(Salon) -- In the wake of yet another mass shooting, Americans are reeling from grief and exasperation as gun rights extremists go on the defensive. The latest twist on their gruesome, partisan rationalization is to blame the Navy Yard shootings on the fact that the area was a "gun free zone" within a city of tight gun control restrictions. This plainly ignores the facts and dishonors those killed.
While we know very little about the Navy Yard shootings, it's likely that several of those on the scene - including, potentially, several victims - were highly trained and armed military police officers. After all, "gun free zones" only apply to civilians not legitimate, armed security personnel. But more importantly, everything we know about recent mass shootings defeats this preposterous argument. According to a comprehensive study by Mother Jones magazine, in the past 30 years, not a single mass shooting has been stopped by an armed civilian. According to a study by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, less than a quarter of mass shootings in the last four years occurred in "gun free zones". Moreover, according to the Mother Jones study, there is not a single piece of evidence that any shooters deliberately chose to target locations were guns were prohibited.
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