Dozens of conservative leaders are denouncing any effort by Congress to restrict Second Amendment rights, saying any such restrictions “will not prevent future tragedies” like the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.
The Conservative Action Project released a memo that was signed by 72 conservative leaders in the wake of gun control talks President Donald Trump held after the Florida shooting.
In the memo Monday, the signatories—including former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who is also the Reagan fellow emeritus at The Heritage Foundation, and former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.—point out how existing laws, if enforced, would have prevented the shooting, adding how more regulations would not prevent more shootings.
“Evil cannot be regulated,” the conservative activists wrote.
“The shooter was known to local Parkland law enforcement, which responded to calls at his house more than  times,” they wrote. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to forward a chillingly specific tip about the shooter—one in which he self-identified as someone who intended to become ‘a professional school shooter.’”
Moreover, the memo notes, “the Broward County sheriff’s deputy tasked with protecting the students at Parkland heard the shots, but remained outside the school,” When law enforcement “fails, as it did in Parkland,” it said, “there must be accountability.”
Additionally, the conservative activists reaffirmed the notion—supported by the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which overturned a ban on handguns in Washington—that the right to bear arms is a “pre-existing individual liberty.”
“The language [of the Second Amendment] ‘shall not be infringed’ indicates recognition, not creation. In addition, every state constitution includes language similar to the Second Amendment, most of which have been upheld by state supreme courts,” the memo said.
Gun control would only take away “the rights of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms,” the Conservative Action Project wrote, adding that “the creation of massive databases of lawful gun owners” would not prevent tragedies like that of Parkland.
One way to help prevent future shootings, the memo said, is to get parents involved more with “regulating bad behavior.”
The conservative leaders called for the abolition of “gun-free zones,” adding that teachers who want gun training to carry firearms in their classrooms “should be given the support to do so.”
“As conservatives, we affirm our commitment to the Second Amendment and oppose any legislation that would infringe upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families,” the memo concluded.