Last week I asked how Nidal Malik Hasan could shoot almost 45 people while surrounded by soldiers. My mistake was in assuming that soldiers on an Army base would be armed. Apparently military bases are gun-free zones, making them "target-rich environments".

Neither Smith nor the other victims of Hasan’s assault had guns because soldiers on military bases within the United States generally are not allowed to carry them. Last week’s shootings, which killed 13 people and wounded more than 30, demonstrated once again the folly of “gun-free zones,” which attract and assist people bent on mass murder instead of deterring them. ...

The first people with guns to confront Hasan, two local police officers, were the ones who put a stop to his rampage. And while Sgt. Kim Munley and Sgt. Mark Todd acted heroically, they did not arrive on the scene until a crucial 10 minutes or so had elapsed and Hasan had fired more than 100 rounds.

If someone else at the processing center had a gun when Hasan started shooting, it seems likely that fewer people would have been killed or injured. Furthermore, the knowledge that some of his victims would be armed might have led him to choose a different, softer target in order to maximize the impact of his attack.

Gun-free zones are naturally magnets for would-be mass murderers. I try hard to avoid them. The advocates of disarmament have a lot of blood on their hands.

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