In a mostly lifeless undercard debate, former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee used a thoroughly debunked theory about mass shootings in response to a question about keeping guns out of the wrong hands. “Of course we want to stop gun violence but the one common thing that has happened in most mass shootings is that they happened in gun-free zones where people who would have been law-abiding citizens who could have stood up and at least tried to stop it were not allowed to under the law,” Huckabee said.
But this claim, which has been floated for years by various Second Amendment stalwarts and the NRA has been disproven. According to an investigation of data from Mother Jones, which details 62 mass shootings in the United States from 1985-2015, none indicate that the target was chosen by a shooter because of its status as a gun-free zone. The motives are often personal, especially in instances of murder-suicide or when a workplace is involved. A 2014 study from Everytown for Gun Safety (PDF), a nonprofit organization advocating for gun control, indicated that only 14 percent of mass shootings over a five-year span between 2009 and 2014 took place in public areas that could be qualified as gun-free zones.
Meanwhile Carly Fiorina lobbed prepared remarks about the quality of Hillary Clinton’s marriage and Rick Santorum implored people to Google his name which is ill-advised, especially if “Rick” is ommitted.