The Right Opinion

We Know How to Stop School Shootings

By Ann Coulter · Dec. 20, 2012

In the wake of a monstrous crime like a madman's mass murder of defenseless women and children at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the nation's attention is riveted on what could have been done to prevent such a massacre.

Luckily, some years ago, two famed economists, William Landes at the University of Chicago and John Lott at Yale, conducted a massive study of multiple victim public shootings in the United States between 1977 and 1995 to see how various legal changes affected their frequency and death toll.

Landes and Lott examined many of the very policies being proposed right now in response to the Connecticut massacre: waiting periods and background checks for guns, the death penalty and increased penalties for committing a crime with a gun.

None of these policies had any effect on the frequency of, or carnage from, multiple-victim shootings. (I note that they did not look at reforming our lax mental health laws, presumably because the ACLU is working to keep dangerous nuts on the street in all 50 states.)

Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from such crimes: concealed-carry laws.

Their study controlled for age, sex, race, unemployment, retirement, poverty rates, state population, murder arrest rates, violent crime rates, and on and on.

The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass public shootings was even greater than the impact of such laws on the murder rate generally.

Someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state only has to weigh the odds of one person being armed. But a criminal planning to commit murder in a public place has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun.

You will notice that most multiple-victim shootings occur in “gun-free zones” – even within states that have concealed-carry laws: public schools, churches, Sikh temples, post offices, the movie theater where James Holmes committed mass murder, and the Portland, Ore., mall where a nut starting gunning down shoppers a few weeks ago.

Guns were banned in all these places. Mass killers may be crazy, but they're not stupid.

If the deterrent effect of concealed-carry laws seems surprising to you, that's because the media hide stories of armed citizens stopping mass shooters. At the Portland shooting, for example, no explanation was given for the amazing fact that the assailant managed to kill only two people in the mall during the busy Christmas season.

It turns out, concealed-carry-holder Nick Meli hadn't noticed that the mall was a gun-free zone. He pointed his (otherwise legal) gun at the shooter as he paused to reload, and the next shot was the attempted mass murderer killing himself. (Meli aimed, but didn't shoot, because there were bystanders behind the shooter.)

In a nonsense “study” going around the Internet right now, Mother Jones magazine claims to have produced its own study of all public shootings in the last 30 years and concludes: “In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.”

This will come as a shock to people who know something about the subject.

The magazine reaches its conclusion by simply excluding all cases where an armed civilian stopped the shooter: They looked only at public shootings where four or more people were killed, i.e., the ones where the shooter wasn't stopped.

If we care about reducing the number of people killed in mass shootings, shouldn't we pay particular attention to the cases where the aspiring mass murderer was prevented from getting off more than a couple rounds?

It would be like testing the effectiveness of weed killers, but refusing to consider any cases where the weeds died.

In addition to the Portland mall case, here are a few more examples excluded by the Mother Jones' methodology:

– Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero.

– Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (I'm excluding the shooters' deaths in these examples.)

– Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three.

– Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates – as well as the “trained campus supervisor”; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two.

– Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997: After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school; assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieves a .45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunman's head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: Two.

– Edinboro, Pa., 1998: A student shoots up a junior high school dance being held at a restaurant; restaurant owner pulls out his shotgun and stops the gunman. Total dead: One.

By contrast, the shootings in gun-free zones invariably result in far higher casualty figures – Sikh temple, Oak Creek, Wis. (six dead); Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. (32 dead); Columbine High School, Columbine, Colo. (12 dead); Amish school, Lancaster County, Pa. (five little girls killed); public school, Craighead County, Ark. (five killed, including four little girls).

All these took place in gun-free zones, resulting in lots of people getting killed – and thereby warranting inclusion in the Mother Jones study.

If what we care about is saving the lives of innocent human beings by reducing the number of mass public shootings and the deaths they cause, only one policy has ever been shown to work: concealed-carry laws. On the other hand, if what we care about is self-indulgent grandstanding, and to hell with dozens of innocent children being murdered in cold blood, try the other policies.



DaneChile in Unknown said:

When will these idiots remember that the final straw leading to the American Rev. was when a dicatorial tyrant tried to confiscate the citizens´ firearms?

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 1:37 AM

Radio Randy in Colville, WA said:

Funny...I was researching "Gun Control" on WikiPedia and noted mention of a number of "studies" that seemed to contradict the facts the NRA and other Constitutional groups stated. Nowhere on the site did I see mention of the facts that Ann listed.

Thank you for the information, Ann.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 1:45 AM

Ed in Seattle, WA replied:

REAL WORLD: the more restrictive the gun laws, the higher the crime rate. If you read the article in Wikipedia and think about what you are reading, you would quickly realize the article is silly and meaningless. Australia in response to a school shooting put in place draconian gun control measures and they have a dramatic increase in crime in their country. South Africa also has draconian gun control measures on the books, and their crime rate is ridiculous, in fact if you are a woman living in South Africa, you can expect at some time you WILL be raped, no exceptions.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Connie in California said:

Darwinian evolution, not guns, is directly responsible for these mass murders. If we go back to teaching children that they are created beings in the image of God, and that they have a moral responsibility to obey His laws, these killings would decrease. Notice that "Mother Jones" magazine only looked at the last thirty years. When was the Bible taken out of schools? When was prayer taken out of schools? Is it no wonder that the Demos wanted to take God out of their party platform? But, guess what? He's still here!

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 1:46 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

2 Corinthians 5:17 "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old nature has passed away and BEHOLD-Christ implant a new nature in your HEART. Is it enough to say "I believe? No, but believe AND receive the Holy Spirit, for even the demons believe, and tremble."Merry Christmas Ann Coulter.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 6:31 AM

rab in jo,mo said:

Good article Ann.

Unfortunately, more guns = less crime is a logical conclusion and we all know that logic does not apply in the progressive Bizarro-world. They simply discount any evidence that contradicts their emotional reactions.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 8:21 AM

JJStryder in Realville said:

As we all know common sense has fled this country for warmer climes. Cowardly criminals are risk averse. The chances are greater of an armed citizen in a right-to-carry state as opposed to Illinois or New York. Where are the higher crime rates? I rest my case. My right to carry permit is the second Amendment. I'd rather attend my hearing than my funeral.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

The left doesn't care about dead children, they mean to rule, and to do that they must disarm, very similar to Hitler and the Nazi party. The Democrat Party is in reality a front for the Communist Party USA. Their party platform is the same, nearly word for word, as the Communist Manifesto. They care nothing for anyone but themselves.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

Just wondering how many school children have been killed in school by lone shooters since 1990? Not one. Wonder why.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

I meant to say, In Israel, where there are posted guards in school.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

The lamestrem media will never print or air any incident that contradicts their loony agenda. It's a sad state of affairs that when a citizen with a gun does a good deed that keeps someone else alive either the media castegates the individual or the company he/she is working for fires them for not following company policy. I guess its better to watch someone die than to break the rules. Totally asinine thinking and being PC. Bunch of worthless POS's that really aren't worth the powder and lead it would take to rid the world of them.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 2:11 PM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio said:

Typical Ann Coulter: Concise, factual, and presented well.
Thanks, Ann, this is the kind of information and logic to which we can only wish the "other side" will some day aspire.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

citizen in GA said:

Well said!

As the Facists try to take control.... they try to get the guns out of the hands of the people.

Keep the guns.... Lock up the NUTS!

Friday, December 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

MAJ USA Ret in Saint Louis said:

Regrettably, voters are more influenced by entertainers and other egotistical elitists whose only god is their own fame. The voters prefer laughs and vicarious lifestyles to sober (boring) reality. Blind to truth, they follow their blind leaders. Their blind leader's compullsion for justification by popularity requires they continue deceiving and asserting whatever tickles the ear of their blind followers. These are both deceived, and they rule.
Too many of our churches have followed the blind into darkness instead of leading them into the light. Instead of TRUTH, they seek justification by popularity.
Statistics tell the truth only if truth-tellers report honest statistics. But it doesn't require statistics to see the truth in this issue. Only the blind and those leading the blind can mantra inanimate objects like guns are inherently evil.
God has mercy. I only hope these blind see the light and accept the TRUTH of His grace before they die to eternal darkness.

Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

The collusion between the anti-gun organizations and their myrmidons in the MSM is blantantly obvious. They continuously refer to the event in Newtown as a "shooting" rather than a far better term "massacre" and the perpetrator as a "shooter" or "gunman" rather than a depraved mass murderer. The use of carefully chosen and oft-repeated words, as proven in politics and advertising, goes far to convince the dumbed-down public.

Monday, December 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

The idiocy of the leftists is laughable. The NRA rationally points out the harmful effects of a continuous diet of reality games and Hollywood movies as an unlying contribution to hineous crimes such as the recent one in Connecticut. The MSM and their adherents laughably dismiss the influence of such on palpible young minds, however they are quick to pay millions to a Madison Avenue firm in the total trust a 30-second ad, oft repeated, will force the same minds to buy something they otherwise would not want.

Monday, December 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM