Gun Free “Kill Zones”

by GREGORY D. LEE October 7, 2015

The tragic events at Umpqua Community College (UCC) in Roseburg, Oregon, may be repeated if legislators and school managers fail to recognize that "Gun Free Zones" are in reality deathtraps that attract mentally unstable people to commit mass shootings.

The college had one unarmed security guard on campus, and it has a policy of not allowing anyone to carry a concealed weapon on the property, despite Oregon law that allows concealed firearms licensees to do so in public places. According to Dr. Rita Cavin, the interim president of UCC, "Staff is responsible for student safety." That sure makes me feel a lot safer.

What the good doctor and misguided school administrators, legislators, pastors, business owners, and others don't realize is that 93% of all "mass shootings" in this country have occurred at locations designated as "Gun Free Zones." These locations include elementary schools, high schools, college campuses, movie theaters, churches, and shopping malls.

The belief that these locations are supposedly free of persons carrying guns makes them magnets for the criminally insane that are hell bent on mass murder. They reason that they will not encounter anyone with a firearm, other than a police officer, to put a stop to their goals.

Anti-gun California has a "Gun Free School Zone Act" dating back to 1995. The law makes it a felony for anyone to possess or discharge a firearm within 1,000 feet of any school, making felons out of anyone who merely drives by a school on the way to a shooting range. The gun doesn't even have to be loaded to violate this act.

The same geniuses that came up with the California "Gun Free School Zone Act" also limit the number of bullets a pistol or rifle magazine can hold to 10, even though the weapon is capable of holding more. They theorize that unarmed members of the public would spring into action to tackle an "active shooter" while he is reloading his weapon after firing off his first 10 rounds instead of 12, 15, or 30. Do these people actually believe that an active shooter in a "Gun Free Zone" would only use a 10-round magazine when magazines of higher capacities are readily available? If you're a California concealed weapons permit holder, you would obey the law and have a 10-round magazine, but you would be at a distinct disadvantage if you got into a gunfight with an active shooter who has a 15-round magazine. But it doesn't matter to anti-gun legislators whose ultimate goal is to have all firearms confiscated and make America a Gun Free Country like the U.K. and Australia.

The real problem is the government's inability to involuntarily commit mentally ill people to treatment centers. Apparently crazy people have a Constitutional right to remain crazy, and their danger to public safety doesn't seem to matter.

President Obama immediately politicized the shooting at UCC in yet another effort to move his anti-gun agenda forward. Instead of shaming Congress into action, he should direct his 94 United States Attorneys to enforce existing gun laws.

According to the FBI, in the past decade, over 700,000 persons attempting to purchase firearms were denied because of their criminal backgrounds or other valid reasons. This means they lied on the ATF Form 4473 they filled out, which is a federal felony. Yet, only a hand full is prosecuted each year. For example, according to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, in 2002, 60,739 persons were denied firearms purchases, but only 141 were prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys. Why?   

Straw purchasers are another problem that doesn't get much attention from U.S. attorneys. For a fee, these people will buy firearms for persons who would normally fail the instant background check. Others obtain phony ID of someone without a criminal record to make the purchases. These prosecutions are also a low priority for U.S. attorneys when straw purchasers should be imprisoned in order to stop the flow of illegal firearms to criminals and severe penalties would serve as a deterrent to others.

Even though the UCC shooter purchased his weapons legally, this brings us back to the mental health problems in this country that overlook people like him and others who have no business possessing firearms.

Liberals need to stop blaming the gun for the actions of mentally depraved persons.

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Gregory D. Lee is a retired Supervisory Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the author of three criminal justice textbooks. While on DEA diplomatic assignment in Pakistan, he was involved in the investigation of several notable terrorism events and arrests. He recently retired after more than 39 years of active and reserve service from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Chief Warrant Officer Five Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division Command, better known as CID. In 2011 he completed a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan while on special assignment to the Special Operations Command Europe. Visit his website at and contact him at

blog comments powered by Disqus

FSM Archives

10 year FSM Anniversary