Another ‘gun-free zone’ experiences a deadly shooting tragedy

DCNFMolly Prince, DCNF

America experienced another tragedy over the weekend — this time in Jacksonville, Florida — and like the overwhelming majority of mass public shootings, Sunday’s incident also occurred in a gun-free zone.

Two bystanders were killed after a gunman opened fired at a Madden 19 Tournament at Jacksonville Landing, an open-air retail center with stores, bars and restaurants. Jacksonville Landing prohibits the possession of any type of firearm, regardless of whether it is carried legally or not (except for by law enforcement), making it a gun-free zone.

“Possession of a weapon, even if legally carried (except by law enforcement officers) is absolutely prohibited on Landing property,” according to the Jacksonville Landing website.

While the Jacksonville Landing attack is not technically considered a mass public shooting since only two people were murdered in addition to the gunman, it is consistent with the pattern of public shootings occurring in gun-free zones.

Since 1950, 97.8 percent of mass public shootings have occurred in gun-free zones as of June, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), whose data is based primarily on FBI statistics. In fact, there have only been seven mass public shootings over the past 68 years that were not in gun-free zones.

The definition of a mass public shooting excludes “shootings that resulted from gang or drug violence.”

In response to the Jacksonville Landing shooting, Dana Loesch, a political commentator and spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association (NRA), called for the elimination of gun-free zones unless proper security is present.

“A horrible tragedy,” Loesch wrote. “End gun free zones or have the security to in place to keep people safe in them.”

“If you’re going to create gun free zones then have security present. Value and protect innocent life,” she continued. “This isn’t a controversial belief. The Landing has had security concerns for some time.”

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