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House Republicans move to permanently remove gun-free school zones from federal law


'The only thing gun-free zones do is disarm law-abiding citizens'

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

A conservative House Republican is continuing his fight to repeal the the federal laws banning guns from school zones.

Earlier this week, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced the "Safe Students Act," which would repeal the "Gun-Free School Zones Act," thereby eliminating what the congressman's office calls a "one-size-fits-all federal ban on guns in school zones" and making it easier for local authorities to set their own gun policies.

The Gun-Free School Zones Act was passed in 1990 and makes it "unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone." The original law was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1995 on interstate commerce grounds and later amended by Congress.

"Gun-free zones are ineffective and make our schools less safe. 98 percent of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in places where citizens are banned from having guns," Rep. Massie said in a press release. "Banks, churches, sports stadiums, and many of my colleagues in Congress are protected with firearms. Yet children inside the classroom are too frequently left vulnerable."

Research from the Crime Prevention Research Center in 2018 found that 97.8 percent of mass shootings between the years 1950 and 2018 happened in gun-free zones.

The effort to repeal the 1990 GFSZA is not a new one. Massie introduced a bill to repeal it in the previous two Congresses. Before that, the policy was championed by other Republican congressmen such as Ron Paul and Steve Stockman.

Cosponsors of the bill included in Massie's press release currently include GOP Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Jody Hice (Ga.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), James Comer (Ky.), and Brian Babin (Texas).

"The only thing gun-free zones do is disarm law-abiding citizens and take away their ability to protect themselves and others." Rep. Duncan said in a statement alongside Massie. "We shouldn't leave our most vulnerable — our children — in an unsafe environment like gun-free zones where acts of violence cannot be stopped."

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