By Tim Schmidt
Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association and may be contacted at Press@USCCA.com
After a crazed gunman took the lives of 12 innocent people in Virginia Beach, we once again find ourselves in the all too familiar position of asking how we can avoid these senseless attacks in the future.
After these tragedies, we often follow the same routine. Almost immediately anti-gun groups and politicians in every corner of the country kick and scream for stricter gun control laws as if it is a foregone conclusion that more laws will have any discernible impact on stopping future shootings. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has already called for a special legislative session beginning July 9th to do just that.
But, these anti-Second Amendment calls to action could very well have the opposite of their intended effect. The sad reality is that murderous maniacs like the man — whose name I refuse to acknowledge — who killed his coworkers in Virginia Beach are undeterred by laws restricting access to firearms.
When someone has decided to take as many lives as possible, they are one of the worst types of criminals in the world. No law or regulation is going to stop them from carrying out these ruthless attacks.
Instead of a knee-jerk reaction calling for more limitations on Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms, Gov. Northam and the other lawmakers should instead consider how we can empower the public to better protect themselves, their loved ones and their fellow citizens from these horrendous, violent criminals.
At the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), we believe the most productive path forward is removing counterproductive restrictions on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. For example, the building where this shooting took place was a gun-free zone, meaning no law-abiding citizens were permitted to carry firearms inside. The gunman clearly knew this and that those inside would be unable to defend t hemselves.
When we take a closer look at this fateful day, the nonsensical restrictions on the Second Amendment become clear. The first 911 calls came through at 4:08 p.m. In a truly incredible response time, officers were outside of the building fewer than two minutes later, but it took until 4:18 p.m. to find the gunman.
While we will never know what could have been, the fact is a responsible gun owner with a concealed weapon very well could have subdued the gunman and saved lives that day. However, these citizens followed the letter of the law, which left everyone inside defenseless from this murderous maniac.
In the days ahead, lawmakers in Virginia will be aligned in their goal of identifying ways to prevent mass shootings from occurring in the future in the upcoming special legislative session. The question is, how exactly can we achieve that?
I hope Gov. Northam will come to realize that more failed gun laws are not the answer. Instead, the focus should be on supporting more responsibly-armed Americans who are often the first line of defense in active shooter situations and doing away with nonsensical restrictions like gun-free zones.
These tragedies are happening all too often in this country. Our current system is broken — and it’s time to move forward with a new strategy.
Sixteen states currently have “constitutional carry” laws on the books that allow men and women to carry concealed weapons without jumping through the costly and time-consuming hoops of obtaining permits. This policy simply allows men and women who have already passed the background checks to obtain firearms to carry them unencumbered by government regulation.
For murderous maniacs like the man in Virginia Beach, these laws are irrelevant. They will carry concealed weapons in their ruthless attacks regardless of permit laws and gun-free zones so we must allow law-abiding men and women to add an extra layer of protection for themselves and those around them.