From the pen of John Lott

John R. Lott, author of MORE GUNS LESS CRIME, holds forth on the unwisdom of so called Gun-free zones. They are, of course, Self-Defense-free zones, herds of prey were there are no bulls with sharp, scary horns to defend the cows and calves.

These shooters are crazy, but not stupid. Even dumb beasts know to attack the weakest member of the herd.

Mass killers have even explicitly talked about their desire to attack gun-free zones. The Charleston, S.C., church shooting in June was instead almost a college shooting. But that killer changed his plans after realizing that the College of Charleston had armed guards.

The diary of the “Dark Knight” movie-theater killer, James Holmes, was finally released just a few months ago. Holmes decided not to attack an airport because of what he described in his diary as its “substantial security.” Out of seven theaters showing the Batman movie premiere within 20 minutes of the suspect’s apartment, only one theater banned permitted concealed handguns. That’s the one he attacked.

Or take two cases from last year. Elliot Rodger, who fatally shot three people in Santa Barbara, Calif., explained his reasoning in his 141-page “manifesto.” He ruled out various targets because he worried that someone with a gun would stop his killing spree.

Justin Bourque shot to death three people in Canada. On Facebook, Bourque posted a picture of a defenseless victim explaining to killers that guns are prohibited. Shooters have good reason to be concerned.

Here are some examples from the past few years.

— Conyers, Ga., May 31, 2015: A permit holder was walking by a store when he heard shots ring out. Two people were killed. The permit holder started firing, and the killer ran out of the store. Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett said: “I believe that if Mr. Scott did not return fire at the suspect, then more of those customers would have [been] hit by a gun[shot]. . . . So, in my opinion he saved other lives in that store.”

— Chicago, April 2015: An Uber driver who had just dropped off a fare “shot and wounded a gunman [Everardo Custodio] who opened fire on a crowd of people.” Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn praised the driver for “acting in self-defense and in the defense of others.”

— Philadelphia, Pa., March 2015: A permit holder was walking by a barber shop when he heard shots fired. He quickly ran into the shop and shot the gunman to death. Police Captain Frank Llewellyn said, “I guess he saved a lot of people in there.”

— Darby, Pa., July 2014: Convicted felon Richard Plotts killed a hospital caseworker and shot the psychiatrist that he was scheduled to meet with. Fortunately, the psychiatrist was a concealed-handgun permit holder and was able to critically wound Plotts. Plotts was still carrying 39 bullets and could have shot many other people.

— Chicago, July 2014: Three gang members fired on four people who had just left a party. Fortunately, one of these four was a military serviceman with a concealed-handgun permit. He was able to return fire and wound the main attacker while keeping the others at bay. The UK’s Daily Mail reported, “The night might have had a very different outcome had the incident occurred a year earlier [before Illinois’s concealed-handgun law was passed].”

— Plymouth, Pa., September 2012: William Allabaugh critically wounded one man inside a restaurant and murdered a second man on the street outside. Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino said that without the concealed-handgun permit holder who wounded Allabaugh, “we believe that it could have been much worse that night.”

— Spartanburg, S.C., March 2012: Armed with a shotgun, Jesse Gates kicked in a door to his church. Concealed-carry permit holder Aaron Guyton drew his gun and held Gates at gun point, enabling other parishioners to disarm Gates. Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright called the churchgoers heroes. Though Gates was stopped before anyone was harmed, he was still charged with one count of kidnapping and three counts of pointing and presenting a firearm.

None of these stories received national news coverage.