By: Teresa Mull

The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank based in Chicago, recently published “The Patriot’s Guide to Freedom and Firearms,” promoting “additional guns and defensive gun training,” along with school choice options as ways to increase school safety without infringing on citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

The following, written by Heartland Institute President Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D.,
is reprinted with permission from the guide’s preface:

School shootings in Florida, Kentucky, and Maryland have focused the media’s attention on gun violence in America’s high schools. As the father of four children, I understand that nothing is more important for moms and dads than the safety of their children.

Many people assume the way to prevent school shootings is to restrict access to firearms, but extensive research shows this often-repeated claim is false. What is the solution to these horrific shootings? The evidence suggests additional guns and defensive gun training are much better deterrents to those who threaten our children. It certainly was to Austin Rollins, the perpetrator of the Great Mills, Maryland murders, who was shot by his school’s resource officer as he searched for more victims.

Another solution is to enable parents to move their children to schools they believe provide a safer environment. That’s exactly what happened in March 2018 in Florida: The state’s legislature passed and Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed into law a bill to provide financial assistance to Florida families who want to move children into another school, either private or public, in which their children feel safe.

The essay in this booklet outlines 10 principles concerning firearms in America, each covering a key topic in the national debate on gun violence and gun control. Together, they provide a framework for understanding and promoting sound policies regarding this profoundly important issue.

Tragically, it may be impossible to prevent all school shootings, but public policies informed by data and real-world experience—which can be implemented only when policymakers are unclouded by emotion, fear, and partisan political agendas—can reduce how often shootings occur and limit the number of lives lost and the families destroyed. We ask you to join us in our mission to promote such policies, and we hope this booklet will be a tool you can use in that effort.

10 Principles of Firearms Policy

  1. Americans have an individual right to keep and bear arms.
  2. Bans on “assault weapons” are incoherent and self-defeating.
  3. An increase in the number of guns does not lead directly to more gun crime.
  4. Firearms possession among law-abiding citizens deters crime.
  5. Defensive gun use saves lives.
  6. Right to carry laws do not increase crime and may generate social benefits.
  7. “Stand Your Ground” laws have been the historical norm in the United States.
  8. The risk of firearms accidents is small and falling.
  9. Large-scale, illegal gun-running is a myth.
  10. International experience does not support gun control in the United States.

Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. Contact her at [email protected].

Photo Credit: Shutterstock