Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting around (through) the "gun-free" school zone

Federal law (18 USC 922(q)(2)(B)(ii)) bans firearms within 1,000 feet of a school. I suppose the intent of this legislation is noble -- to protect school children. However, it ignores the simple fact that those with violent criminal intent, by definition, ignore and disobey the law, no matter how noble the law may be.

This is one of our countless laws that prohibit harmless behavior simply because someone doesn't like it (malum in se -- eg, peaceful possession of a firearm). We should only have laws which prohibit and punish behavior that is inherently wrong (malum prohibitum -- eg, shooting school children).

Countless (probably millions) responsible, innocent Americans have unknowingly violated this federal law for at least three reasons:

1 - They don't know about the law or
2 - They can't see the invisible lines that define that 1,000-foot federal "gun-free" zone
3 - It is virtually impossible to navigate a typical city without encountering the 1,000-foot perimeter of a "gun-free" school zone.

Utah has a similar law.

To cure this problem in Utah, SB.249 has been introduced in the 2012 Utah Legislative session. It will eliminate criminal liability for law-abiding persons who enter a school zone with a firearm. This bill will not affect any criminal penalties for criminal behavior with a firearm. This liberty is already exercised by persons with concealed firearm permits. I know of no situation where this has been a problem. It is, therefore, evident that the possession of a firearm does not cause responsible people to go berserk in school zones.

Absent any threatening behavior, a person with a gun is no more dangerous than a person with a car.

SB.249 is a small forward step toward restoring our pre-Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I urge the legislature and the governor to enact this bill immediately.

Related commentary:
The lunacy of banning guns in schools
Stop arbitrary gun bans near schools
Gun-free school zones
Enact HR.2613 (Citizens Protection Act of 2011) immediately!
End federal gun-free zones!
Yet another deadly gun-free zone
Gun-free zones kill again! (1)
Gun-free zones kill again! (2)
Gun-free zones kill again! (3)

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