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Your views on Tuesday's General Assembly Special Session

July 6, 2019, at Richmond Times-Dispatch
By John R. Lott, Jr.


The tragedy at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center fits an all too familiar pattern — yet another mass shooting in a place the victims were banned from carrying guns. It’s not a coincidence that the attack occurred in a public building filled with public employees prohibited from carrying handguns, concealed or otherwise.

This attack could have ended with much less bloodshed. Kate Nixon, a compliance manager at the municipal center, was concerned about a co-worker and spoke with her husband the night before the attack about taking her permitted, concealed carry handgun to work. However, unlike the killer who ignored the ban, Nixon obeyed the rule, and she was one of the 12 people murdered.

Ninety-eight percent of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in gun-free zones.

Police are essential, but they can’t be everywhere. Even if we could station an officer in every building, time and again we’ve seen shooters target them first. By contrast, concealed carry means would-be shooters don’t know who is armed. Permit holders are incredibly law-abiding and stopped dozens of attacks that would have otherwise been mass public shootings.

Further restricting gun ownership by law-abiding Virginians is precisely the opposite lesson that should take from this tragedy.

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