Rep. Greg Steube recently argued that Congress may have played a part in mass shootings by allowing gun-free zones, which make people ready-made victims for violent criminals.
The Sarasota Republican made the pitch at a hearing last Thursday on gun violence held by a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee.
Steube recalled that he began researching the locations of mass shootings as a Florida state legislator around the time of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a decade ago.
The congressman said he noted that many such killings happened in gun-free zones, particularly schools, where shooters “who want to go and kill as many defenseless children as possible are going to go to a place where they know people aren’t armed.”
Back then, Steube added, he filed a bill to eliminate gun-free zones in Florida because not every elementary school had on-site “school resource officers,” who are members of local law enforcement agencies designated to serve at a school.
To bolster his argument for the flawed logic behind gun-free zones, Steube cited testimony of a witness at the hearing, gun-crime expert John Lott.
Lott reported that between 1950 and 2019, 94% of mass shootings occurred in areas considered gun-free zones.
Steube then cited several examples besides Sandy Hook that were gun-free zones when massacres took place, including the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and Uvalde, Texas.
“We will never get evil people out of this world,” Stebe said at the hearing, “and regardless of what tool [gun] they’re using to accomplish the evil they intend on accomplishing, by not having somebody there who is properly trained [and] who’s armed to be able to respond to these types of atrocities is what is putting all of our children in these horrible situations.”
Steube maintained that by not doing more to ensure people who are armed and trained in schools, Congress has made “gun-free zones a target for these perpetrators who know that when they walk into a school grounds, there’s not going to be anybody there that’s going to be able to respond in a timely manner.”
“And we all know how quickly the travesties of this evil can occur in such a short period of time by not having somebody armed and trained and able to respond.”