By ALAN GOTTLIEB and DAVE WORKMAN
Special to the Star-Telegram
Three fatal attacks on school property in less
than a week -- more than 20 since February 1996
when a 14-year-old youth strolled into a junior
high school in Moses Lake, Wash., and opened
fire, killing two students and a teacher.
The dirty little secret of all these atrocities
is that they happened in so-called "gun-free
school zones." Before enactment of that horribly
misguided federal legislation and its state-level
clones, one never read about school massacres because there weren't any.
The Gun-Free School Zones Act transformed the
public school landscape into a free-fire zone for
whackos by removing any possibility, however
small, that an armed teacher, student or private
citizen might be present to intervene.
As a result, monsters like Colorado's Duane
Morrison or Pennsylvania's Charles Roberts, and a
host of others have committed mayhem, courtesy of
gun-control fanatics who pressured Congress and
state legislatures to pass such statutes.
The exception is Luke Woodham, who shot up
Mississippi's Pearl High School in 1997 after
slitting his mother's throat. Midway through his
spree, Woodham encountered Vice Principal Joel
Myrick, who had rushed to his car to retrieve a
.45-caliber pistol. Myrick aimed the gun at
Woodham's head and held him until police arrived.
You read little about Myrick's heroism, and less
about his handgun, in the press.
After the Pennsylvania attack on an Amish school
in Lancaster County, anti-gun Gov. Ed Rendell had
a remarkable moment of candor when he admitted
that tougher gun laws would not have stopped the gunman.
"You can make all the changes you want," Rendell
said, "but you can never stop a random act of
violence by someone intent on taking his own life."
His remarks were largely ignored because nobody
wants to admit that Rendell is right about this,
same as they overlooked Myrick and his gun. Such
facts don't fit the anti-gun agenda.
It is time to reconsider gun-free school zone
laws and the zero-tolerance mentality such laws
foster. Inflexible regulations aimed at keeping
kids safe also place teachers in jeopardy.
A teacher in Lacey, Wash., was recently suspended
for having a gun in her purse. Licensed to carry,
she was afraid of her estranged husband, against
whom she has a domestic violence protection
order, and has filed for divorce. But now she's
in trouble, allegedly victimized by her spouse and again by the law.
We can no longer afford the empty-headed utopian
illusion that such statutes keep anyone safe,
because they don't. Like other restrictive gun
control measures, this one has been a monumental
failure, and it is literally killing our children.
Nobody is suggesting that all teachers arm
themselves, but scrapping the law restores that
option. School massacres didn't happen in the
days when high schools had rifle teams, and when
it was common in the fall to find both teachers
and students with rifles or shotguns locked in
their cars. That was before "gun" became a
four-letter word among self-described
"progressive liberals" who championed gun-free zones.
If what's happening at schools today is
"progress," we might be better off -- and a lot
of students would still be alive -- if we were
back in those unenlightened days when school kids
riding down country roads with .22 rifles across
their bicycle handlebars alarmed nobody.
In the wake of our most recent school shootings,
reaction from the gun control crowd has been
pathetic. Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke
blustered that "we need to do something about
that." He suggested a national dialogue, as if
more talk will stop suicidal maniacs.
His bunch has done enough already, with the help
of gun-grabbing congressional demagogues such as
Charles Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi
and their far-left colleagues, and an
all-too-cooperative "mainstream" press. They gave
us a law that leaves our children and their
teachers vulnerable to the whims of any nutball looking for 15 minutes of fame.
Restrictive gun laws do not prevent crime and the
notion of a gun-free school zone is a myth. More
restrictions on law-abiding citizens will never
stop people like Morrison or Roberts who proved
yet again that feel-good laws have defrauded
American citizens, and especially our children, of genuine safety.
Alan Gottlieb is chairman of the Citizens
Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (
Workman is the senior editor of Gun Week,
published by the Second Amendment Foundation (
© 2006 Star-Telegram and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.