Kentucky Republican Introduces Bill to End Gun-Free School Zones

In an effort to undo certain gun control legislation, one Kentucky Republican with an independent streak may face opposition from within his own party

On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced HR 86, the Safe Students Act. If passed, the act would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.

Massie issued a press release explaining why the bill is important:

“Weapons bans and gun-free zones are unconstitutional. They do not and cannot prevent criminals or the mentally ill from committing acts of violence. But they often prevent victims of such violence from protecting themselves.”

So far the bill has 5 cosponsors, all Republicans.

The original Gun-Free School Zones Act “made it unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that he knew or had reasonable cause to believe was a school zone.”

However, gun-free zones are unpopular with gun rights activists on the grounds that such zones do not protect the people, but advertise that they are unarmed. A report from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, has determined that there have been no fewer than 96 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012.

The original Gun-Free School Zones Act was ruled unconstitutional in 1995 as exceeding Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause. An amended version appeared in 1996, but has not been ruled on by the US Supreme Court.

Massie also introduced a version of his bill in the last Congress as did former congressman Ron Paul on multiple occasions. Massie’s bill died in committee.

Although Republicans now control both houses of Congress, Massie may still face difficulties in getting his legislation passed. Massie was a vocal opponent of Boehner’s re-election as speaker and voted for Florida Republican Ted Yoho. Other members who voted against Boehner, including Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent, have already been removed from their previous posts on the Rules Committee.

Despite the failed efforts to elect a different speaker, Thomas Massie still defends his and his colleagues’s actions.

“No member should be punished for voting according to his or her conscience,” he said.

Massie, who also introduced legislation for auditing the Federal Reserve, will likely soon find out whether or not his actions against Boehner will imperil his legislative priorities.