Six Tips for Dealing with Gun-Free Zones

Gun-free zones are a fact of life. Airports, banks and most schools are obvious examples that people deal with all the time, regardless of their politics or preferences. Photo: author

Gun-free zones are a fact of life. Airports, banks and most schools are obvious examples that people deal with all the time, regardless of their politics or preferences.
Photo: author

“Gun-free zones” are a part of life for just about everyone I know. If you have kids in school, if you fly on commercial aircraft, if you travel overseas, if you drink alcohol, if you travel frequently in the U.S. and don’t carry a badge, and/or if you don’t let your gun politics or desire to have a gun prevent you from doing business in the many national chains and local stores that exercise their private-property rights to restrict your ability to carry a gun, you have to deal with gun-free zones.

Before we go any further, I believe in private-property rights just as much as I believe in the right to keep and bear arms. I also believe in obeying the law. Let’s be clear about my stance on carrying a gun where you know you are forbidden by law: Don’t do it.

Next let’s get the political rhetoric out of the way. In 2016 in the United States of America, your right to keep and bear arms is infringed. There are laws on the books that I may not agree with, but that we need to fight politically to get changed, not arbitrarily ignore because we wish they weren’t so. Supporting state groups like GOAL (MA), NJ2AS (NJ) and national ones like the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation is a good way to contribute to pushing back the infringements we suffer under. Getting involved in local politics yourself and, of course, voting are good ideas as well.

Back to the topic at hand: gun-free zones are real and most of us have to deal with them from time to time. That doesn’t have to mean you’re incapable of defending yourself. Just a few days ago, in my old stomping grounds of Columbus, Ohio, patrons responded to a violent armed threat with improvised defensive tools (including a chair) and won, with no serious injuries to any of the good guys. The business was posted as a gun-free zone. Everyone knows the story of the men who stopped a well-armed and determined terrorist on a train in France last year. There are many other stories of armed offenders conducting or attempting mass killings and acts of personal violence being stopped by people who weren’t able to (or simply didn’t choose to) have a gun on them at the time. Here are some things I want you to keep in mind about gun-free zones:

Whether you have a gun or not, the basic tactics for responding to a spree killing are the same.

Whether you have a gun or not, the basic tactics for responding to a spree killing are the same.

1. EVADE, BARRICADE, RESPOND

Of course, the first thing you are going to want to do if violence erupts, regardless of whether you have a gun or not, is to get away. The first step is always to avoid a problem if you can and that doesn’t change in the face of a violent event in public. If you can evade the bad guy, do so. If you can’t get away, but you can hide or barricade yourself to make it harder for the threat to get to you, that is the next best step. Ultimately, however, you may have to respond… whether you have a gun or not.

2. GUN-FREE ZONES DON’T MAKE YOU AN INSTANT VICTIM

Just because you don’t have a gun doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself. Don’t let “preferred” be the enemy of “possible.” It is naïve and, honestly, weak to think that just because you don’t have a gun, you can’t fight back against an attacker. This shouldn’t be questioned. Anyone who thinks that simply having a gun is what makes them safe should think twice about carrying a gun around. Thinking the gun is what makes you magically safe is the same mentality that anti-gunners use to convince people that the presence of a gun magically puts you in danger. It’s just not true. Without mindset, training and opportunity to use it effectively, the gun is just an inanimate mechanical device. You are the one who takes action and applies skill to use a gun. You can take the same type of action and apply different skills to defend yourself without one.

3. BEING “GUN FREE” DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE UNARMED

Go back and read the locations and circumstances I listed at the beginning of this article. There isn’t a single one that you couldn’t carry some type of defensive tool in. Defining “defensive tool” is important. The best way I can articulate it is the way we discuss it before going into force-on-force training scenarios to prevent people from bringing weapons in that could seriously injure someone in the training event: “Anything you carry with you for the primary or secondary purpose of causing damage to someone who is trying to hurt you or someone you care about.” Using that definition, a knife, chemical spray or electrical device, sharp key fob, keys themselves, sturdy metal pen, hooked wooden cane, coin purse, roll of quarters, your backpack, or just about anything else could be considered a defensive tool. Thinking ahead of time about what you can carry and how you can use it to increase the amount of damage you could do to a bad guy are the first steps. Formal training in the use of your chosen tool, or improvised tools in general, and practicing the employment of the tool(s) are vital, just as they are with a firearm.

Guns are great defensive tools, but they do not magically make you safe. And they aren't always the best tool for every situation. Photo: author

Guns are great defensive tools, but they do not magically make you safe. And they aren’t always the best tool for every situation. Photo: author

4. YOU DON’T NEED A WEAPON TO DEFEND YOURSELF

You don’t have to be a martial artist, or even all that physically fit, to defend yourself. The will to fight is the most important ingredient. Knowing you can affect the bad guy is important to empower you. Think about natural tools and natural targets. What tools do you have? Hands, fingers, elbows, knees, feet. What targets exist on the bad guy? Eyes, throat, ribs, groin, skull. Once you are in contact with the bad guy, simply grabbing their head, throat, arms or legs can significantly affect their ability to hurt you. Using your body weight and pushing, smashing, or crushing them against a wall, table, the ground or a vehicle are all better than cowering on the ground hoping they suddenly decide to stop being violent. For more tips, check out our videos on unarmed self-defense.

5. THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Especially in regard to attempted spree killings in gun-free zones, this point cannot be over-stressed. Even if we are talking about a classroom full of middle schoolers, no individual attacker is going to be able to maintain their assault if they are dog-piled by several human beings. If the defensive strategy is no more sophisticated than each person grabbing a limb and holding the attacker down, this will effectively stop an attack. Add in some force to the head, attacking the bad guy’s airway, use of improvised or specific defensive tools and I’d put my money on any group of five people within arms’ reach of an armed attacker being able to stop him. Motivating others to take action, preparing those you spend time with, or even simply inspiring others to act in the moment by leading the response are all important to capitalizing on the group defense opportunity.

6. GUN-FREE ZONES ARE FULL OF DEFENSIVE TOOLS

Improvised tools come in all shapes and sizes. Furniture, utensils, fire extinguishers, glassware, bottles, writing tools, janitorial supplies, blankets, and hot or caustic fluids can all be found in public spaces where you are sometimes prevented from carrying a firearm. As noted above, they can be used to increase the amount of damage you do to a threat. Thinking about these things ahead of time and taking a quick look around when you settle into a new area are how you prepare to use them. Of course, you can also practice defending yourself with these types of items, especially if you happen to frequent or work in the same gun-free zone all the time. In the latter case, you can also stage specific innocuous or common items within easy reach to be used in an emergency.

If you travel frequently, you are bound to go places where carrying a gun isn't an option.

If you travel frequently, you are bound to go places where carrying a gun isn’t an option.

SUMMING UP

Keep these tips in mind when you are thinking about how you are going to restrict your life based on the ability to carry a gun. Ultimately, acts of violence are incredibly rare in our society, especially acts of mass violence that get sensationalized and stick in the public consciousness. It’s also a great idea to share these tips with others when the topic of gun-free zones comes up. Think about it: a gun-free zone is attractive to a would-be killer in the U.S. because they expect less resistance to their evil actions, right? If we, as a society, spent more time letting the bad guys know we are prepared to meet our responsibility for personal defense regardless of whether we happen to be carrying a gun or not, then the once “soft targets” start to look a lot harder. And that is how we discourage evil acts in the first place. Yes, “an armed society is a polite society.” But a society ready to fight in their own defense regardless of the circumstances can keep those not-so-polite types in check.

Discussion
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73 Responses to “Six Tips for Dealing with Gun-Free Zones”
  1. tom shaven

    I have a conceaed permit in illinois can I legally carry a hand gun in my vehicle and go through border patrol in texas

    Reply
    • Ron Miller

      It appears that an Ill resident permit does not give you CCW privelages in TX, Get an AZ non resident permit . and you will get a total of 35 stated including TX. TX is an open carry state but there are conditions related to motor vehicle. See TX Title 10 Chapter 46 Section 46.02(a-1) and 46.035. If you are inquiring as to whether or not you can go through a Border Check point with a firearm, last time I checked you cannot and the Mexican Policia will definitely through your ass in jail! I am no attorney so don’t consider this legal advice but the TX statute quoted was updated in Jan 2016. Get “CCW” app for your smart phone for $1.99…best app out there and it updates daily. AZ requires a safety class, NRA or equivalent, 2 FP cards and some $$ and you are good to go. Go to http://www.azdps.gov/services/concealed_weapons/permits/obtain/ for the AZ details.

      Reply
      • CHARLES CAMERON

        Got my Non-Resident CCW license from Virginia…honored in 29 states…plus my CA license for extra states. The ones who don’t honor either, I don’t travel to. Happy for these.

        Reply
  2. Phil Hubacek

    I can think of a number of places where you are pretty well helpless (i.e., movie theatres) unless sitting near an exit or hoping that a bunch of fellow patrons have the courage to bum-rush the attacker. Sorry, but other than where I KNOW I will be searched/screened, I’ll risk discrete carry into all other gun-free zones.

    Reply
    • Tunnel Rat

      If your concealed permit is recognized by Texas you are good. Border Patrol checkpoints aren’t a problem unless you are crossing the border. The main highway checkpoints are just looking for illegals. You are required to tell officers in Texas, that you are carrying, if stopped for any reason.

      Reply
      • Travis

        I too pass through ICE checkpoints a bunch while travelling back from Laredo, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and other Texas cities near the border. They only ask if you’re a US citizen and “maybe” glance in your back seat for a moment. Long-winded discussions of whether or not you are armed never occur.

        I disagree with Tunnel Rat’s comment about requiring to tell a police officer that you are armed of you are stopped. That was written OUT of the Texas law several years ago. It is NOT required for you to notify a peace officer that you are carrying, if stopped. It is good manners to tell them but again, it is NOT required by Texas State law.

        For the record, Texas no longer has a CHL. It is now referred to as a LTC (license to carry) since open carry is now a legal option.

        Reply
        • Basil Foster

          Travis, here is the current law in Texas with respect to identifying yourself. If you are required to provide identification, you MUST show both your drivers license (if you have one) and your LTC.
          GC §411.205. REQUIREMENT TO DISPLAY LICENSE. If a license holder is carrying a handgun on or about the license holder’s person when a magistrate or a peace officer demands that the license holder display identification, the license holder shall display both the license holder’s driver’s license or identification certificate issued by the department and the license holder’s handgun license. –Last amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1146 (H.B. 2730), Sec. 12A.02, eff. Sept. 1, 2009.

          Reply
    • DAN

      I agree completely. That’s what I do, as well. Just because some business owner slaps an”GUN FREE ZONE” sign on his door, doesn’t make it illegal to carry inside of that business, unless some city/town ordinance, or state law backs up all such posted signs. I have not heard of any that do. Have you?

      Reply
      • Jonathon W. Hood

        Wisconsin is a point of law state. If a business owner uses signage to declare his facility “gun free”, if you are found to be carrying within this area, you can be arrested for this. If it came to that. Normally, you would be asked to leave and should comply or you are in violation. Of course, if you are carrying concealed, it should be in a manner that no one would know anyway.

        Reply
    • ARJAY

      I do NOT give them my money, Besides, in Michigan, if you are caught carrying in a so called “gun free zone” you can lose you CCW/CPL. I won’t take that chance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
  3. Jim Bloyd

    Guns are just another tool. The only real weapon you will ever have is your mindset. If you don’t have that, you will not have a weapon, no matter what tools are lying around. Another thought to keep in mind; your enemy may provide you with the means to defeat him. I always keep that one in mind when I hear the “argument” that the 2A no longer applies as we (citizens) don’t have the same weapons as our government.

    Reply
  4. Pan

    Everyone has to make choices. Entering anywhere that is under Communist control is a personal choice and not really a good one.

    Reply
  5. tommygunn

    Ok, so I’m driving along carrying my firearm on my person, (CCW Permit in my wallet), and come to a place where I need to go into but they have a sign “No Firearms Allowed”. Does this mean on their parking lot as well? Hope not. What does one do with the firearm on their person? I know I can leave it in my glove box but is that secure enough? I installed a “Gun Vault”, GunVault.com in my center console that locks, it’s pretty secure. Tested with a crowbar to open it, 4 hours later it was still securely locked.

    Reply
    • gt1972

      It depends on the state and the place. Most states have a parking lot exception. Illinois, for example, requires the firearm to be locked in the car and out of sight. There is no parking lot exception at a post office and even having a firearm in the trunk while the vehicle is in a post office parking lot is a violation. It is necessary to check the laws of your jurisdiction to know how to deal with this type of situation.

      Reply
    • Ron Miller

      Every state is different. Some places it is cause to “trespass you” and if you don’t comply then you can be arrested..sometimes with a firearms enhancement. Check the state statutes.

      Reply
    • Bob

      You are probably at greater risk walking from your vehicle to the entrance of the “Gun Free Zone”, and then again back to your vehicle. I don’t like to be making physical movements inside my vehicle to hide my gun that might be observed by someone outside the vehicle. Best bet, if possible, find some other place that offers the same services you are seeking but without the GFZ sign. I’m sure they will appreciate your patronage.

      Reply
  6. gt1972

    Good article. Avoid, escape, or find a way to defend yourself instead of waiting to become a victim is good advice. It is worth noting that in Missouri, carrying in a gun free zone (except those banned by federal law, such as post offices and federal buildings) is specifically stated in the Missouri statute to not constitute a crime. The remedy is for the property owner or manager to ask the gun carrier to leave. If the carrier refuses to leave and the police are called, the police can issue a $100 ticket. A second refusal to leave that results in a call to police within 6 moths results in a $200 fine and a 1 year suspension of the CCW permit, and a third within 12 months results in loss of the CCW permit, a $500 fine, and a 3-year prohibition on reapplying for a CCW permit. Note, however, if a person with a CCW leaves when requested, there is not even a fine, and never a crime. Across the river in Illinois, carrying in a prohibited place is a Class B misdmeanor for the first offense, with up to a $1,500 fine, 6 months in jail, and/or 2 years probation. I do not recommend violating the prohibited places restrictions of the statute, but it is good to know the law and potential consequences in your area.

    Reply
  7. George W.H

    I have a CPL I know I can’t carry in gun free zones . At 65 I don’t run as fast as I used too so I am taking a tai-chi cane class it a great second option .

    Reply
    • John Decker

      George W.H., Cold Steel has a selection of canes you might like. I’m soon to be 71 and like you running is out of the question. The cane I have is an aluminum shaft with an 18 inch steel spike inside. It won’t cut, but it’s got a wicked point. When the cane is separated you have the spike for stabbing or impact, and the remainder of the cane is also an impact tool. I’m leery of trying, but the thick walls of the sheath part and small clearance between spike and sheath may make it look like one piece to an x-ray machine. You would get it on an airplane if I’m right or go to jail if I’m wrong. Your results may vary.

      Reply
  8. Dr Leslie D. Payne

    A little Forethought and a Pro-active reflex Pre-emptive attack is the best personal defence that is always with you. To “git thar fustest with the mostest.” may be a misquotation of General Forrest but it say it all.

    Reply
  9. Robert

    Good reading. But? What defense/s are there for a person with one leg, in a manual wheel chair? I have a “Carry Permit”, but, haven’t carried, mostly for the reason/s above. I’m at the mercy of anyone who tips my chair over!

    Reply
  10. Bill

    There are ALWAYS WEAPONS OF OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE, you just have to look for them. Dishes (especially) if there is HOT FOOD on them, forks,knives, even spoons, your shoes (high heels are great) also use the shoes strings to tie the bum up. Just ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, then knock the perp out!

    Reply
  11. David Kepler

    I agree that a gun doesn’t magically keep me safe. But having a gun will increase my distance from the bad guy. I would rather be 10 ft away instead of going hand to hand with a bad guy.

    Reply
  12. Jim

    Are you nuts? When terrorist come into a place they start shooting, they shoot who ever they see. You’re telling people to use their hands, fingers, feet etc. to attack an armed TERRORIST? In order for a person to ingage as you are saying them to they the terrorist you must get up close to use your fingers, hands, knees, elbos etc. you have to be able to be right next to them to use this type of physical defence. In the mean time as you try to get close to them do you think they will just be standing there allowing you to approch? I don’t think so!!! One other thing about the companies putting up the signs, “Guns Are Not Allowed”. These signs are for the bennefit of the liberals, under Minnesota law it is clear you can carry even in the stores with the signs. The law states that the only thing a company can do is ask you to leave and if you leave you are NOT IN VIOLATION of your carry permit. It also says that the Police CANNOT TAKE YOUR GUN or YOUR PERMIT FROM YOU. The only thing the Police can do is issue you a ticket for truspassing because you did not leave when asked. If you leave upon the request of an authorized person, one who has the authority to trespass people, then you have not violated any laws. You need to be more attentive to reading the law before you start telling people the wrong things to do. You never bring a knife to a gun fight so what makes you thing it’s a good idea to try and fight against these terrorist with your barehands?

    Reply
  13. John Bowmer

    Any fool or business can put up a “gun free zone” sign. Most have no force of law. With the exception of Schools and Federal Facilities. It shouldn’t be an issue if you carry “concealed”. Worst case is the owner of the property can ask you to leave. Failure to leave would expose you to potential trespass charges. California just passed a law that CCW holders cannot carry on school property (k-12) without express permission of the appropriate school official. California Penal Code 626.9

    Reply
    • artsbrew

      i do not think i will need that because i will not go to california. i would carry in a school or college, gun free zones are more apt to have problems who wants competition.

      Reply
  14. Doug Drake

    I have noticed many “Gun Free” zones, changing their Lawfully Required to small, obscure postings. Several times, deep into the “gun free zone” was a posting of “Code of Conduct” buried way down on the list it states weapons are prohibited. So by the time one enters the premises and finds the obscure posting, they have always committed a crime. Also according to the statement of conduct, the store employees are in violation for possessing a box cutter to open shipments of merchandise to stock the store shelves.

    Reply
  15. Jerry Shurig

    Very important to be educated and trained in defensive tactics and methods where ever one might be. Firearms are the ultimate defense, but anything can be a defensive tool .. Learn to use them!!

    Reply
  16. Clark Kent

    IMHO unconstitutional laws MUST be ignored. The reason our rights are infringed is because we ALLOW IT. ‘Laws repugnant to the Constitution are null and void’ – Marbury v Madison. First of all, don’t patronize gun free zone business establishments, period. Secondly, unless you have to pass through a metal detector or be frisked, who is going to know if you carry concealed? I know I am NOT going to be able to ward off an armed attack with a chair in my hands. Think about it: the government can’t send all of us to jail. We exercise our rights at OUR discretion, not at the discretion of the government. ‘Shall not be infringed’ could not be any clearer.

    Reply
    • Tom Horn

      Clark,

      Thank you for standing up for our Constitutional Rights. Unfortunately, for most (myself included), we do not have the deep pockets necessary for this approach. After you spend your life saving defending yourself, and many hours of your time, the NRA may step up and take your case once it makes it to the Supreme Court. I am well aware of, “Better to be judged by 12, than be carried by 6,” But, life experience has taught me that you can often defend or evade by using your brain. I am willing to take that chance.

      See article on Guns America about an off duty Pennsylvania prison guard and PA CCW permit holder, driving along with his wife minding his own business when they were hit by a drunk driver. The PA guard was arrested. Problem was, he was in New Jersey. I’m sure his life has turned to crap.
      see article at: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/new-jersey-felony-gun-charge/

      Reply
    • bob

      glad you’re a activist ,but a couple minor arrests ,and soon no ccw then you’re in to felony territory then no guns for you at all .you become a criminal statistic think you’re gonna fight it in the supreme court if ,and very big if that is you might get to trial in 4 or 5 years perulta in ca. took 6 ,a half decent lawyer is $450/500 plus per billable hour easy big buck cost to get to court i’d stash $100 K minimum good luck

      Reply
    • TheDesertRat

      Yes – unconstitutional laws must be ignored. But, only the courts can declare (decide) a law is unconstitutional. For each individual to decide for themselves what they believe (even in the face of overwhelming evidence) is constitutional / unconstitutional; which laws to follow and which to not is simply anarchy. Comments like this give responsible gun owners a “bad name” as a group.

      Reply
    • Iriya.lee

      Quite simply, alcohol and firearms do NOT mix. That said, the majority of states do not allow it but state laws vary so you would have to check.

      Reply
    • Michael Cutler

      In SC it is illegal to drink while you are carrying a concealed weapon-ie; handgun

      Reply
  17. harrisdeanc

    Well said. I think awareness at all times is the key to being able to defend yourself. I don’t think one needs to be paranoid, however you should always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

    Reply
  18. David

    Right on. A key chain clipped to your belt or purse with a few hard pointy objects work. Remember the phrase ” Let’s Roll”.

    Reply
  19. Beverly Gebhardt

    I would like to clarify the point of “no good guys” were seriously injured in the attack in Columbs, Ohio: two patrons were macheted & suffered injuries requiring multiple surgeries and possibly permanent debiltating injeries. Although we all would prefer to be paciifists, our current world situation does not allow it. We Must prepare for possible senarios and opractice our responses ahead of time. I will continue to wear my Sig where permitted and work diligently to change the laws to permit a national carry and perhaps someday, an international one. Please continue to educate us with your great videos. Thanks you.

    Reply
  20. thebronze

    “There are laws on the books that I may not agree with, but that we need to fight politically to get changed, not arbitrarily ignore because we wish they weren’t so.”

    I’m not obliged/required to follow unconstitutional laws in ANY jurisdiction.

    Reply
  21. Howard Baker

    What Is The Penalty For Carrying In A Gun-Free Zone?
    Why aren’t you carrying if the only penalty is getting thrown out?
    Concealed means CONCEALED. Even at an “ammunition-free” NRA function.
    The first time anyone should have any idea you are carrying is when you shoot the lethal threat: Don’t show it or let it print. Don’t talk about it. Unless you are asked by a LEO, do not admit it.
    In a demonstrable self-defense response are you likely to be prosecuted?
    Carrying in a GFZ may make legal defense more difficult when the DA bows to public outcry or you are sued.
    You are at risk for friendly fire from LE, SWAT, or late-arriving concerned citizens.
    Holster promptly when the threat is down, then concealed is concealed.
    Answer honestly if asked by a LEO but DO NOT REACH anywhere near your concealed weapon. If you do you will be shot.

    Reply
  22. artsbrew

    I respect your opinion, untril the courts hold those responsible for the protection of them financially, i will carry anywhere there is not a metal detector. concealed means not gun to me. just as i do not go to any schools except maybe a college where i still carry, i believe teachers that want to shuld be able to carry and protect the kids. i do believe in personal property rights, but i do believe they cannot protect me, so out of sight is out of mind. while in my younger days i kept a lot of bullies in line, i am not the man i use to be. still better then average but at 67 it is hard to fight the years. while i do trust my skills, i also believe going against a gun is probably suicide with the weapons you mentioned. i will not give up and will do whatever i can to survive if need be. i will not lay down until i am dead. i would rather have a misdemeanor then be dead. at least one of the saliors was hit, i do not remember whether he did but like them you have to have the mind set before and continue on till you can’t. survival is the key whether it is you your family or a stranger. stop the threat if possible, if not it probably won’t matter to you in the end. i do not have an immediate family to worry about so i guess i can worry about other people if possible. just as i will not give up my guns to clinton i would rather die.. i have had a pretty good life but as you get older it gets harder and more painful.

    Reply
  23. Nunyaz

    Two things come to mind in response to the Author’s statement “Let’s be clear about my stance on carrying a gun where you know you are forbidden by law: Don’t do it.” They’re both ‘cliches’ but cliches most always have a kernel of truth: 1. An unjust law is no law at all. 2. “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”

    Dr. Martin Luther King was the “jedi-master” at non-violent, civil disobedience … he didn’t make that progress so that we could drop the ball in the name of not ‘breaking’ the ‘law’. If I’m concealed carry in a place of business that has posted a “gun free” notice, who’s to know? And others have more eloquently made the ‘argument’ that, hey – I’m NOT Jason Bourne, capable of killing an ARMED assailant with a ball point pen … I’m just saying’ =)

    Peace,
    Nunyaz

    Reply
  24. Terri Petterson

    I’ve been taking handgun since getting my CPL back in 2013, and am finally getting more comfortable with the idea of carrying concealed more often. However, in the summer, it is next to impossible for me to carry concealed. When I am carrying, every building I go into, whether it is the gas station or the grocery store, I’m wondering if I missed a sign that says “No weapons”. Also, once in the store, I tend to think about “if this happened, what would I do, where would I go, at what point would I feel that I was forced to unholster my gun?” I’m not thinking about these things in a paranoid fashion, but rather of wanting to be prepared. The other thing I always to when I carry is to put my ID and CPL together in a pocket so I can reach them easily, but not quickly, should I need to identify myself. This was an excellent article and I enjoyed reading it. Thank-you! I have a hard time seeing random items around me as “weapons”, so I don’t tend to think about looking for them. I tend to think about trying to tackle the guy or use my weight to knock him down. Thank-you again for this article.

    Reply
    • Fred

      Good article but some of the answers kind of got off the subject. I’m fortunate as a retired LEO that I am exempt from all pistol free zones except Casino’s, Federal Buildings, Some Courts etc. the list is short. If I was in a business that has private property status, they can put up any sign they want, but if you come in another entrance that has no sign or the sign is not conspicuously posted, you can’t be expected to know they don’t want you legally carrying in their establishment, especially when its permissible to carry on the sidewalk property in front of their building as you walk by. Be prepared if you do miss a CPL prohibited sign. “Well officer I didn’t see any sign telling me I couldn’t carry when I entered; where was it at? I surely would have respected it if I had seen it” “There should be regulations concerning making their restrictions plainly visible to their customers, sorry Sir”. You also have to figure if you were lucky enough to be able to stop an active shooter or robber that was drawing down on you or other customers because you missed their clandestine sign, that you would get a pat on the back not a ticket pushed by the store owner. “Boy sure am glad that I didn’t see that sign you told me about”. Other than that, unless the subject is brought up, zip your lips. If you pocket carry try cutting thick paper like a cereal box a little larger than the shape of your pocket, cutting two a little larger is best to give your pocket a smooth radius. It keeps your firearm from being profiled and recognized by others. Not telling you to disregard the no firearms sign, but if you don’t see a small or somewhat obstructed sign that’s not in plain sight or is posted where it might not be visible if you stop to hold the door open for the person behind you as a courtesy, you can’t be held to a general standard with no specific posting regulations concerning location and letter sizing. Good Luck!

      Reply
  25. Jamie

    I’m screwed if terrorists hit the Kennedy Center while I’m there 15 weeks preg with my 4 girls under 8 yo. Chairs bolted down, no cover, huge crowd, and height advantage for the shooters. We’ll be fish in a barrel. My husband will be there thankfully, and I’ll be researching beforehand and looking for when I get there all the exits and possible places to barricade. Thanks for the article.

    Reply
  26. Cecil

    I will decide when and where to carry as I feel I am covered by the 2nd amendment, and not covered by government rules.

    Reply
  27. Regina M Gagner

    Very informative article, thank you. Well written. I stand by the 2nd Ammendment AND the Constitution of the United STATES. This article gave me a lot of alternative idea for personal defense. Thank you again. God bless you.

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  28. ARJAY

    Fire extinguishers are a very good defensive “weapon”. I think that most schools have extinguishers in each classroom, if not, that would be a very inexpensive way to “arm” teachers. Using a fire extinguisher to shoot at someone can render them pretty much harmless. You get several firing at them can subdue them quickly. When they run out of “fuel/ammo” you can throw them at the perp (major hurt if they are hit).

    A few “active shooter” training sessions would help. Either dry chemical or CO2 extinguishers would work. I think the dry chemical extinguishers would be more effective against a shooter. Get that stuff in your eyes or LUNGS would be very hazardous to the health of the criminal!

    That could work very well UNTIL congress OUTLAWS “gun free zones”!!

    Now, onto MY take on business that are so called “gun free zones”. I NEVER enter them. If they want my money, they will NOT restrict my RIGHT, PROTECTED by the 2nd Amendment, to “keep” own, have and “bear” carry firearms. period!!

    They have the right to be so called “gun free” I have the right to spend my money in a business that is 2nd Amendment FRIENDLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  29. Brian

    I have a CCW in NC, and there are several catches in my world to Gun-Free Zones. 1st taking my child to school and picking them up, as long as I stay in the car (like the car pool lane) I am absolutely allowed to have my weapon, and of course if something were to happen and I have to defend myself or others I am still “good”. Now any state or federal building okay DONT DO IT. But as far as businesses go, even if they post a no gun sign that does not prevent me from carrying. They do have the right to ask me to leave, if they figure out I am carrying (which I dont advertise), and if they do ask you to leave if you dont then you are trespassing. But I totally agree even without my sidearm , I am never defenseless.

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  30. Patrick Snell

    I will either carry concealed anyways no one will tell me I can’t carry. What they don’t know won’t hurt them. Or if it is a place where they are frisking then I will not go to it they will not get my money PERIOD I do not trust anybody other than myself to protect me PERIOD.

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  31. Patrick Snell

    That’s easy I carry concealed so I will carry anyways what they don’t know won’t hurt them nor does anybody have the right to tell me I can NOT protect myself PERIOD. Also if it is a place where they frisk then I will not enter and They will not get my money/business. I Do NOT Trust anyone to protect me other then myself PERIOD.

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  32. Patrick Snell

    I love all you people going and getting another humans special permission slip giving them the power to say that you can carry. That is a GOD GIVEN RIGHT. THAT IS NOT A MAN GIVEN RIGHT. Also they did exactly what I knew they would all of you who got your special permission slip you are now registered and now they know you are armed when you get pulled over they know you may be armed and if it ever came to confiscation your the first houses they will be visiting. Instead of being sheeple you need to take back your FREEDOM AND GOD GIVEN RIGHTS and quit letting another human control your lives.

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  33. Carlos

    6 ways? I’ll give you 1 that never fails. Fuck the rules and carry anyway, unless it’s a place with metal detectors. They’ll never know and the worst thing that can happen is, God forbid, there’s an active shooter and you take them out. I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6 and no jury’s gonna convict a hero. The other rule is stay the hell out of these places as much as you can!

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  34. Thomas

    The ONLY thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun ! Wayne LaPierre, NRA, PERIOD ! The rest is just wishful thinking. Do all of the last 5 measures you listed, just gets you shot.

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  35. Daniel Shoaf

    Someone needs to come up with a portable device (other than a phone) that if you push a button it goes to local 911 with a distress signal, giving the location. Maybe it can be on a key chain of around your neck. It would have a cover of sort so that it would not be accidentally activated. It could be made available to the public and employees could also carry it.

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  36. Kevin Robinson

    Good common sense alternatives to firearms to defend oneself, if necessary. It has the added benefit of making one feel calmer and safer knowing there are common every day items that can be repurposed as defense items if flee and barricade fail!

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  37. Larry WIlson

    For me this was one of those good reminder type articles. Before I got my CCW I pretty much went anywhere and everywhere I wanted (unarmed) in the since that I had no firearm. I considered myself reasonably prepared, I knew where the exits and fire extinguishers were, sat in what I considered to be tactical advantages and looked for other weapons of opportunity, then I got my CCW. Somehow that put me into this mindset that I was naked and defenseless without my firearm. I know, I know… you shouldn’t go anywhere with your firearm that you wouldn’t go without. Fast forward to today, I go anywhere and everywhere, enter buildings, look for fire extinguishers, sit with tactical advantage and look for weapons of opportunity. The only question now… does my tool box also contain a firearm while I’m at a particular establishment????

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  38. Tom Leach

    I have a CA CCW permit. I’m not clear as to the law regarding carrying in a “gun-fee” (criminal safe) zone. I do know of businesses that do not allow weapons and I either carry anyway or I don’t use their services. Does anyone know the law?

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  39. Chris

    This article is good, and points out many things you can do to be less of a victim. The most important thing to do is become an activist and to VOTE. The problem with our side is we are not activists like the other side. So many of us leave our Second Amendment freedoms and future freedom in the hands of others just assuming it will always be there when in fact it is infringed more and more each day by the activists, politicians and media on the other side. We’ve passively sat back since the 1960’s and watched the “Don’t Think Just Feel” Lost Left take over our school districts, colleges, media, and government. The Anti-gun Terrorists have succeeded in changing how we live our lives by controlling our actions, movements and habits just as the peaceful religious terrorists have changed our lives so that we fear travel and public places. The difference is these modern anti-gun terrorists have ensured that only criminals are armed in so-called “Gun Free Zones” like schools where children continued to be murdered on the alter of gun control by bad guys who don’t care about laws. The latest Florida high school shooting can be added to the list of examples where the DTJF Lost Left is winning by allowing innocents to die in environments we’re they’ve ensured only bad guys are armed.These anti-gun terroists have won with me and my family. We no longer attend theaters where they post no guns allowed signs. We no longer go to stores where they do not allow guns. We travel as little as possible using mass transportation and have no intention of ever visiting mass sporting events or busy places like big cities (I enjoyed NYC, LA, Housont, Seattle, ect.)–all of which now are Gun Free Zones for Citizens and Armed playgrounds for the bad guys who don’t give a damn about laws. As soon as they get a law against murder that works we won’t need gun free zones or gun control at all. But until there are no more humans there will never be a law agasint murder that works.

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    • Le Gato

      Chris.. you are so right.. All this BS about gun free zones, crossing State line and learning the hundred and one rules were created by the extremist. There are lots of laws already for those who use a gun to commit a crime. Now the uneducated extremist are trying to outlaw law abiding gun owners.
      Most of these extremists have millions to pay body guards for their protection. The silent majority needs to take a stand and use our voting rights to hire sensible politicians and judges who believe in and support the Constitution. Every State is suppose to abide by the Constitution, but in some States and cities like NY, NJ Calif, Washington, the citizens have just let the loud mouths take away their Constitutional rights. It is not only the 2nd Amendment, it seems that the 1st Amendment is only for the Media and the extremist. Try going out in public and shout that “GUNS” are not the cause of the mass shootings, but mentally unstable, crazy individual who were all known by someone they were unstable. If you are not beaten, you will be trashed by the media or get arrested.
      Everyone should pay attention to what your Politicians are saying and vote so eventually these crazy-assed laws can be rescinded. Then ALL States will respect the Constitution and we will not have to be concerned about crossing State lines. Do not think we cannot make changes. We shocked the crap out of the media, Hillary and Bernie with all there polling and statistics. We still need to get rid of a few Justices who are with the extremist.
      Heck! I can drive my automobile with my State’s license anywhere and it is not a defined Constitutional Amendment.

      Reply