On the Record: Guns on campus prevent shootings


Walter Block, [email protected]

I write in the aftermath of the horrific tragedy which occurred at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. There, some dozen or so innocent people were put to death by a mass murderer. Sadly, this despicable act comes as only one in a far too long series of such campus shootings.

I ask, can something despicable like that occur here, at Loyola University New Orleans? Sadly, the answer is yes; virtually all college campuses are potential targets of these madmen.

What is to be done to prevent such occurrences in the future, or at least radically reduce their incidence? According to our friends on the left, we need more and stricter gun control laws. There should be better background checks, and fewer firearms available. But this is not likely to work. After all, the criminals will still have guns; they are not law-abiding. The masses of people, in contrast, will be dis-armed, and prove even easier, softer targets for the lawless.

No, an entirely different strategy is more likely to prove successful.

Instead of disarming innocent people, allow them to have the capacity to defend themselves. In particular, get rid of these misbegotten gun-free zones, of which Loyola University is one.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 92 percent of mass public shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 occurred in gun-free zones.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump saw this point clearly. He stated, referring to this recent catastrophe: “And by the way, it was a gun-free zone. I will tell you — if you had a couple of the teachers or somebody with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off. Precisely.

If several students and the professor of that class were carrying pistols, and were shooting back at the vicious perpetrator, he would not have been able to hit as many people as he did. But I go further than The Donald. If Umpqua Community College were not a gun-free zone, and this mass murderer knew that, oh, half of the students were armed, he most likely would not have shown up there to perpetrate his evil deeds.

There has also been a hue and a cry about “mental health.” This too is a red herring. Chris Harper Mercer, the murderer, was sane enough to qualify for the purchase of several weapons. He knew enough not to go to a place where pretty much everyone was armed; for example, a gun show or a police station. Why is it that places like that are rarely the targets of these despicable killers? The answer is, they are not at all that irrational. They are just evil.

Pretty much everyone in Switzerland owns a rifle, and knows how to use it; there is very little crime there.

Chicago has one of the strictest gun control policies in the nation, and is also one of the leaders in these vile mass murder statistics.

Would the Jews in Nazi Germany have been better off if they all had revolvers at their disposal? They could hardly have been worse off. Hitler might have reasoned that, yes, he could still murder these people even if they were armed, but it might cost him a regiment, or even a division, of soldiers. Maybe, better to let these vermin go than try to kill them all. (By the way, if the New York Times is reading this, or the Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J. or 17 of my Loyola professorial colleagues who claimed in The Maroon that I favor slavery, I do not regard Jewish people as “vermin.” I was attributing this comment to our man Adolf.)

The biathlon, an event in the winter Olympics, combines cross country skiing and rifle shooting. The summer Olympics features pistol target shooting. Want to make Loyola all but impregnable to such disasters? End its gun-free zone status, start teams in both of these events, and heavily publicize these initiatives.

Also, while we’re at it, rethink those “take back the night” marches. They only work for the few minutes the rapists are rolling on the floor in laughter, getting stomach cramps. The gun is the great equalizer. More firearms will thus move us a step toward egalitarianism the social “justice” people are always advocating.

This is the first in a four-part exchange. The second can be found here, the third here and the fourth here.