Gun Free Zone Woes

I know several people in the gun culture who plan their entire lives around where they can or cannot carry their defensive firearms. For instance, if they find out that a favorite restaurant legally posts the state-mandated signs to prevent concealed carry, they ignore how much they love those delicious tacos and go somewhere else. While I can understand the political motivation that often undergirds this attitude, it simply doesn’t make sense from a personal defense perspective. I can understand “voting with your money” so to speak as a way of advocating for your rights, but if you tell me that you don’t go to a place or do things that require you to be unarmed because it makes you less safe; your logic is off. When we start to adjust our entire lifestyles around where we can and can’t carry our firearms, we are not only succumbing to an improper mindset about personal defense, we are cheating ourselves out of a lot of positive experiences. To be clear, I am not saying that you shouldn’t carry your firearm wherever you are legally allowed to, just that you shouldn’t let those situations and places where it is either illegal or inappropriate to do so keep you from partaking in whatever activity you were planning to partake in.

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Firearms are the most efficient tools for responding to an attack with deadly force in the statistically unlikely but still plausible situations that may call for such a response. However, they are not magical talismans that make you safer simply because you possess them on your person at any given time. There are many personal defense situations that are not solved by the use of a defensive firearm, and there are many that a firearm might solve more efficiently, but that can still be solved without one. Just because you find yourself unarmed in a situation where deadly force might be an option doesn’t mean that you are incapable of defending yourself. To have a mentality that fixates on your gun as some sort of security blanket is unwise, especially when it leads you to be a curmudgeon about where you can and can’t go or what activities you can or can’t participate in.

There are some situations where you have no other option but to go about your business unarmed. Most of us have workplaces that by default have a “no guns” policy. Does that mean that if we were to experience violence in the workplace that we couldn’t respond and defend ourselves if given the opportunity? Does it mean that we should quit our jobs? I think not. We should develop a mindset that we are going to fight whenever necessary with whatever tools are available, or our bare hands if needed, in order to survive. If we are worried we don’t have that skillset, we should seek out the training to develop it. I think most of us who understand personal defense would agree that the willingness to fight is the most important factor when it comes to surviving a worst case scenario. With this knowledge, why then do so many of us act like we have to live our lives based on where we can or cannot carry our firearms?

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There are many times where I have been disappointed at the uninformed choices that some establishments have made in regard to their weapons policy. There are also some states that I wish would respect the rights of their people and legalize concealed carry. There are even countries that I would like to visit that ban guns outright. However, if I am interested in enjoying a delicious taco place or taking a trip to Boston or Europe; I’m not going to forego those experiences just because I know my gun won’t be there with me. I refuse to cheat myself out of enjoying life just because I cannot always be armed due to legality or practicality. How many of us enjoy an adult beverage from time to time? That may or may not be an issue legally speaking, depending on where you live; but it certainly isn’t practical or advisable to drink while armed if it can be avoided. Is that really a good reason to skip out on drinks with you friends? That seems to me like a pretty boring way to live your life.

We as responsible citizens should first and foremost be armed with the will to fight and the ability to improvise and overcome even absent our preferred defensive tools. If you don’t have that comfort level with personal defense in general, you really need to get further training. The other option is just sitting at home and bemoaning the injustice, but that isn’t what I view as a proactive solution. Carry your gun when you can, but take your brain with you everywhere; and you will live a fuller, more productive life.

Discussion
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10 Responses to “Gun Free Zone Woes”
  1. Joe

    Mr. Israel,
    First off let me say that was a well most thought out, clearly spoken, and totally useless piece of drivel I have heard recently. There are several reasons why I carry, let me illuminate, my wife, my three kids, and my own safety. I am a veteran and at one time a very fit veteran. My life ‘since I was medically boarded well let’s just say that I had three surgeries last year, I’ve already had one this year. I’m not sure where you live in the great state of Texas, but the area I live in the amount of assaults, robberies, and murders in Bell county alone is staggering. I would suggest you google DPS’s statistics on crime in 2015 alone. The fact that there are numerous threats of domestic terrorism, and the fact that physically I wouldn’t be able to do much to protect myself or my family. There is an old western saying though Mr. Israel, that says “God created man Sam Colt made them equal.” So before you start casting your own thoughts on those positive experiences I want my family to be safe and around to create them and if that means we only go places that allow me to carry then so be it.

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    • Aaron

      This article has to do with mindset. Your specific circumstances may well limit your ability to defend yourself absent the ability to use your firearm. If that is the case, then your decision to not go places that you can’t carry would make more sense than it would for the vast majority of people who will read this post. That’s called an extenuating circumstance. I am well aware of the assault and robbery statistics in Bell County. I lived there while stationed at Fort Hood for 5 years. As such, when I was legally allowed to, I carried my firearm. But… I worked on Fort Hood everyday, which is obviously a giant gun free zone. I had to go to work everyday without my firearm. Did I wish that weren’t so? Absolutely. Did I have to go to work anyway. Yes. Did it mean I was totally helpless as an able bodied Artillery Captain to defend myself? No. Had I been in the room with Hassan when he shot the place up.. I would have fought if I could have. Would I have faired as well being unarmed? Maybe.. Maybe not.. Depends on the circumstances. But.. Just having had my firearm would not in and of itself had made me any safer on those days. Similarly.. If I forego entering any number of gun free zones simply because something “might happen” that a firearm might be useful for dealing with.. I’m not out of options. I don’t choose to base my entire life around where I can or cannot carry my preferred defensive tools. If I did that, I couldn’t have so much as visited my grandfather in the hospital, which is where I took the picture of the 30.06 posting. You have to live your life, and sometimes that means not having your gun either due to legality or practicality, but that doesn’t mean you are necessarily less safe or less able to fight if the need arises.

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      • Martin Luther

        I get your mindset concept. However, we should be all able to agree that being armed is superior in terms of dealing with a deadly threat like the mass shooter example. I worked at 2 jobs that had rules against being armed. I carried anyway. And I prepared myself for the consequences if found out. It’s Big Boy rules: You are responsible for you. As far as the posted signs in business’s go, move to Oklahoma as those signs don’t have the force of law.

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        • Aaron Israel

          Certainly.. And ignoring your company’s policy is certainly your prerogative.. If you understood the mindset piece, that is what I was trying to convey.. I spend plenty of time in Oklahoma.. Especially during football season!

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    • Aaron Israel

      Joe, I lived in Bell county for 5 years. There are obviously some crime problems there and that is a good reason to be armed whenever you are legally allowed to be.. However.. Being prepared to efficiently respond to a worst case scenario with a firearm does not make you “safe” from the worst case scenario happening. I think you would agree that the gun free zone signs don’t make the people who post them any safer.. Well it turns out that your firearm is just as inanimate of an object and by itself is not capable of imputing “safety” on you or your family. In fact, if you find yourself using it to defend yourself, you were by definition not safe from that attack, you were just better equipped to respond to it. That may seem like semantics but its an important distinction. Your safety has more to do with your whole mindset and the actions you take or don’t take whether you are armed at the time or not. If you don’t “feel safe” when you are unarmed, then you’ve falsely convinced yourself that the gun is more than just a tool. That problematic thinking is what I’m advocating against, not where you choose to carry or not. The point is.. it’s just one piece of the personal defense puzzle and not worth fixating on.

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  2. Steve

    Well, Mr. Israel, it seems I must agree with Joe, perhaps not so vehemently, but yes, I am afraid that I have to agree. Those establishments not allowing my being armed are denying me my second amendment right, and don’t get my money, period. I live in a violent city in the Southwest. In fact, I live in one of the more violent neighborhoods of that city, a place where drive by spree killings and violent home invasions happen almost constantly. I train with edged weapons. I train hand to hand. I have for many years. I like having my weapon with me, thank you very much, and if business don’t appreciate that, they don’t get my business. Call it a clash in ideologies, if you will.

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    • Aaron Israel

      Directly from the blog post: I can understand “voting with your money” so to speak as a way of advocating for your rights, but if you tell me that you don’t go to a place or do things that require you to be unarmed because it makes you less safe; your logic is off.”— Steve, you are describing a political motivation for not supporting a business. That is entirely different than not going in because you don’t have the warm and fuzzies that carrying your gun might provide you. This is an article about mindset, not “voting with your money”. You can and often should do that, if you feel so inclined.

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      • airgunnerwade

        I suppose you don’t understand how most people that are CCW, ARE politically motivated, due to the assault on our 2nd (and other) Ammendment Rights. I see no problem going to [another] restaurant that serves tacos without the sign on the door. Choice is a freedom, right? (pardon the pun) If one carries concealed, properly, no one should know you are carrying, so personally, I don’t have a problem carrying in establishments with the sigh on the door – although I doubt I would dart the door of said establishment.

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  3. Ed

    “Gun Free Zones” are a political myth. If someone wants to take a gun in, they will. If they intend harm, they will recognize the place as a Soft Target. The only way to be truly gun free is to control the entrances with guards and metal detectors. The 30.06 prevents nothing. That is why I choose other restaurants and theaters.

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  4. Chris

    To me, it doesn’t matter whether or not the gun is the most efficient tool for self-defense, or whether or not there are other methods of self defense, or whether or not one has a defensive mindset. (Yes, those things matter, but in the context of the above article’s proposed scenario they do not.) What matters is that I get to decide how I spend my money. I am older (63), and I’ve already seen many of the world’s great museums, and eaten in spectacular restaurants, and traveled to other countries. My life is NOT limited by the choices I make about where to spend my money. Quite the opposite, my life is enriched by my choices. It’s not about whether or not I am able to defend myself with something other than a gun. It is ALL about whether or not I want to give my dollars to a business that thinks so little of my personal safety within their establishment. If I gave them my money, I would feel like I was compromising my values. It would be like entering a strip club to buy a Coke. There are other places where I can buy a Coke without having to compromise my moral values. (Not judging, but if you think strip clubs are OK, that’s fine for you….. they just don’t fit within MY moral paradigm.) Yeah, it’s just my little dollars, and more than likely, it will have little to no impact on that business’s bottom line. But it will have a lot of impact on my ability to look at myself in the mirror each morning. I have standards. I intend to keep them. I won’t support those who don’t share those standards. It’s simple.

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