The topic of guns has crept back into the presidential campaign following the NRA’s endorsement of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. On May 21 Hillary Clinton spoke at an event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, sponsored by the Trayvon Martin Foundation, where she attacked Trump’s position on guns. One of the things she went after was his vow to do away with “gun-free zones” at schools. Clinton said,
That idea isn’t just way out there. It’s dangerous … Parents, teachers and schools should have a right to keep guns out of classroom just like Donald Trump does at many of his hotels by the way. This is somebody running for president of the United States of America, a country facing a gun violence epidemic, and he is talking about more guns in our schools, he is talking about more hatred and division in our streets, even more nuclear weapons in the world. That’s no way to keep us safe.
On Sunday Trump responded to Clinton’s comments with the nonsensical remark that he doesn’t want to have guns in classrooms, but that in some cases teachers should have guns. His reason? Not because of the threat of a mass shooter, apparently, but because “things that are going on in our schools are unbelievable.”
Never missing an opportunity to attack Clinton and defend guns, Fox and Friends’ Steve Doocy hosted a segment on Monday morning with a gun rights advocate and blogger named Regis Giles. Giles was either very nervous about being on TV, or she had gotten out of bed way too early, because she wasn’t too coherent. Which means that she fit right in on Fox and Friends.
The gun rights advocate starts by calling Hillary’s comments “laughable,” and says that “gun-free zones are a failed concept.” Why? She says, “At least 92 percent of mass shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 occurred in gun-free zones.”
Note the choice of dates. July 2014 is probably the latest date for which data is available. January 2009 is of course the month that President Obama took office. Giles doesn’t explain why she chose that date range, but it’s not hard to figure out.
Of course this is Fox News, so left unexplained is the definition of “mass shooting.” Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick made a similar statement about shootings in gun-free zones that Politifact looked into. They found that the number of mass shootings in gun-free zones varies widely depending on how many people it takes to make up a “mass shooting,” and by what is considered a gun-free zone.
Doocy responds that people “on the political left” think that “gun-free zones” mean that nobody there will have a gun, but people with “a bad idea” go into gun-free zones with guns “and it generally doesn’t end well.” Of course that misrepresents the purpose of gun-free zones, which are less about preventing mass shootings than about keeping the people in them safe from each other. As tragic as they are, mass shootings account for less than one percent of all shootings in the United States. You are far more likely to be shot by a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance than by a crazed gunman intent on committing mass murder.
Giles launches into the whole “guns are in the constitution” argument next, saying that “we’re allowed to protect our life, liberty and property.” She goes on to say that we have to protect our children the best way we know how, “with a well armed and trained human being.” Those statements are quite a reach, considering that the second amendment only refers to the “security of a free state,” and a “well regulated militia.”
The conversation ends in nonsenseland, with Giles saying that Clinton goes around with an armed detail, and that if she believes in gun-free zones, she should give her armed detail to a school somewhere. The stupid is strong with that comment. Of course Hillary can’t just give away a Secret Service detail. And what school would she give it to? It’s not like there are certain schools that are more likely to be targeted by shooters than others. Totally missing in that argument is the fact that political figures, particularly presidential candidates, are targets. That Secret Service detail may have guns in case they need them, but they are also there to form a human shield, and take a bullet to protect the candidate if needed. Their presence is about much more than their guns.
It was early, and it was Monday. So maybe all of the people who could have made a better argument were unavailable. Regis Giles didn’t help the pro-gun cause at all.
Here’s the video, via Fox News:
Featured image via Fox News