National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre decried so-called “gun-free zones” during a speech at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), calling such areas “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.”
As Daily Beast politics reporter Betsy Woodruff noted, “absolutely” no guns or other weapons are allowed at CPAC:
At CPAC there will be no good guys with guns :/ pic.twitter.com/Kn8tUWyubs
-- Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) March 3, 2016
The NRA frequently tells supporters that “gun-free zones” imperil their lives, enable mass shootings, and invite terrorists, even though the group often holds its annual meeting at locations that do not allow guns.
During his speech at CPAC 2016, LaPierre claimed that “as a result” of the NRA's call for armed personnel in schools, including armed teachers and volunteers, “millions of children go to school today no longer the sitting ducks of the worst and most dangerous of all lies, gun-free zones.” He went on to claim, “The news media, protected by their own armed security, they never admit it, but today millions of children are safer for one reason: the NRA.” He ended his riff on “gun-free zones” with a false talking point: “The simple truth [is] that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The politicians and the media be damned.”
During the 2015 CPAC meeting, LaPierre told the crowd that the Islamic State is “carving a bloody trail that leads to our doorstep” and suggested it is not a matter of “if” but “when” a terrorist attack will occur at “the supposedly gun-free zone of the Mall of America.”
In remarks following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, LaPierre also compared the practice of announcing no-gun policies to placing an advertisement for an “insane killer.”
Yet, despite the supposed perils of “gun-free zones,” LaPierre agreed to participate in the 2016 CPAC meetings.
According to an analysis of 62 public mass shootings by Mother Jones, there is no evidence that any of the gunmen chose their targets because of a policy that prohibited the carrying of guns. For example, 20 mass shootings included in the analysis took place at workplaces because they “involved perpetrators who felt wronged by employers and colleagues.” Furthermore, none of the 62 shootings was stopped by an armed civilian.
Gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety tracked all mass shootings that occurred between January 2009 and July 2014 and found that just 17 percent of incidents occurred in “gun-free zones,” while the rest occurred where guns can legally be carried.