Tracy Winder: ‘Gun-free zone’ laws have lethal impact |

Tracy Winder: ‘Gun-free zone’ laws have lethal impact

To the editor:

The lethal impact of governmental ‘gun-free zone’ laws cannot be overstated. The statistics confirm it.

Worse, since there is usually no comparable alternative to venues such as public schools or hospitals, citizens are forced to visit these zones to obtain benefits paid for by their own tax dollars.

Here’s a brief summation of current laws concerning guns and schools, as I understand them: Although federal law prohibits guns in schools, it does provide for states to allow licensed (or permitted) individuals to possess firearms in school zones. However, except for law enforcement personnel, Colorado statutes now disallow carrying of firearms anyplace prohibited by federal law and on K-12 school property.

As stated by MCSD school resource officer Mark Brown, school security guards may not be armed.

Even if it were affordable, an armed police officer at school entrances during the day falls short of the goal. Two armed police officers inside the school during the Columbine tragedy distracted the killers and saved lives, but two easily-identifiable officers responsible for a school with hundreds of students simply aren’t enough.

Furthermore, the school is still an unsecured ‘gun-free zone’ when school isn’t in session, and outside the building.

Who protects teachers and kids during after-school activities, like basketball, cheerleading, and play practice? Who protects patrons during community concerts, school plays, sporting events, public assemblies, political caucuses, and community club meetings? Who is on the field for gym classes and football practice?

Attacks do not always take place inside a building, nor are guns always involved. On the day of the Newtown, Conn. shooting, 22 students and one adult were viciously stabbed by a man outside a primary school in Chongping, China.

Undoubtedly there are measures that could enhance any direct-defense school safety protocols. For example, a basic wireless alarm system seems essential as insufficient warning systems have played a key role in many school shootings.

Fears about persons with psychological disorders and use of psychotropic drugs certainly are legitimate, and candid studies should commence. Aberrant behavior in K-12 children and/or prescription drug treatments may prove to be a link to violent crime later.

Regardless, unbalanced individuals will seek ways to create lethal mayhem. Psychopaths are crazy, not stupid. They will avoid places where citizens are legally armed, and find easier targets.

During the coming months, we are going to face a myriad of gun control measures proposed or enacted in response to the recent multiple shootings, coming from both Washington, D.C., and our own state legislature. None of these will likely address the problem head-on, and all will be costly in terms of funding, theft of personal liberties, and future loss of life.

Pay attention to those advocating more gun control. These are the same people, institutions and news sources that told us that the solution was to make our schools (and other locations) into ‘gun-free zones’.

They got it egregiously wrong 23 years ago, and they’ll get it wrong again rather than rectify their initial mistake.

Tracy Winder

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