Gun Free Zones

I was debating whether to make a blog post about this at all, but it seems after tragedy strikes, we’re always a bit eager to find out whether the shooting happened in a gun free zone.   I recognize the political value of pointing things like this out, but I do have to question the practical value when it comes to gun free zones that are not enforced by the law, and are enforced by fine print.

It seems sure that college campuses throughout the country are, for all practical purposes, actual gun free zones.  Either you have force of law backing that up, in cases of states like Texas and Tennessee.  Or you have the threat of expulsion of firing backing it up, in the case of Virginia or Pennsylvania.  But the recent mall incident in Kansas City doesn’t really persuade me.

How many of us honestly follow weapons prohibitions posted in fine print?   Do we read the fine print on doors as we enter an establishment?   I don’t.   I’m sure the malls I carry in on a regular basis have a policy of some sort that prohibits weapons on their property.  I don’t go out of my way to check.  If they want me to notice, they can post conspicuously.

I think it’s more honest just to admit that, just like police can’t be everywhere, people who lawfully carry guns can’t be either.  Sometimes incidents, like the one in Kansas City, are going to happen, and sometimes, there won’t be anyone nearby who is legally armed.

It’s worth it pointing out the uselessness of these prohibitions, but I doubt anyone is actually paying attention to them, including permit holders.  I think for some of these tragedies, it comes down to the odds not working out.   That will happen sometimes.

6 thoughts on “Gun Free Zones”

  1. Probably the most ignored ‘Gun Free Zone’ restriction is the one involving National Forests. Before driving through one in your car, you are technically supposed to stop, unload your weapon and lock it in the trunk. Then you can stop on the other side and get it back out.

    Does anyone actually do this?

  2. I think you mean national parks. National forests follow state laws on carry, but some states, like Tennessee and I think Florida also restrict carry in national forests as well, for some odd reason.

  3. I would think one of the big reasons these signs are put on the doors in small type is for liability issues. If something happens and they get sued, they can point to the signs and say “See, we don’t allow them in here.”

    Being a resident of PA, where the signs carry no legal weight, I ignore them completely. The baseball stadium in Pittsburgh prohibits firearms, but I carry there as they don’t do thorough searches. I don’t go to Heinz field because they actually search everyone who enters.

  4. I suspect you’re probably right about it being for insurance and liability reasons. Signage carries no legal weight in Missouri either. Missouri has a list of prohibited places, and a sign age specification, but fine print doesn’t count, and there’s no criminal penalty for it. The law simply restates the trespassing statues, with a provision for revocation of the license if you’re caught more than a couple times.

  5. I have no quarrel with the points you make and believe you to be correct. However, I would add that the basic reason for pointing out the gun free zone idiocy is not to say, “See this wouldn’t have happened if guns weren’t prohibited.”

    Rather, it is to point out the futility of such a mindset. When we start swaying the majority to the uselessness of such zones, we are more than halfway to eliminating them. But more importantly the public’s perception of bearing arms will change to the point where many will join us, while others will just tolerate it. That beats the Hell out of their vociferous protests against us now.

    That alone will reduce the chances of a madman attacking where no other person is armed. Nothing can eliminate that possibility, but every point we shave off the odds translates to lives saved.

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