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Republican lawmakers reintroduce bill to repeal gun-free school zones

Drug Free and Gun Free (Marcus Quigmire/WikiCommons)
June 17, 2019

A Republican lawmaker has reintroduced a bill to eliminate gun-free zones in America’s schools.

Last week, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie reintroduced a 2007 bill, the “Safe Students Act” (H.R. 3200) originally introduced by Rep. Ron Paul, which seeks the repeal of the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act,  according to Newsweek.

The Gun-Free School Zones Act was introduced by former Sen. Joe Biden in 1990 and made up part of the Crime Control Act of 1990.

A statement from Massie’s office said the new bill would get rid of the current “one-size fits all federal ban on guns” in areas immediately around schools that bans people from carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of public or private school grounds.

“Gun-free zones are ineffective and make our schools less safe. 98 percent of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in places where citizens are banned from having guns. Banks, churches, sports stadiums, and many of my colleagues in Congress are protected with firearms. Yet children inside the classroom are too frequently left vulnerable,” Massie said in his statement.

Massie serves as Chairman of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus. This is his third attempt at reintroducing the bill with two prior tries in the past two congressional sessions.

The bill is cosponsored by seven Republicans: Reps. Justin Amash, Jody Hice, Jeff Duncan, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, James Comer, and Brian Babin.

In the 1995 case United States v. Lopez, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the original Gun-Free School Zones Act was unconstitutional, but it was then amended to make it “unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.”

The constitutionality of the amended version has not been decided by the Supreme Court, however.

“The only thing gun-free zones do is disarm law-abiding citizens and take away their ability to protect themselves and others. We shouldn’t leave our most vulnerable – our children – in an unsafe environment like gun-free zones where acts of violence cannot be stopped,” Rep. Duncan said in Massie’s statement.

Massie referred to a Crime Prevention Research Center report that highlighted a number of incidents where concealed carry thwarted public shootings and hindered attacks.

“The day of the Virginia Beach shooting one of the considered taking a gun to work over concerns about a colleague but didn’t because of #gunfreezone,” Crime Prevention Research Center President John R Lott Jr. tweeted.

Massie’s efforts aren’t likely to pass the Democratic majority House, though they do align with a campaign promise made by then-candidate Donald Trump in January 2016.

“I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and – you have to – and on military bases,” Trump said at the time, as reported by The Washington Post.