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.

pic 2

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?

pic 3

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.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

47 Responses to “Gun Free Zone Woes”

  1. Jack Coberly

    Well stated. My wife and I own a handgun for home protection but we don’t carry it on us or travel with it. As a matter of fact I don’t belong to a gun organization and voted against carrying a concealed weapon in Colorado a few years back when I lived there. I don’t fear the govt is taking away my second amendment rights and don’t feel I need to carry a gun with me at all times. I am a coach and would feel it unnecessary and potentially dangerous. I don’t mean this to be a political reply, but the writer hit the nail on the head and I agree. Why restrict the freedoms we do have with travel and the enjoyment of the things we like because of the fear of something that probably won’t happen. I am 77 years old and started Krav Maga when I was 75 so I can protect myself and family without a gun. I am at this time preparing to test for my black belt which includes gun and knife defense and how to handle a gun and knife in stressful situations. I agree that we should not be so obsessed with our guns that we fail to enjoy the things we love to do, the things we love to eat or the places we wish to visit. Actually there is no guarantee that even carrying a gun will protect you in many situations. I have had my say and as a Vietnam veteran I can say it’s better to live and enjoy life that live in fear.

  2. Harry Frank

    With one exception, It has never occurred to me to avoid travel or patronage because of carry limitations. I don't knowingly or willingly go to dangerous places. Stupidity is a fatal condition, and a concealed gun is no cure.

  3. JD

    I think the point should be to let those places who ban concealed carry on their premises should be sent a letter telling them they are losing your business (and your like minded friends) by basing their ban on false facts. I no longer shop Dicks's Sporting goods (had bought a rifle & shotgun there previously) and no longer buy Levi's jeans. Let them know of your displeasure and tell your friends don't buy from them.

  4. John

    I am able defend myself and my family member against most single attackers without resorting to drawing my weapon. But the true facts are that 99% of all attacks are commited by groups of people. So unless you think you are chuck norris or jackie chan in a movie it never ends well for the victims. When a group of large angry men attack people having a peaceful dinner because they don't like your color, appreance religion or whatever reason. Than its time for mr colt to equalize the situation and damm the consqunces. Just know that if I am on the jury,,, you will go free and screw the snowflakes, liberals, democrats. Burn down your own towns, it will serve you right.

  5. Jim

    There's plenty of good restaurants that allow CCW so just go to one that does. Also, I do not shop in the indoor malls that bar guns. However, what I do is shop in the big store in the mall by entering and leaving through the outside doors. The ones without any Gun Signs. Or you can communicate with the owner about the restrictions. Two years ago a restaurant one of our favorite restaurants one day had a "No Gun Zone" sign in the front door. I told my wife to go in and order our food for takeout. I sat at one of the outside tables that were close to the front door and windows, all glass. The owner came out and asked why I didn't come inside. I told him because of the sign, that I Carry and do not go inside the "Zones". He said "You can come in if I let you. You're a good customer and I don't want to lose you." I explained that as long as that sign is on the door I cannot come in with my weapon. He said "I have to check that out." The next week I saw that he had taken off the signs.!! So I'm a 76 year old man who years ago if pushed to protect myself I could easily at 195 and benching 300 lbs. But now when I see images of those five guys attacking one guy I say "That will not happen to me." So I Carry all the time so that will never happen. Granted, I probably will not find myself in that position BUT who knows for sure.!! We all know the crazed idiot that wants to kill will seek out that Gun Free Zone, knowing there's less chances of being stopped. I refuse to put myself in any of those places the idiot is seeking. No favorite sandwich or meal is worth it. Even if the odds are very slim. BTW, I live in Tennessee and travel to Pennsylvania at times. I Carry the entire trip except for a small 20 miles drive through a slender part of Maryland. Before I get to the Maryland border I have to lock my pistol and ammo in my trunk. After driving into PA, I then stop put my pistol back on and continue on.!! :o)

  6. Scott Miller

    I'm extremely disappointed that PDN would permit your article on their website. Would you frequent an establishment that posted any of the following signs : "No handicapped people allowed", "No [add your race/ethnicity here] allowed", "No [add your nationality here]","No knives, pepper spray, Tactical Pens, or any other weapon allowed"??? I respect the right of the store owner to make a statement with entrance policies...and I will spend my money accordingly, i.e. not in establishments which post signs which are diametrically opposed to my opinion. If more gun owners would exercise their right of choice and be more discriminating in the businesses they choose to support with their purchases, perhaps more store owners would think twice before attempting to disenfranchise their potential customers.

  7. Yorak Hunt

    My mind set is that I don't want a single penny of mine going to an enemy of the second amendment. I stopped going to Buffalo Wild wings (which I loved) over their pinko commie gun policy & my life is just as good as it ever was. I drive AROUND slave states like Illinois if I'm traveling & don't care if it adds mileage to my trip. I don't avoid "gun Free zones" due to the fact that I'm safer while carrying, I avoid them because I DON'T WANT COMMIE SCUM GETTING MY MONEY! How good do those hot wings taste when you hear the place you spent money at just cut a $500,000 check to hand gun control INC.?

  8. Warren Murray

    You are having a better bad day if you think this way. Most of the shootings occurred in gun free zones, schools, church and hospitals...

  9. Russ

    While your "mindset" has a point, my safety is much better served with having my EDC. I just ignore the notice. "Forgiveness is always easier than permission"! The odds of anyone discovering that I'm armed is probably the same or less than the odds of needing to use it.

  10. Dee Dee

    It is an interesting study when a 5 year old column such as this bubbles to the surface again. Perhaps the author was just venting from some recent event in his life? He's placing a blanket assumption on virtually everyone else regarding disposition. What an absurd waste of my time to read the column. To respond: I am fortunate to live in a state where signage is void of legal enforcement. To be honest, I don't really see any purpose for signs as shown in the article. Seriously, if you are carrying concealed, WHO KNOWS???? My issue is that if a business has such disregard for their clientele, I don't care to give them my business. I have much better things to do with my time and money. In this interesting year of government tyranny over a mild flu, I am the same way about face masks. Again, I live in a state where the governor has essentially made all local mandates null. Nonetheless, there are some businesses which are openly hostile to people not hiding their identity and humanity by wearing a petri dish on their faces. It is an amazing phenomenon as most businesses are struggling to survive and you would think they would embrace each customer walking through their door. So yeah, I don't give those locations my business either. There are always businesses that will unconditionally welcome my support. I actually find some hidden gems when I drive past businesses that do not respect me, my safety, or my rights. And yes, Aaron, I most certainly do think twice before frequenting a business that does not respect my rights and freedom.