Today, we celebrated Constitution Day, and Dan Joseph took to the streets to ask people how they felt about our founding document. He also asked people if there was anything they would change. In the wake of the horrific shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, one individual made an interesting point about yesterday's mass shooting at the Navy Yard in the nation's capital:
"I know a lot of people are concerned about guns these days, but you know if everybody had arms, then there wouldn't be these problems.
"My son was at Marine Barracks -- at the Navy Yard yesterday - and they had weapons with them, but they didn't have ammunition. And they said, 'We were trained, and if we had the ammunition, we could've cleared that building.' Only three people had been shot at that time, and they could've stopped the rest of it."
The Navy Yard shooting brings up the legitimate issue of carrying - and using - firearms on military installations.
Back in 1993, the Clinton administration virtually declared military establishments "gun-free zones." As a result, the policy banned "military personnel from carrying their own personal firearms and mandates that 'a credible and specific threat against [Department of the Army] personnel [exist] in that region" before military personnel 'may be authorized to carry firearms for personal protection." Indeed, most military bases have relatively few military police as they are in heavy demand to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan," according to economist John Lott.
Additionally, Lott discovered that "every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns."
The answer is simple. Murderers pick places where they know their victims will be unarmed. It's time we debate having concealed carry on military bases. After all, there's no evidence showing that firearms owners are more irresponsible than the police, as Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund noted back in December of 2012:
"According to a 2005 to 2007 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Bowling Green State University, police nationwide were convicted of firearms violations at least at a 0.002 percent annual rate. That's about the same rate as holders of carry permits in the states with 'shall issue' laws."
Editor's Note: John Lott contacted us to add these updates/clarifications:
1)There are two mass public shootings that have occurred in places that allowed concealed carry. One was at the Gabby Giffords attack. The second was at an IHOP in Carson City, NV in 2011 (Lott had originally missed this because one of the people who died did so at a later date).
2) Apparently, we have a bipartisan problem on the issue of military installations becoming "gun-free" zones. It seems that the Clinton administration merely updated the rules. It seems that this effort was approved by President George H.W. Bush. We apologize for this omission.