The tragedy at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center fits an all too familiar pattern—yet another mass shooting in a place the victims were banned from carrying guns. The most lives are claimed in places where people can’t defend themselves on equal footing. It’s not a coincidence the attack occurred in a public building filled with public employees prohibited from carrying handguns, concealed or otherwise.
This attack could have ended with much less bloodshed. Kate Nixon, a compliance manager at the municipal center, was concerned about a fellow employee and spoke with her husband the night before the attack about taking her permitted, concealed carry handgun to work. However, the city bans individuals, including public employees, from possessing "any weapon" on city property unless authorized by a supervisor so she decided against it. Unlike his law-abiding colleagues, the killer didn’t abide by the ban. Kate Nixon was one of the 12 people killed in the attack.
This pattern of attacks at gun-free zones isn’t limited to workplace shootings: 98 percent of all mass public shootings in the U.S. since 1950 have occurred in places where the average citizen was banned from possessing guns.\
Banks, churches, sports stadiums, and many members of Congress are protected with firearms. Yet children inside the classroom are too frequently left vulnerable. To combat this, Rep. Thomas Massie, co-author of this op-ed, introduced H.R. 3200 last week, a bill that repeals the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990.