what the gun control advocates will say, and the Sandy Hook tragedy soundly highlights their flaws:

• We can’t have armed teachers on school grounds. A student might get hit from an overzealous SWAT wannabe.

Do your own research. How many innocent bystanders are shot when an armed citizen attempts to stop an active shooter? Have you ever heard of that? What’s the casualty count when an armed citizen is among the intended victims and stops the attack? What’s the casualty count when victims call 911 and wait for the police to arrive?

Which would you rather have on school grounds with your children? An armed law abiding citizen who’s comfortable enough to carry concealed and willing to engage an active shooter to protect our children? Or faculty and staff whose only defense is to try and hide our children in a closet?

Why would we prevent a willing law-abiding citizen from protecting our children based on a “what-if game” when we know what happens when people are unable to defend themselves?

We know that 26 people were killed and two more injured because Lanza was unopposed.

• Citizens don’t need to carry guns — guns are for the police and the military only. The police are there to protect us.

The first 911 call from Sandy Hook was placed at 9:35 a.m. Police started to arrive at 9:39. The final gunshot was heard at 9:40. Five minutes to kill 26 people. At 9:44 the first police officer enters the building. We don’t know how long it took for the officer to reach the shooter’s location, but the shooting could have continued for at least another five minutes longer than it did.

I’m not dumping on the police. That response time is pretty good. But do you now understand the phrase, “When seconds count, the police are minutes away?”

Lanza killed 26 and injured two in five minutes. Casualties could easily have doubled had he continued until confronted by police inside the building.

There are only two parties who can stop a violent act while in progress: the criminal and the victim.

The police can’t prevent a crime. Their presence might deter crime, but they certainly can’t stop one once it’s started. They simply can’t be everywhere all the time.

Lanza killed 20 children and six teachers for no reason that we can discern after a year of intense scrutiny. But gun control extremists who support these misguided policies, specifically the “gun-free zone” restrictions, are just as guilty and have the same innocent blood on their hands as does the shooter himself.

• CPA Bill Richardson and his wife, Annelle, have lived in Ahwatukee for more than 17 years. They have four children and one grand-child.

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