One More Gun-Free Zone Gives In To The Idea That Guns Protect Us From Crime.

This morning’s news contained an op-ed in the Daily Camera out of Boulder, CO, concerning the decision of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to relax its rules on CCW and allow armed visitors to stroll through the museum’s halls.  The decision, according to the Museum, was made to bring the DMNS into compliance with Colorado’s concealed-carry law, passed in 2003, which gives state residents the right to take their personal weapons into most public spaces, although CCW is not allowed in schools.

denver              Want to know the most bizarre statement of all coming out of this mess?  According to the op-ed, authored by three leaders of Colorado GVP groups, a spokesperson for the Museum, Maureen O’Neal, defended the new policy by stating that a ‘deciding factor” was the desire of the Museum to keep its visitors “safe during the holiday season.” Does this woman have any idea how dumb she is?  Does the Museum have any idea that someone so stupid is actually speaking on behalf of an institution where education takes place?

And make no mistake about it – the Denver Museum, like all natural history museums, is first and foremost an educational institution, not just in terms of how exhibits are developed and displayed, but by the character and numbers of their visitors who, more often than not, are children from surrounding schools.  My children were all educated in New York City public schools and they all made frequent class trips to the Museum of Natural History (founded by Teddy Roosevelt’s father) located on Manhattan’s Central Park West.  I know about these trips because I often accompanied my kid’s class as a parent-chaperone, and not a single visit occurred without the children spending time in the educational area being given a lesson by a member of the Museum’s education staff.

Think it’s any different at the Denver Museum?  Take a look at their education website, which contains all kinds of resources for teachers and students, and note the 2014 Annual Report which claims that the Museum served as a resource that year for 299,000 teachers and kids.  Total attendance in 2014 was 1.4 million, which means that the educational component of the operation served the needs of more than one-fifth of the total number of visitors who walked through the Museum’s doors.

So when we talk about this museum and its role in the educational environment of Denver and surrounding communities, we’re not talking about Old Macdonald’s Farm. We’re talking about an institution that provides a needed educational component for school-age kids.  The fact is that when schoolchildren and teachers walk into that museum to study the exhibits and listen to a staff member explain what’s going on, they are as much in a classroom as they would be if they were sitting in their own school.

All that is needed is to classify the museum as constituting part of a school which is engaging in distance learning but is offering educational resources that kids receive when they are in class. Obviously, the Colorado legislators who voted for CCW did not believe that armed civilians enhanced school security – so let’s just slightly enlarge the definition of what constitutes a ‘school.’

By creating a gun-free zone, the particular institution is saying that bringing a gun into the area does not enhance safety or security at all. And despite the contrary statement by the Museum’s spokeswoman, there is absolutely no credible evidence pointing to an enhancement of public safety in areas where civilians can walk around armed. The claim that armed citizens protect us from millions of crimes each year is nonsense, and anecdotal evidence simply cannot overcome the fact that virtually all gun homicides occur in places where people own or have access to guns. The NRA is determined to root out gun-free zones because this makes gun ownership more accepted as a normal state of affairs. And right now the Denver Museum is going along with their plan.

 

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23 thoughts on “One More Gun-Free Zone Gives In To The Idea That Guns Protect Us From Crime.

  1. I agree, and the statement by the spokesman for the museum is disturbing. I have a cousin who is an elementary teacher in the Denver area and I pray for her safety. Carrying guns around at will is not safe and does not deter crime. That is a fact and study after study proves this. We are not living in the wild west. We are supposed to be living in a civilized society. Open carry is not civilized behavior. Suppose an estranged or intoxicated parent who is in the middle of a family dispute enters the museum fully armed to set the record straight. In a gun free zone they would not be able to enter without causing concern with the staff and security of the museum. With open carry the person could enter fully armed and approach the targets and just shoot away. Entering the museum fully armed would not raise any concerns until it was to late to prevent a tragedy. Most gun deaths victims, other than suicides, know their perpetrators (friends or family etc..). The gun nuts would say that another gun carrier could prevent the shooter from shooting! What a crock. Should a teacher have to carry a gun on every field trip with their students? Could a teacher identify and prevent the shooter from shooting by firing on them in a crowed museum full of kids, teachers, and museum staff? Does the teacher or other bystander have the training to react in a difficult, confusing situation that even most police do not have? No, no, and a big no!

  2. The game plan slips out. “so let’s just slightly enlarge the definition of what constitutes a ‘school.’” There you have it in a nutshell folks they know they can not get it on one fell swoop so they will chip away at it and hop you do not notice until all your rights are gone.

  3. Why should people be forced to give up their rights in order to go to a museum? Even if it were true that guns don’t make us safer, there is no evidence that shows gun-free zones makes anyone safer either. How safe will you be when the next mass shooter walks into a gun-free zone? Like it or not, owning a gun is normal just like how owning a car is normal, kinda funny how you only take issues with guns even though more people are killed by cars.

  4. Klent, I believe the number of auto deaths has been exceeded by the number of gun deaths as of the last annual count of such statistics, though not by much. For all intents and purposes, they’re basically neck-&-neck and have been for quite a while..

    • Disingenuous, Brent. Traffic deaths and gun deaths are BOTH falling, it just happens to be that traffic deaths have been lowered at a greater rate….this is mostly because more people are electing to give up their cars and move into urban areas from Suburban ones.

      Meanwhile MORE people are owning guns, carrying guns, and getting into the shooting sports, and more of those people are urban and suburban than rural.

      Heck the only reason why gun deaths aren’t vastly lower than auto deaths is suicide in currently on the rise.

      But you and Mike gleefully talk about Assault Weapons bans and “Smart Guns”, and banning carry in museums. How many suicides happened in Museums last year?

      • Auto deaths are falling because cars are being made to withstand impacts better and are generally safer (crumple zones etc…) Read more of Mikes posts and you will see that gun deaths are falling is that trauma units are better at saving gunshot victims lives. The actual gun injury and deaths are going up every year. In other words more people are getting shot but more are surviving the injuries including suicide attempts (yes, not everyone that tries to kill themselves with a gun succeeds, but more do than any other method of ending it all).

  5. Weer’d Beard,

    Granted, both stats are falling, but they are of a similar magnitude (just over 30,000 per year). My point concerned Klent’s comparison of them.

    For the record, I’m not all that crazy about “smart gun” technology or assault-style weapons bans. Nor is Mike, though I’ll let him speak for himself.

      • Of course those theories are interesting but the facts are that per 100,000 miles driven the fatality rates are continuing in a downward trens. 15.575 to 10.345 in the last 20 years. This is due to safer cars and safer roads as well as stricter driving laws. Here is the source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year
        Regulation would improve public safety in that it would be harder for these weapons to get into the wrong hands and would hold legitimate buyers responsible if their guns got into the wrong hands. Remember that the California shooters got their weapons from a “friend”, That friend should be prosecuted for the murders as well. The transfer of military grade weapons to an unlicensed person should be illegal. If a person is just a gun collector and wants to own one there is no problem but they should be held accountable if they transfer or sell them to a unlicensed person. No ban is needed just common sense. Do you think a live hand grenade should be able to sold and bought by anyone?

  6. I agree that smart guns and a full ban on assault weapons will not make much difference. There are millions of guns out there that will be out there for a long time and they are not smart. If all guns being manufactured were required to have smart gun technology it would take decades for them to make a difference in gun accidents and unauthorized use. This will never happen because the gun lobby will never let smart gun legislation pass.
    I think a simpler solution could be found. I am old enough to remember when pill bottles did not have child safety caps. When I was four years old my best friend swallowed a whole bottle of aspirin and nearly died. That same year I found a pistol in my grandmothers bed side table and nearly took a shot before my parents stopped me.
    I think a new simple safety mechanism could be invented, like the current safeties, but childproof. When released by an adult it would automatically be engaged when a gun is placed in a holster or not in motion for a short period of time. In other words if a stupid gun owner leaves their gun on the kitchen table unattended it would automatically go into safety mode and not be able to be fired by a child. If the safety was modified it would render the gun unusable. Of course if this could be engineered it would not be retroactive and it would still take decades to make a difference but it would not infringe on any gun rights and would be considered a product safety issue like crumple zones in cars.
    As far a military grade weapons are concerned they should be regulated just like other military weapons. All military grade weapons should be nationally registered and sold only to people with a special licence, and tracked by the ATF. No where in the constitution does it say that people have the right to own cannons (military grade weapon of the time). Are unlicensed individuals allowed to own rocket launchers, mortars, land mines, surface to air missiles etc… or any other military equipment? Of course the NRA nuts will say that this will lead to national registration of all guns.

    • It’s called a trigger lock, Peter, and all new guns ship with them, and they can be bought for short money.

      The rest of your comment shows you know nearly NOTHING about current gun law, but feel the need to propose new stuff. Do some reading, man.

      • Yes and gun locks are not part of the gun. Many people do not use them, specially careless, stupid people. This is why at least one kid gets shot and killed every week of the year. A safety is built into the gun. A gun safety can be removed also but the gun has to be modified. Gun locks are a NRA cop out. Responsible gun owners are not the problem. I am just suggesting an update for gun safety mechanisms. I have studied gun laws and any states do not have any regulations against military weapons such as Texas. The ATF does not register them either as well as other guns. There is no national registry of any weapons only gun sales by authorized dealers are inspected by the ATF. Read Mikes Posts! New “stuff” is needed and old “stuff” (regulations) need to be enforced and laws clarified, like what constitutes a gun business.

  7. Peter have you looked at accidental shooting statistics? They’re dropping even faster.

    We don’t need more regulations, in fact we need less, and I don’t need to convince you, as the American people at large have already figured it out.

    • 70% of gun owners disagree with you! As far as accidents are concerned the reason that incidents have gone down is because of tougher laws and enforcement for reckless use of guns that lead to accidents mainly involving children. That proves that tougher laws do save lives! Tougher laws are needed. Loopholes in gun sales laws need to be closed and enforced in all 50 states equally (federal laws). Guns need to be tracked when they are new and after every resale and transfer until they are deemed inoperable. Training and licensing is needed as a requirement for all gun purchasers with a national standard. I know this pisses you off but more than 30,000 deaths in the US every year is unacceptable. Most of the deaths are not criminals getting shot but law abiding citizens. Many are children, and innocent bystanders. Gunshot injuries are more than 200,000 per year and most cause serious damage and disability to the victim. If a foreign war caused that much death and injury every year, the public outcry to end the war would be deafening. Here are some more facts: http://www.thetrace.org/2015/12/gun-violence-stats-2015/

  8. A coupla’ thoughts here;

    1) Assault-style weapons are used in very few crimes. But requiring universal background checks on them, as with other classes of guns, will help keep them out of criminals’ hands. Presently, our federal gun laws are fraught with loopholes, a lack of funding and therefore don’t work they way they should.
    2) The sum of all the gun laws, from all the various jurisdictions throughout the country, is (as most folks involved in the gun violence issue know) about 20,000+. They could all be scrapped and replaced with a few tightly written, adequately funded & strictly enforced federal laws that would work way better. I would definitely be for that.
    3) Though most Americans want to protect gun rights and ownership, they also want tighter laws, particularly tighter background checks.

    • If you are not disingenuous, why don’t you talk what of those 20,000 gun laws we should scrap.

      And since we’re all small potatoes here, why not get your buddy Joan in on it.

      Every major player in the anti-gun (or whatever euphemism you choose these days) are always talking about “loopholes” and how ineffective the laws are, but they only want to pile more on, never scrap bad laws in good faith.

  9. I think Joan probably is in on it. She’s an avid follower of Mike’s. Regarding the 20,000 scrap-able gun laws, they’re mainly city, county & state and therefore have serious jurisdictional limitations. A city, country or state can’t enforce it’s own gun laws effectively unless it establishes a complete roadblock system & checks all persons and vehicles entering its jurisdiction – and this is not possible. But federal level laws, if they’re properly written, funded & enforced could easily replace this mountain of local & state laws and work a lot better.
    You’re right, though, the anti-gun, GVP, etc, groups never talk about repealing the ineffective laws. There’s stuff they don’t say that they should & whole lot of stuff they say that they shouldn’t. They are tone-deaf to their message & image and are often their own worst enemy.

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