Representative Thomas Massie, (R-KY), has re-introduced a bill to repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990 and its amendments. It was found unconstitutional in 1995 in U.S. v Lopez. Then it was passed again, slightly modified, under pressure of the President Bill Clinton and the establishment media in 1996. President-Elect Donald Trump has pledged to eliminate “gun-free” zones, but he will need congressional help. The bill is numbered HR 34 for the 2017-18 Congress. Progress on the bill can be seen at congress.gov.

Representative Massie issued a press release on Thursday, January 5th. From massie.house.gov:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, U.S. Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced H.R. 34, the Safe Students Act, which would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.

The bill, originally introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in 2007, repeals the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990, which makes 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.” In 1995, the Supreme Court held the GFSZA unconstitutional, which prompted Congress to amend the bill in 1996. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of the amended Act.

“Gun-free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments,” said Massie. “Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”

The Safe Students Act has garnered the support of three major gun organizations: National Association for Gun Rights, Gun Owners of America, and the National Rifle Association.

Representative Massie concluded: “A bigger federal government can’t solve this problem. Weapons bans and gun-free zones are unconstitutional. They do not and cannot prevent criminals or the mentally ill from committing acts of violence. But they often prevent victims of such violence from protecting themselves.”

There’s no indication that the GFSZA has been effective in any way other than as propaganda demonizing guns and gun owners. Mass school shootings have dramatically increased since passage of the act. Federal prosecutors seem leery of bringing charges for fear of another Supreme Court fight. The first battle took place before District of Columbia v. Heller or McDonald v. City of Chicago, both seminal Second Amendment cases. It’s hard to believe that a blanket ban on possessing arms outside the home within 1,000 feet of a school would pass Constitutional muster, given a Trump replacement for Justice Scalia.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

24 Responses to Bill Introduced to Repeal Gun-Free School Zones Federal Law

  1. “Gun Free Zones” have been responsible for more deaths than any other single law. Good bye to the worst ill conceived liberal scourge ever, which is saying a lot.

    • I’m sure I could think of a few others that caused more deaths. School killings are relatively small in number in the grand scheme of things.

      • Indeed. They’re relatively common, but in a country of 350 million people, you can round your odds of being in a mass shooting down to zero. That’s not to say you shouldn’t prepare, of course (we’ve seen that they can happen anywhere)

        • He didn’t say “schools”, he said “gun free zones”, like some movie theaters, nightclubs etc.

  2. I maybe have said it before here, In U.S. v Lopez, The ruling essentially said that the U.S. Government has no authority to create gun free zones around schools. Under pressure from Clinton, the Libs in Congress changed a few words and passed the “new” version of the bill. I don’t understand why it is enforced because the first ruling said Congress doesn’t have the authority…

    • The difference was that the amended law, unlike the original bill, invoked the Commerce Clause power, thus curing the problem identified by the Supreme Court.

  3. I live less than 1000 feet from a public high school. So according to federal law, I’m a felon for leaving my home armed?

    • Not as long as a) you are on your own property, OR b) have a CCW OR c) when you leave your property with your guns they are unloaded and in a locked container. [Or you are a law enforcement officer.]

      • Your last statement needs clarification. The law only exempts LEOs that are ON DUTY. If they are not, they are federal felons just like the rest of us.

        The exemption clause from the law:

        “by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity”

        • LEOs are never “off duty.”

          Threadjack: A few years ago, a Denver County sheriff deputy stopped to assist a motorist involved in a single car accident. All Denver sheriffs deputies do is jail work, but they are certified LE. A drunk came along and smashed into the deputy. Denver denied his workers comp claim. The CO Supreme Court ruled that LEOs are never off duty, that the deputy was acting in official capacity, and was entitled to workers comp and disability.

  4. Write or email your senators and make this point:

    “Mass school shootings have dramatically increased since passage of the act.”

    • My senators are Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, neither of whom are friends of the gun. I don’t think they want to hear from me.
      A year ago, my Legislator banned people from having firearms on all school campuses, even with a ccw, unless the firearms were unloaded and in a locked container, and there with the permission of the school superintendent. Although schools are allowed to opt out, only a few did. I don’t think they will listen to me (actually, my senator and representative are both Republicans, but they have no voting power.)

  5. Good luck with that bill. This is one of the most universally supported gun controls and it passed Constitutional muster.

    Instead of wasting taxpayer time and money and turning the country against Relublicans, they need to focus on campaign finance reform so that anti-gun Democrats don’t keep getting huge funding from unions

    • Your statement that it has passed Constitutional muster is in direct conflict with the quote in the article by Representative Thomas Massie, the sponsor of the bill.

      It does not exist, but we’d love to see what bit of information you think makes your point. 🙂

  6. I’d like to see the law repealed but realistically I don’t think it will have a serious effect on mass shootings.

    Mass shootings are not conducted by people who consider the ramifications of a GFZ, nor IMHO, do they particularly care if they exist or not. The lure is the crowd of people not the rules imposed on what that crowd may or not carry with them by some law. Terrorists and crazies probably don’t know exactly where GFZ’s are and if they do probably don’t care at all. So the concept that this will deter such events is, IMHO, very, very unlikely.

    Secondly, there simply are not enough CCW holders [yet] to make much of a difference. The most recent numbers I can find say 11.1 million permits nationwide in 2014. That’s 3.47% of the population. Even if you double that number today you’re still only at 6.94% or ~1 in 15 people. Sure, statistically that means that in a crowd of 100 folks you should have six or seven CCW permit holders but I doubt that’s going to be true even with GFZ’s repealed. You see the mantra on here all the time: avoid stupid places. Places with large crowds are stupid places and smart folks, the kind who tend to carry religiously, will tend to avoid those places as much as possible.

    Third, not to trash on anyone here but IME most CCW permit holders are worried about a robbery, rape etc. They don’t tend to carry a gun that’s useful for a mass shooting situation. Sorry folks but that snubbie, compact single stack 9 or .380 mouse gun is somewhat acceptable for personal defense but it’s not a great gun-fighting tool and against a mass shooter we’re talking about a gunfight. That thing is for a stickup at a gas station, attempted abduction or a car jacking. Not many people are carrying a full sized pistol.

    Forth, and you can see this on TTAG and other places, a lot of people who carry religiously carry “for me not for thee” and have 0 interest in stopping a mass shooter. They care solely about themselves and their family. It hits the fan you’re on your own while they flee.

    Fifth, the rifle is making a dash for supremacy in the mass shooter’s world. Yes, statistically the handgun is the mass shooter’s tool of choice regardless of how you count your mass shootings. However, recent high profile events are mainly rifle based and generally pretty successful meaning that rifles will likely gain popularity with the sub-section of assholes who pull mass shootings. Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, Paris, Dallas, Orlando etc. They all add to the “glory” of the rifle as a tool of terror. I know I mentioned full sized pistols in #3 but even that’s not something you want going up against a rifle. Against a rifle you want a rifle too. A full sized pistol is way down on the list. It’s still above a .380 sub compact or a snubbie but not by much.

    So when we get down to it at most seven people out of 100 will have a CCW permit when it goes down at the mall. Some of them aren’t religious about their carry the way your average TTAGer is so cut out a person or two. Down to six. Half won’t engage the shooter because they don’t care that much about you. Down to three. Half of those people will be armed with some short sight radius pistol and won’t be able to get into any sort of place to use it regardless of what’s going down. Down to two (at most). If a rifle is being used by the shooter none of your carriers will be carrying something really useful to use against them and we’re down to 0.

    What we’re realistically left with is dumb luck that of the 1-2% of folks who have a tool for the situation and are willing to use it and might get lucky enough that when it all pops off they’re in a good position to take that POS down (like behind him). Now we have to hope they have the balls to do it and are competent enough with their weapon to actually make their actions count.

    Not trying to insult anyone here, but statistically I don’t see the repeal of GFZ’s as making much difference when it comes to what a GFZ is “supposed” to stop: mass shootings.

    Apologies for the rant.

    • You are spot on about the rifle being the weapon of choice for mass shooters and CCWs making no difference due to inadequate weapons. We need well trained School Resource Officers with ARs or local neighborhood watch that was vetted & uniformed with ARs like the Israelis have at their schools.

      Let’s see an asshole try to shoot up a school or airport when two well trained guys with military rifles and plate carriers (bulletproof to rifles) start engaging with accurate fires.

      BTW, rifles being preferred to handguns is the same solution that the military came to after analyzing advisors getting shot by locals they train.

      • I won’t say it makes no difference. You could be in the head, hear it hit the fan, come out and the guy’s standing there 10 feet away with his back to you just begging to get busted in the back of the grape. So you walk up, put the snubbie to his skull case and proceed to evacuate some brain matter.

        It could happen. I’m saying the chances aren’t good and they’re not good for a variety of reasons.

    • Well, I sure can’t argue, since I ignore GFZs just like a killer would. So I would be carrying anyway! And yeah, my chances of stopping a bad guy with a rifle with a few shots from my puny 9mm at 100 yards are pretty miserable, but I tend to think when the asshole discovers he does not have the only gun in the area he will tend to at least duck, and many times has chosen that point, in the past, to go ahead and off himself, all good things.

      • If he’s type A crazy he might just eat his own bullet and that’s fine and dandy by me.

        If he’s type H[aji] crazy he almost certainly will not and those fuckers seem to be increasingly common, come in groups and be at least moderately effective at utilizing their chosen weapons.

  7. Reading a book on gun control, I came across a factoid I hadn’t heard before about the UT tower shooting by Charles Whitman, dunno how to check if it’s true. Author said that after the local fools with their lever action 30-30s arrived and began tossing lead at him, he did not shoot anyone else. They may not have offed him, but they kept his head down!

  8. Briefly: Laws define what acts are considered criminal, they do not stop those acts. No law will stop a killer from killing, with or without a firearm. The laws only pertain to those that will obey them.

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