Florida shooting: Gun control advocates rush to distort the truth about what happened in Parkland

Gun control advocates are only too sure that they occupy the moral high ground. In the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting that left 17 dead, they are accusing their opponents of having “blood on their hands.”

It’s no longer just activists such as Chelsea Handler who are spewing such vitriol. Even mainstream liberals such as political scientist Norm Ornstein use the phrase.

Gun control advocates’ new hot number is that there have been 18 school shootings so far this year, but this is a gross exaggeration.

To get 18, one has to count all instances from kindergarten through college where a gun was fired on or near school property. This includes a case of a police officer accidentally discharging his gun, as well as suicides – such as that of a 31-year-old military veteran with no connection to the school who killed himself in the school parking lot.

Excluding suicides, there have only been five cases where someone was actually shot at a K-12 school. Four actually involved a gun being fired on school property, and two of those resulted in fatalities.

In fact, gun control advocates’ proposals would do more harm than good. They are the ones opposing life-saving laws.

Every time there's a mass public shooting, gun control advocates call for more background checks. President Obama did so each time he spoke after a mass public shooting. Gun control advocates like to think this is a magic solution that would have prevented Wednesday’s massacre.

The proposed background check laws wouldn't have prevented the attack in Florida, nor any other mass public shooting that’s happened in the 21st century.

But the background checks come at a real cost, ranging from $55 in Oregon to $125 in New York City and Washington, D.C.

With millions of mistaken denials because of “false positives,” the checks have confused the names of law-abiding good citizens with those who really are prohibited from owning guns. It is the most vulnerable people – poor minorities – who are kept from being able to protect themselves and their families.

Some, such as Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., reacted to Wednesday’s attack by immediately decrying the failure to keep people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns.

But many on the terrorist watch list are not suspected of being terrorist threats, and of the 2,000 people who have bought guns, not a single one has been accused of using a gun in a crime. The bill prohibiting such purchases never got passed because the Democrats didn’t want to pass it.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, offered an alternative. Under his proposal, the U.S. attorney general could deny a person on the terrorist watch list the ability to purchase a gun, but would need to prove probable cause within 72 hours. Otherwise, some unnamed government bureaucrat could arbitrarily add a person to the terror list and the person would lose his right to self-defense.

Democrats said that the time limit was too short. But instead of proposing a longer time period, they fought against any judicial review.

Others mention a new assault weapon ban, but even research funded by the Clinton administration concluded that the previous ban and limit on magazine size had “no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”

Those who are blaming the Florida attack on large capacity magazines that can hold more bullets don’t understand how quickly magazines can be changed or how incredibly easy they are to make.

But while Democrats keep pushing for gun control laws that won’t help, they won’t discuss the one change that might have made a difference: abolishing gun-free zones, where the defenselessness of general citizens is guaranteed by law.

It is hard to ignore that all the mass public shootings in Florida – including the Orlando nightclub, the Orlando RV business, the Fort Lauderdale Airport, the Hialeah restaurant, as well as Wednesday’s at the high school – were places where guns are banned.

Nationwide, over 98 percent of such mass shootings attacks since 1950 have also been in gun-free zones.

These killers might be crazy, but they aren’t stupid. They want to kill as many people as possible. Killers in attacks – including the Charleston church, the Colorado “Batman” movie theater and Santa Barbara, California – explained that they picked defenseless targets where they knew no one would have a gun.

What is interesting is that even though gun control advocates are refusing the types of policies that will really save lives, they are claiming that others “have blood on their hands.” That same language hasn’t been used against them. Maybe it should be.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a columnist for FoxNews.com. He is an economist and was formerly chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission. Lott is also a leading expert on guns and op-eds on that issue are done in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Research Center. He is the author of nine books including "More Guns, Less Crime." His latest book is "The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies (August 1, 2016). Follow him on Twitter@johnrlottjr.