The recent killings in Colorado and Nebraska prompted Alan Korwin to renew his recommendation for legislation that might both deter and mitigate shootings where only the killer is armed: "If you create a gun-free zone, you're liable for any harm it causes." Korwin's proposal was mooted in the Arizona, Georgia and Illinois legislatures years ago, but never adopted.
I support the concept. There may be no perfect solution, but why not emphasize self-defense? As SayUncle details, "armed citizens have a reasonable record at stopping mass murderers." Robbers too--sometimes without firing a shot. Those backing gun-free zones in, say, churches, schools or shopping malls, Glenn Reynolds observes, believe:
they'll make people safer, when in fact they're only disarming the people who follow rules, law-abiding people who are no danger at all.Yet, Korwin's approach isn't ideal. National solutions are probably beyond the authority of Congress. See United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995) (invalidating "Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990"). And though state or local acts would work, passage would be time consuming.
This merely ensures that the murderers have a free hand. If there were more responsible, armed people on campuses, mass murder would be harder. . .
People don't stop killers. People with guns do.
What about a judicial alternative? Normally, I'm opposed, because policy is the prerogative of legislatures, not the judiciary. But tort liability is properly the province of courts. Especially under common law, which continually evolves via precedent. Why shouldn't disastrous forced disarming be considered negligent?
So let the lawyers go forth on behalf of murder victims and sue gun-free establishments (a point Instapundit previously made). Besides, after the Presidential primaries, it's a perfect new career for ex-malpractice lawyer John Edwards.