Yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor (CSM) seemed to raise an alarm about the potential that “guns-at-work” laws might get new attention, thanks to two cases out of Oklahoma last week, one involving a beheading and the other only a threat of such a gory act.
The debate erupted after the shooting at Vaughan Foods by the chief operating officer, who stopped murder suspect Alton Nolen with several bullets after he allegedly killed one woman and was apparently in the process of murdering another. The CSM noted that “Police…confirmed that (COO Mark) Vaughan was acting as an individual and not on behalf of the local sheriff’s department” where he serves as a reserve deputy.
Sunday’s Washington Times reported a second case involving a man identified as Jacob Mugambi Muriithi, who has been arrested for threatening to behead a co-worker at a nursing home in Oklahoma City. Nobody was harmed, but the cases at least got the attention of CSM, which noted that the Sooner State “is a pioneer in so-called ‘bring your gun to work’ laws that have spread to 22 other states.”
At this point, self-defense advocates might ask why such laws haven’t been adopted in the other 28 states. What will it take for lawmakers and employers to address this concern? After all, there have been other fatal workplace attacks over the years. The Oklahoma case simply brought a terrorism aspect into the discussion.
By no small coincidence, this media discussion began on the final day of the 29th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago. Despite Friday’s sabotage of air traffic control in the Windy City, people made it to the conference. One speaker took a plane, then a train and finally a rental car to attend.
John Fund, national affairs correspondent for National Review Online, delivered a humorous, but biting presentation on Attorney General Eric Holder’s impending resignation. He said that “Eric Holder leaving in late September of an election year is the clearest evidence that the Democrats have looked over their polling, they’ve gone to their focus groups, they’ve examined the survey data, and they’ve concluded they’re going to lose the United States Senate so they have to move quickly to replace Holder before the new Senate takes office in January.”
The comment brought applause from a diminished, but nonetheless enthusiastic audience. Holder’s name came up several times during the weekend conference, and it is unlikely any of the Second Amendment activists in the audience will be sorry to see him go. The revived interest in Operation Fast & Furious may have convinced him to depart as much as Fund’s theory of fearful Democrats losing their majority in November.
The abbreviated agenda came off well, with discussions about the upcoming elections, a panel presentation on background checks, micro stamping and so-called “smart guns,” and two panels that covered state legislative affairs. But the discussion that struck closest to home in terms of the Oklahoma attack was late Saturday.
“Targeting Gun Free Zones” featured three panelists including nationally-recognized self-defense authority Massad Ayoob. He was brutally descriptive about such zones.
“Gun free zones,” he said, “have become hunting preserves for psychopathic murderers.”
Whether a crazed killer uses a gun, bomb or knife, what occurred last week in Oklahoma could change the dynamic. After all, the Sandy Hook attack that launched the campaign for new gun restrictions has actually had the opposite effect in many public schools, where teachers and administrators are now allowed to carry guns to provide a first response.
After Oklahoma, will American workers begin demanding the same considerations for their workplaces? How about the places they dine, or go to watch a movie? What about shopping malls and grocery stories? Wherever the public can gather, there is the potential for harm, and wherever good guys can be armed, there is the potential to fight back.
Meanwhile, don’t forget tonight’s grassroots gathering in Spokane, sponsored by the National Rifle Association, on defeating Initiative 594. Tomorrow night will find another workshop in Ellensburg.