Rep. Thomas Massie reintroduced a bill on Tuesday aimed at eliminating gun-free school zones across the United States.
Massie’s Safe Students Act, which has seven Republican co-sponsors, would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act passed in 1990 and 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.” Congress amended the original law after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1995.
The Kentucky lawmaker’s attempts to repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act have failed in the past two congressional sessions.
“Gun-free zones are ineffective and make our schools less safe. 98 percent of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in places where citizens are banned from having guns,” Massie said in a press release. “Banks, churches, sports stadiums, and many of my colleagues in Congress are protected with firearms. Yet children inside the classroom are too frequently left vulnerable.”
Massie’s figure appeared to come from a study by the Crime Prevention Research Center, which found in 2018 that 97.8 percent of mass shootings between the years 1950 and 2018 occurred in gun-free zones.
“The only thing gun-free zones do is disarm law-abiding citizens and take away their ability to protect themselves and others,” Rep. Jeff Duncan, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said in a statement Tuesday. “We shouldn’t leave our most vulnerable – our children – in an unsafe environment like gun-free zones where acts of violence cannot be stopped.”
The gun-free school zones debate connects to broader controversy
Massie’s bill reflects the fierce debate between gun control advocates and proponents of the gun rights. The ideological conflict often has a partisan element.
Liberal and progressive activists, such as Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg, have generally championed stricter gun control measures. While conservatives and Republicans like Massie, argue for solutions that respect the Second Amendment.