Kopel on Gun Free Zones

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Dave Kopel opines on real gun free zones, and fake gun free zones. I wrote a similar article on how gun free zones might be constitutionally created back in 2010, borrowing the term “Practicing the Three S’s,” which in the usual context means “Shoot, Shovel, and Shutup,” an old saying coined by ranchers about how to deal with wolves (which were protected). In my substituted context, it stands for “Substitution, Screening, and Storage.”

(this post is called how we recycle content on a Friday when I’m in the office working the day shift) ;)

5 Responses to “Kopel on Gun Free Zones”

  1. Geodkyt says:

    I’ll go further with the “3 S’s” (which I’ve long believed are logically essential to claim an area is “sensitive” and not simultaneously negligently unsafe for the public).

    Total civil immunity (equivalent to qualified sovereign immunity that LEOs enjoy) for the property owner/management/leaseholder for loss or injuries caused by 3rd party criminal action OR significant negligence on the part of customers/guests in areas where the general public is welcome (stores, malls, etc.) if they have no rules on lawful carry outside of “Quit touching it!” and (arguably) “discrete” carry (if it is part of a dress code — say, “no shoes, no shirt, no long arms or indiscretly worn sidearms” because it is an upscale restaurant; if you can force me to wear a tie, I guess you can require I wear arms discretely. Note that discrete may or may not be concealed — a UTG nylon thigh rig is not discrete, but a tasteful belt holster may go without notice. I would define “discrete” as, “If management notices and asks you to cover up, you’re being indiscrete.”)

    The same level of immunity (including against theft of arms) for areas that have reasonably implemented the 3 S’s, included appropriate security on storage – which might be as simple as bus lockers back with the coat check person. Note, if you insist on the public clearing their arms before storage, not providing a safe clearing barrel or equivalent bullet-stopping place to load/unload is not reasonable — to argue this point, I would merely point at standard US LEO/military practice.)

    A presumption of criminal negligence for all areas that are generally open to the public, but do not fit either of the preceeding solutions. If you want to force ME to choose between “discrimination based on exercise of my civil rights” or “rolling the dice”, you get to back my bet 100%.

    No change to private property not generally open to the public (homes, private clubs, etc.), other than the same rules apply to your employees — if you want to ban THEIR carriage of arms, provide the 3 S’s and enjoy immunity. Heck, I’m magnanimous — allow me to secure my arms in my car, and I’ll call that “safe storage”, provided the lot (and the walk from the parking places to the secure perimeter of the building) is reasonably secured against thieves and predators. All I ask is that if you want me as an employee disarmed, you allow me to disarm and store my arms WITHIN a secure perimeter, not OUTSIDE the perimeter.

    • HSR47 says:

      Largely this.

      The distinction between private property not open to the public, and privately held property that IS open to the public, is critical to the discussion.

      I would, however, say that providing proper security should only *mitigate* liability, not eliminate it altogether. If you prohibit the carrying of arms by ordinary private citizens in your establishment, but do a reasonable job of securing the premises, you should only get partial credit when some nutjob comes in and assaults people on your property. While an attempt at proper security would be evident, the fact still remains that your attempt failed, and therefore prevented citizens from being able to save themselves.

      Similarly, if an establishment forces me to disarm and leave my gun in storage facilities they provide, THEY become responsible for the firearm. They demanded that you surrender it to their care, so they thereby become responsible for it until you retake possession of it. If a valet crashes your car, he and his employer are still responsible for the damages; the same principle applies here.

      Ditto on employers: either provide a safe place to store firearms (either a fenced, attended, and patrolled lot for employees vehicles/rolling gun vaults, or a gun check room inside the building.) in order to have limited legal liability, have no policy for civil/criminal immunity, or go with a third option for unlimited liability.

  2. Matt Rogers says:

    I disagree with almost everyone on this one. I think that the AR15 makes an ideal hunting implement.

    One must match weapon to quarry, exactly the way we would not use an adjustable wrench on every fastener in our home or place of business.

    If thine quarry be tyrants, terrorists, or the treacherous, then thine rifle be the AR15.

    (I love Alliteration Fridays: freaking fantastic!)

    –Matt R.

    • HSR47 says:

      They’re also great for taking out squirrels, wolves, and everything in between.

  3. MikeJ says:

    Interesting conversation point, under Colorado state law (and preemption) guns can only be banned from state property if metal detectors and guards are in place. This is one reason why CC is legal on CSU, CU, and other state school campuses. Note: This doesn’t affect Federal Gun-Free zones.