Pratt: Disarmed Australians victimized by strict gun laws

Leading gun rights advocate told Guns & Patriots that the mass shooting in Sydney, Australia this week is another example of gun free zones that do not deter mass murders.

???When we tell people ???no guns??? we are telling them that we do not really give-a-rip if some dirt-bag wants to come in and start shooting,??? said Lawrence D. ???Larry??? Pratt, executive director of Virginia-based Gun Owners of America, a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

The 16-hour, one-man, armed siege of 17 people at Lindt Chocolat Café that began during rush-hour on Monday morning, ended with two hostages shot and killed, four injured and the gunman shot dead by police sniper. What prompted the shooting that would end the siege is the quick-thinking and brave actions of a hostage who attempted to disarm the suspect, said Pratt. ???I am pretty sure he saved everyone else???s life.???

Tori Johnson, 34, grabbed at the hostage takers gun and was shot and killed; and Katrina Dawson, 38, was also shot and killed by the gunman, he said. ???The sound of those shots is what convinced the police that were stationed outside to take the Muslim dirt-bag down.??? It is unfortunate the siege lasted as long as it did, he said.

???Whoever grabbed for that gun deserves credit because I would assume that ???Mohammed??? went in there thinking he was going to kill 17 people through some sort of horrific act ??? he was not delivering another load of chocolate.??? The gunman had an extremist agenda, he said.

???Islam was the motivation behind the killings.??? There were hostages forced to take turns holding a sign in Arabic proclaiming glories of peaceful Islam, he added. FOX News reported that the ???Shahada??? flag was being rotated by frightened hostages in front of the store???s window. The Shahada flag is an emblem of Jabhat al-Nusra, an Al Qaeda-linked terror group, said the report.

Pratt, who has served as executive director of GOA for over 30 years, said Australia???s strict gun control policies prohibit the carrying of a firearm anywhere away from your premises, with very narrow exceptions. ???You can take a firearm in a case to a shooting range, but even then you are only going to have a revolver, you are not going to have a semiautomatic rifle.??? Following a horrific killing spree at Port Author, Australia in 1996, he said lawmakers passed draconian gun control laws, leaving the population defenseless and armed robbery on the rise.

The Port Arthur massacre which left 35 people dead and 23 wounded, is reportedly one of the deadliest shootings worldwide committed by a single person. The killer is currently serving 35 life sentences without possibility of parole.

Under these new laws, Pratt said there is no possibility that a legal firearm carrier could defend themselves and others inside the chocolate store or anywhere else in Australia. ???Lawmakers have greatly restricted what kind of firearms the Australian people can have and where they can have them ??? the whole country is practically a gun free zone.???

If there was the legal ability to conceal carry in Australia at the time of this siege, he said things may have turned out very differently. ???Even in Northern Virginia if a Muslim dirt-bag tried to pull something like that, with that many hostages, the odds are that one of those hostages might be armed.??? In fact, he said all but two mass murders in the U.S. have occurred where the law required no guns.

One of the two exceptions is the Tucson, Ariz. mass murder of six people who were attending a town hall-style meeting organized by retired Rep. Gabrielle Dee ???Gabby??? Gifford in January 2011. Although the location was not officially a gun free zone, in effect it was, he said. ???It was a virtual gun free zone because it was a Democratic meeting, and Democrats typically do not carry guns.???

Pratt, who is a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, said gun banners suffer from a mental block, particularly regarding guns in schools and around children, yet they offer zero evidence that gun free zones save lives. ???Then I guess we???re going to keep the welcome-mat out for the dirt-bag who wants to come and kill as many people as they can.??? At least there are some islands of sanity across the country, he said.

???Only in the state of Utah does it say it is completely legal for somebody licensed to carry a conceal carry firearm on any campus whatsoever ??? from kindergarten to graduate school.??? In Virginia, Liberty University openly welcomes conceal carry holders and Blue Bridge Community College has no specific gun control policy which means one can carry as long they are following existing laws.

???It is very regrettable that the two hostages in Sydney died,??? he said. But if it was not for the actions of Johnson who reached for the killer???s gun, the likelihood is that more people would have died. ???It would be better to get rid of the gun free zone sign and put up a sign that says ???You are not protected by a protective order or sign, we are protected by Swiss & Wesson??? instead.???