Hawkins: It’s Not the AR-15 or the ‘High Capacity’ Magazine, but the Gun-Free Zone

Gun Free School Zone Sign AP
Photo by Michael Schumacher AP/Amarillo Globe News

A broadly applicable lesson from the Santa Fe High School shooting is that our nation’s school safety threat does not come from AR-15s or “high capacity” magazines, but from gun-free zones.

This was clearly demonstrated Friday when an attacker opened fire with what Gov. Greg Abbott (R) described as “a shotgun and … a .38 revolver.”

He killed ten people and wounded ten others in a heinous display of evil, and the commonality between this attack and attacks that came before it was not an AR-15 or a “high capacity” magazine, but a gun-free zone. The Santa Fe High School weapons policy not only prohibits firearms and ammunition, but even “look-alike” weapons, BB guns, and “pocketknives.”

A similar gun-free policy exists at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman High School, the site of the February 14 shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people, and gun-free policies also existed at Umpqua Community College (October 1, 2015), Sandy Hook Elementary School (December 14, 2012), Virginia Tech (April 16, 2007), and Columbine (April 20, 1999).

Such gun-free policies are not limited to schools. For example, Orlando Pulse was gun-free when 49 people were shot to death on June 12, 2016. The San Bernardino county building was gun free when 14 were shot to death on December 2, 2015, the Aurora movie theater was gun-free when 12 were shot to death on July 20, 2012, and Fort Hood was gun-free when 13 were shot to death on November 5, 2009. The list goes on; yet, as it pertains to schools, Democrats respond by defending gun-free policies.

Someone may point out that Santa Fe High School and Marjory Stoneman High differed from Sandy Hook Elementary inasmuch as there were armed resource officers on scene. That is a valid point but it does not negate the larger fact that the Santa Fe and Marjory Stoneman attackers were free to fly their evil trade in a gun-free environment once they made it past those resource personnel.

If we are serious about school safety there simply must be armed school staff and teachers scattered throughout our schools. This sends the message that attackers who get past resource officers will face lethal resistance from good guys with guns.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at