Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sun, Sept. 22

Editorial: Armed citizens are often our only defense

It's a little-known fact about mass shootings.

The only way they end - other than in the shooter's suicide - is when someone opposes the perpetrator with equal or greater deadly force.

So-called mainstream media don't like to report the fact, but in some of the recent high-profile mass shootings, an armed citizen presented the opposing force.

In the famous March 24, 1998, Jonesboro, Ark., case in which two students, 13 and 11, killed four students and a teacher and wounded nine other students and a teacher, a teacher who ran to his car and retrieved a personal firearm forced the two boys to surrender. Hardly any account of the shooting mentions that.

Former police officer Jeanne Assam ended the Dec. 10, 2007, mass shooting at a Colorado Springs megachurch when she killed shooter Matthew Murray with her concealed handgun.

The fallacy of gun-free zones is that banning firearms in schools and churches, rather than making them safer, assures the Matthew Murrays of the world a defenseless pool of victims through which to acquire their twisted moments of final glory.

Now, Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, and Senate Majority Leader Thad Verschoor, R-Gilbert, have introduced a bill in the Arizona Legislature to let holders of concealed carry permits carry their guns on school campuses.

Intellectually, it's a great idea. Permit holders undergo extensive training. They know that if they ever draw the weapon, they'd better be right, because they face tremendous civil liability even if they're right and civil and criminal liability if they're wrong.

But if someone starts shooting defenseless people in a public place, who wants to wait a minimum of 15 minutes for police?

Despite the fact the state proposal makes a lot of sense, the federal law outlawing firearms on school grounds would supersede the state measure even if both houses approve it and the governor signs it.

So, until Congress comes to its senses, anyone stuck in a public place when the next Matthew Murray shows up had better hope the school employs armed security guards or the police are very quick responders.

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