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Yes, gun-free zones are targets — and research proves it

A North Carolina law has gone into effect that blocks police from destroying confiscated or unclaimed firearms.
(Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

To the editor: Evan DeFilippis’ and Devin Hughes’ op-ed article defending gun control and criticizing my research is filled with flaws. (“5 arguments against gun control — and why they are all wrong,” Opinion, July 8)

The authors say that a good guy with a gun can’t stop mass public shootings, but they miss dozens of cases where police and prosecutors say concealed-carry permit holders saved multiple lives. These cases aren’t included in any FBI data. My research in the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ newsletter ACJS Today (in March 2015) also showed the FBI missed 20 mass public shootings.

They claim that I have misrepresented places as gun-free zones. Yes, an armed, identifiable off-duty officer was guarding the nightclub in Orlando, Fla., when the shooting took place last month, but my point is that such guards are the first people to be shot at. The benefit of civilian concealed carry is that killers don’t know who might stop them.

DeFilippis and Hughes ignore explicit statements by mass public shooters on why they pick gun-free zones: because it makes victims easier targets.

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John R. Lott Jr., Swarthmore, Pa.

The writer is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

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To the editor: The problem is not gun control (or lack thereof), but the gun culture in which we now live.

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It’s common for ordinary people to have guns either on their person or in their homes or cars. That, or they are considering owning a gun. The fantasy is that this will keep us safe in an increasingly dangerous world, even though the data do not support this.

Numbers tell only part of the story. We are also losing the ability to solve problems without threatening or resorting to violence.

In our homes, schools, police departments and governments, we cannot lose our human ability to get people together and work out our problems without the threat of violence. Life has not yet been reduced to a video game.

William Woodrum, Covina

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To the editor: Although DeFilippis and Hughes present an excellent case for gun control, all their arguments miss the essential point: Maintaining gun and ammunition manufacturer profits, and funding the National Rifle Assn.-backed politicians who will ensure those profits, is paramount.

As long as our political system demands the raising of huge sums of money to get elected and reelected, all politicians will represent these and other big financial interests rather than the best interests of the American people.

Jonathan Kramer, La Jolla

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