Image 01 Image 03

Gun-Free Zones: Real, or Pretend?

Gun-Free Zones: Real, or Pretend?

If you were the gunman, where would you go?

Here’s an interesting article about how it might have been a good thing if the attendees at the Bible study meeting in Charleston had been armed. That’s not just a fanciful thought. Mass murders, even mass murders at churches, have been thwarted before by a good guy wielding a gun and stopping the bad guy (and here I use the word “guy” in the completely non-PC sense that includes “woman”):

Murray had already shot and killed two people in the parking lot when he burst into the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Before he could pull the trigger again, however, the 24-year-old shooter was gunned down by Jeanne Assam, a volunteer security guard with a concealed-carry permit.

That was eight years ago, but even though Ms. Assam was credited for saving as many as 100 lives that day, a dozen states continue to restrict the carrying of concealed firearms in churches — including South Carolina.

There have been quite a few similar cases of a law-abiding citizen with a gun (often an ex- or off-duty police officer, but not always) stopping or even preventing a mass shooting. A list of similar incidents can be found here. That there are not even more is probably due to the fact that mass shootings are actually quite rare to begin with—despite our perceptions that they are common, and despite the fact that even a single one is too many—and so it is not surprising that there are not so very many cases where a witness pulled a gun and even tried to stop such a shooting. Another reason is likely to be that mass murderers understand that they will be more likely to achieve their goals if they attack people in a gun-free zone, and so many attacks occur in such places.

But the shoot-em-up fantasy of someone like MSNBC’s Bob Shrum appears to lack any real-world precedent:

“Now I cannot imagine the horror that could have occurred if people were sitting around with concealed weapons, this thing started, and you have a full-scale gunfight,” said Democratic advisor Bob Shrum on Friday’s episode of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.”

“You might not even have three survivors,” said Mr. Shrum, a top campaign aide to now-Secretary of State John Kerry during his failed 2004 presidential bid.

So, a bunch of unarmed people who are sitting ducks, completely at the mercy of an armed predator bent on mass murder, would be better off that way than to take their chances having an armed defender? What’s the better percentage deal, do you think?

I actually haven’t been able to find a single instance (although I suppose they may exist) where anything resembling Shrum’s vision has actually occurred—where an armed citizen trying to stop a mass murder already in progress escalated the situation. Even an article appearing in the leftist Mother Jones could do no better than to discover two situations in which the would-be defender was also shot.

The entire idea of a gun-free zone is an odd one. After all, who is going to abide by the law? The only people it disarms are the law-abiding, who were not likely to suddenly slip into mass murderer mode. And an actual mass murderer could not care less about the rule, and what’s more he will gravitate to such venues for his massacre because he knows that’s where he’s likely to encounter the least resistance.

So most so-called gun-free zones are actually what Dave Kopel calls pretend gun-free zones, meaning that the only people without weapons there are likely to be those who wouldn’t think of using them to murder in the first place.

The only true gun-free zone would be one with highly effective metal detectors at the entrance, and even then, unless the entrance is protected by several armed guards (not just one), a determined shooter can just shoot his way past a guard before going through the detector, especially with the element of surprise. Since most venues cannot afford (or do not want) such a complex and expensive arrangement, that leaves us with pretend gun-free zones versus areas in which concealed carry is allowed.

Which would you choose, if you were a gunman bent on doing harm? The pretend gun-free zones, of course, which makes them (paradoxically) the most potentially dangerous environment of all.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Henry Hawkins | June 23, 2015 at 1:06 pm

‘Gun Free Zone’ is a political statement, nothing more.

Shrum would advocate “massacre whistles”.

Or perhaps whizzing on the gunman.

Makes perfect sense.

Truly, gun free zones are nothing more than shooting ranges for the deranged and the criminal.

    nordic_prince in reply to profshadow. | June 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    (Ignore the down vote; I was trying to hit “reply” ~)

    This is so blindingly obvious, I really don’t understand how people (leftards) can continue to ignore it. My CC has the “no guns” symbol plastered all over every entrance, and I can’t help but think, “How about giving everyone a nice little t-shirt with a target front and/or back while you’re at it?”

    I’m so glad politicians try at every opportunity to deny me my Second Amendment right to defend myself. I just love being a sitting duck.


      Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to nordic_prince. | June 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      RE: “I really don’t understand how people (leftards) can continue to ignore it”

      That’s because, as the two-year-olds they are emotionally (EQ, arrested-emotional development), they’ve made up their mind they are right and will shut down their mind against all reason.

      That’s what malignant narcissist do.

      SRaher in reply to nordic_prince. | June 23, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      “How about giving everyone a nice little t-shirt with a target front and/or back while you’re at it?”
      No, inside the gun-free zones everyone should wear a t-shirt that says, “Don’t shoot me.”
      Yeah, that’ll work!

When the bad guys start shooting-up Police Departments, it might make the ‘gun free zone’ concept a little more palatable.

Since there have only be the very few outliers where that has occurred, I’m going to stick with that ‘Guns Save Lives’ thing.

Responsible citizens should use their best judgement about when to obey laws and when the accept the risk of breaking them for their own good and the good of other citizens.

mumzieistired | June 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm


People who want to murder will do it in “gun-free” zones.

Like churches, schools, movie theaters, and now, Uber cars.

If we were able to magically remove all guns from the planet, people who want to murder would use knives. Or pressure cookers filled with nails…

    Or a gallon of gas and a match, such as the happyland nightclub massacre.

    DaveGinOly in reply to mumzieistired. | June 23, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    In some future gun-control Utopia, in which neither the law-abiding nor the criminals have guns, I’m sure the last thought of the person surrounded by thugs with knives and baseball bats will not be, “I’m glad they don’t have guns.”

My county has the second highest survival rate for heart attack incidents in the country. They credit that with people knowing CPR.

Chest compressions in the minutes prior to medics arriving is the difference between life and death.

Conceal carry is no different.

justadumbcitizen | June 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm

I’d say that the vast, vast majority of private citizens simply do NOT want the responsibility to protect themselves or their loved ones – NOT ONE BIT! This says it all:

    Milhouse in reply to justadumbcitizen. | June 24, 2015 at 3:40 am

    So what? How do “gun free” zones help them with that? I don’t want the responsibility either, which is precisely why I feel safer if I know that someone who does want it is nearby, armed and ready to save me if necessary. I don’t want to be a doctor or EMT or fireman either, but I’d be afraid of entering a zone where they were banned!

Reverend/State Senator Clementa Pinckney, of all people, should have known, “As you sow, so shall ye reap.”

“Another reason is likely to be that mass murderers understand that they will be more likely to achieve their goals if they attack people in a gun-free zone, and so many attacks occur in such places.”

To state this more directly, mass shooters are infrequently stopped by citizens because law abiding gun owners don’t carry in gun free zones. The Left establishes zones in which the law abiding can’t carry firearms, a shooter goes into such a zone and commits a mass murder, and then the Left uses the shooting as an example that good guys with guns don’t stop bad guys with guns. It’ brilliantly diabolical.

Gun Control Logic:

Did you know that it’s impossible for an armed citizen to prevent a mass shooting?

If a shooter has shot three people before being stopped by an armed citizen, the shooting isn’t considered a “mass shooting,” therefore the armed citizen didn’t prevent a mass shooting. (We will never know if it would have become one without the citizen’s intervention.)

If a shooter has already shot four or more people before being stopped by an armed citizen, then the armed citizen didn’t prevent a mass shooting because it had already occurred! (Although the armed citizen did stop a mass shooting in progress, he didn’t prevent it.)

    Phillep Harding in reply to DaveGinOly. | June 23, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Excellent analysis.

    Add the rules and laws that require keeping firearms disassembled and/or the ammo kept seperate.

Shrum seems to think that the churchgoers would just be spraying bullets in all directions like some 9-year-old with an Uzi.

Signs indicating a gun free zone should be required to also show an image of the HMS Beagle.

I saw an interview of a friend of the killer, who said the killer talked about shooting up a school, but had trouble getting in.

I have to wonder if a single, armed guard at the door, or a police car nearby, would have turned this horrible crime into a non-event.

Unfortunately, non-event don’t count.

    You are so right. One of the killed was a politician. I wondered if it would have been an issue for him to at least have had a police presence outside the church. Shame.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Valerie. | June 23, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Like background checks that can only prevent criminals from legally acquiring firearms, a guard at the door can only prevent or dissuade an assailant from entering that particular venue. In both cases, the criminal will just go somewhere else.

American Human | June 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm

I’m reminded of when some people used to put signs in the windows of their homes with a similar symbol and message to indicate that “This is a gun free home” or some such. I also noticed that after a year or so, those signs began coming down since an armed intruder knew exactly which houses to rob.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to American Human. | June 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Yes. Just as you learn that even if you want to donate to the homeless people on the street, you keep some money in a ready pocket. You never, ever take out your billfold, or open your purse – let alone hand over your cell phone when they ask to borrow it…… Too many cops they can access if they need to phone….

Henry Hawkins | June 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Gun control activists have always trotted out the “it’s for the children!” schtick, just as with so many other liberal political initiatives. Schools began posting the Gun Free Zone as a signal they were down with gun control, and they were making this school as safe as possible ‘for the children’. Churches, malls, theater, stores, etc., with owners/bosses that supported gun control all followed suit, and the Gun Free Zone thing was cemented into the American culture. Had nothing to do with ‘safety’. It was about wearing one’s anti-gun opinions on one’s sleeve, or sign out front, as it were.

    Phillep Harding in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 23, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Some business owners are very open about it. It’s cheaper to allow a loon to kill everyone in some place than it is to risk the costly lawsuits that could result from a mis aimed bullet.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 23, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    There’s another facet, Henry. Most people of our age were gun handlers, like we were tool handlers. We made things, we shot guns, and guns were not “evil” to us. They were just another form of tool.

    You’ll find pictures from the 50s and 60s of kids in NYC schools shooting on rifle teams. It was common.

    For many Americans now, however, a gun is a scary thing. They are literally more afraid of an inanimate object than an evil person (whose existence they can rationalize away). A gun is a loud, powerful, dangerous, lethal thing they don’t know or understand. Guns are talismans of violence and instant death to a lot of people.

    So, they banish (as they imagine) the talisman, and they push the prospect back, away from them. Declaring a “gun free zone” is a lot like casting a protective spell over your loved ones. And just as effective.

      AZ_Langer in reply to Ragspierre. | June 23, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      They teach that guns are scary things in public schools now, and offer counseling to children “traumatized” by the sight of a breakfast pastry that’s been chewed into the shape of a gun.

      Apparently many teachers and school administrators are afraid of guns. Is that a requirement for employment in schools today?

      If a person has evil intentions, he might choose what he’s been taught is evil as his preferred implement of destruction.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to AZ_Langer. | June 24, 2015 at 4:54 am

        That isn’t true of all public schools yet. I am a nurse in a public school and it is no secret that I shoot and that outside of school I carry a gun. (I actually meet with several state legislators a couple of months ago to try to get a bill crafted that would allow staff in schools to carry, didn’t happen though.) Of course I don’t advertise with tee shirts or stuff like that, though I do wear my NRA cap fairly frequently.

        I have never had a problem with the administration or parents and I know at least the administration is aware that I have spoken with kids about guns. Heck one of our principles sons is in JROTC and is a junior trap shooting champion. I have teens who are interested in hunting ask me questions fairly regularly about guns. I always highlight safety first, responsible hunting and weapon handling.

        Of course maybe I am just the “token republican”, LMAO.

          AZ_Langer in reply to Gremlin1974. | June 24, 2015 at 1:02 pm

          Thankfully, I think you’re correct; it isn’t the case in all public schools yet. Local attitudes probably play a big part in what’s projected in the schools.

“You’ll find pictures from the 50s and 60s of kids in NYC schools shooting on rifle teams”

I would love to see any links to particularly good photos and articles on city schools with gun clubs–to show to liberal scoffers.

If I encountered a sign like that in a church window, I’d tape another one right below/beside it, just as big, reminding church-goers that defense of innocent life is a solemn and sacred duty of Christians and that the Christian faith doesn’t preclude armed defense, either.

My sign would cite Scripture in support of both points, quoting/explaining multiple passages each.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Archer. | June 24, 2015 at 5:11 am

    I read an article a couple of years ago that discussed the commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” and that this form of the commandment is a mistranslation. The actual commandment was “Thou Shalt Not Murder”

    According to the article, on that time there was a hebrew word for kill and a different one for Murder. The hebrew word for Kill (הרוג) which was a general word was different from the word Murder (רצח) a difference that you can see has persisted even today. However, it was the usage of the word that really made the difference.

    If I remember correctly the word kill was simply “to kill”, “was killed” and so on. But the word Murder was know to be an unnecessary and/or unjust killing.

    Which makes sense if you think about it, neither they nor even we say that soldiers “murder”, well at least the level headed of us don’t. Also, in the time of Moses the concept of killing for self defense or defense of property or loved ones was a pretty standard belief. I will try to find that article and add a link to it, it was really interesting to read, if you like that kind of stuff.

      Milhouse in reply to Gremlin1974. | June 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      It’s not that simple. There isn’t an exact English translation for רצח; “murder” is not accurate, since it does include some lawful killings. For instance, Numbers 35:27 explicitly authorizes a killing, and yet refers to it as רצח. Also, manslaughter is referred to as רצח. So in the absence of a one-to-one correspondence between רצח and “murder”, it’s reasonable to translate לא תרצח as “don’t kill”, with the understanding that only unlawful killing is intended, and it excludes any killing that is authorized elsewhere in the law.

Their narrative is no longer that abortions… I mean guns, take a human life. They will never acknowledge their wicked solution. They have already discovered another scapegoat: The Confederate Flag.

From the available evidence, Roof’s psychotic break was likely caused by a social complex, including the so-called “civil rights” sector, and Party that have established institutions and policies that denigrate individual dignity and debase human life on a pro-choice principle. The cognitive dissonance caused by prominent government and social platforms voicing their sanctimonious hypocrisy must have been deafening. The consumption of psychotropic drugs probably didn’t help him reconcile the extraordinary corruption.

suggest new title: “Leftist Liberal HORROR, Concealed Carry Would Have Killed Dylann Roof 4 assault on Gun-Free Zone”

No pictures, but I was in my high school shooting club in the late ’80s.

This was a suburb of a larger city, but still. Late 80’s, .22 rifles in a range in the basement of the school.

Relatives and friends of mine know very well my Rule #1. If trouble starts get in back of me! This is one of my favorite quotes and it received the most comments on a weekly gun related news letter I circulated for several years.

“People who object to weapons aren’t abolishing violence, they’re begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically ‘right.’ Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work. Wear a gun to someone else’s house, you’re saying, ‘I’ll defend this home as if it were my own.’ When your guests see you carry a weapon, you’re telling them, ‘I’ll defend you as if you were my own family.’ And anyone who objects levels the deadliest insult possible: ‘I don’t trust you unless you’re rendered harmless’!” — L. Neil Smith,