The answer to violence in America is more gun control, or so the liberal narrative goes. Many voices on the left have renewed their calls for stricter legislation following several high-profile shootings, but an African-American guns rights activist is pushing back using some very eye-opening statistics.
There’s a good chance you haven’t yet heard of Maj Toure, but he is a rising figure in the current gun debate. Toure is the founder of “Black Guns Matter,” a pro-Second Amendment group which is working to promote lawful firearms ownership to urban and minority communities.
During his Friday appearance on Fox News’ “The Liberty File” with Andrew Napolitano, the pro-gun figure pointed out the elephant in the room when it comes to tragic mass shootings: A significant number of them take place in so-called “gun-free zones,” making the calls for more restrictive gun control unlikely to be the solution.
“The stats and the data is already there. Since 1991, over 90 percent of the mass shootings have been in ‘gun-free zones.’ They do not work,” Toure said.
He also brought up Walmart store locations, such as the one where a gunman opened fire in El Paso, Texas.
While the well-known store sells both firearms and ammunition to customers, the pro-gun advocate claimed that the location where the shooting occurred was a de facto gun-free zone.
“It exposes a tremendous contradiction,” Toure said. “We’re in a space where we’re saying freedoms are OK for smaller amounts of people but freedoms are not OK for larger amounts of people.”
The facts regarding a gun-free zone at that particular Walmart are a bit murky. In the state of Texas, a business can ban guns if it wishes, backed by state law.
Texas Penal Codes 30.06 and 30.07 allow a business to voluntarily create a “gun-free zone” by posting a sign, which makes it illegal to carry a weapon in an open or concealed manner, even if a person has a valid concealed carry permit.
We could not independently verify that the El Paso store had such a sign, but the larger mall complex appears to have a gun-free policy.
“Simon Malls, the operators of the Cielo Vista Mall, the scene of the El Paso shooting, bans guns on their property even though Texans are allowed to open and carry concealed,” Townhall columnist Kevin McCullough noted.
Regardless of the specifics in the El Paso case, Toure’s overall claim about the ineffectiveness of “gun-free zones” appears to be confirmed by the facts. Firearms researcher John Lott, author of the well-sourced book “More Guns, Less Crime,” dug into the statistics and found something amazing.
The actual percentage of mass shootings taking place where guns were supposedly banned is not 90 percent, based on a Crime Prevention Research Center study of crimes between 1950 and June 2019.
It may actually be as high as 94 percent, with only 6 percent of public mass shootings taking place outside “gun-free zones.”
Lott’s research has been criticized by liberal gun control advocates, and shifting definitions of mass shootings make the topic controversial.
Nevertheless, even left-leaning PolitiFact admitted that the general claim that many shootings happen in “gun-free zones” has its foundation in truth.
No matter how you slice it, that’s something that conservatives have been saying for years: Criminals don’t follow the law, and certainly aren’t deterred by signs posted on doors.
There may not be easy answers to reducing crime, but yet another round of toothless gun control laws sure doesn’t seem to be the path forward.
CORRECTION, Aug. 14, 2019: As published, this commentary included the statement that the “actual percentage of mass shootings taking place where guns were supposedly banned … may actually be as high as 94 percent, with only six percent of public mass shootings taking place in ‘gun-free zones.'” We have corrected the commentary to read that only 6 percent of public mass shootings may take place outside so-called gun-free zones.
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