Data duel: Are gun-free zones really safer?


Children are heading back to school with the debate over gun safety still raging six months after the Parklandmassacre — and no issue is more heated than whether gun-free zones make students safer or more endangered. 

Led by President Trump, gun rights backers are increasingly on the offensive, pushing to roll back the general policy consensus, enshrined in federal law, that guns and schools generally don’t mix.

A study by John R. Lott Jr., a gun crimes researcher, said close to 98 percent of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones, suggesting that they do little to stop, and may even invite, rampages.

Having access to guns limited to security officers doesn’t help much, he said.

“Even if they’re not in uniform but their job is to guard — and everybody knows their job is to guard — they are a target,” Mr. Lott said. “If you’re going to have an attack, they’re going to be the first guys taken out

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