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Gun Free Zones = More Mayhem?

February 25, 2023
Mike Sampson

The benefits about the notion that gun-free zones decrease “gun violence” get setbacks time and again.

The United States has totaled 67 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023. Mass shootings are defined as an incident in which four or more victims are shot or killed, according to the archive.

The Michigan State University shooting on Feb. 13 that claimed three lives took place in a gun-free zone (based on university policy). And on Feb. 17 a Mississippi shooting took six lives in multiple locations, including businesses. None of the locations reportedly were “gun free.”

The Crime Prevention Research Center reported that “gun-free zones” (areas where guns are prohibited) have been the target of more than 98% of all mass shootings. This staggering number is why such designated areas are often referred to as “soft targets,” meaning unprotected and vulnerable.

“According to the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), only a little more than 1% of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in places that were not considered to be a gun-free zone,” The Blaze reported.

“In fact, as CPRC President John Lott Jr. noted in October 2015, only two mass shootings in the U.S. since 1950 have occurred in an area where citizens were not prohibited from carrying a gun.” This statistic has changed for the worse.

All of this information points to the viable conclusion that gun-free zones provide no deterrent to those intent on creating mayhem with a firearm. As I have noted in prior Gun Talk articles though, “gun violence” is not the problem. “Criminal violence” with a firearm is.

Sadly, politicians and others do not see the difference and “gun control” is the only problem-solver in their minds.

A New York Times article on Feb. 14 referenced a retired police officer who understands the problems with gun-free zones in the Times Square part of New York. A shooting there was the first since the creation of the expansive, signposted zone, the police said in a statement, and it immediately renewed questions about whether such a designation can truly protect the area.

New York and other liberal states designated more “gun-free” zones in pushback when on June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment confers a constitutional right to carry a gun outside the home. That decision voided New York’s requirement that concealed carry permit applicants demonstrate “proper cause,” or a special need for self-defense.

“People feel emboldened to carry guns on the street,” said Tom Harris, a retired New York police inspector. “A gun-free zone is not going to stop a criminal from carrying a gun,” Harris said. Now there is some common-sense advice.

And Ron Noble, the Secretary General of INTERPOL from 2000 to 2014, made similar comments. He cautioned that even with “extraordinary security,” it would be virtually impossible to keep weapons out of soft targets.

Perhaps we can confirm gun-free zones can create hunting grounds for those seeking to inflict mayhem.

Apparently that is what happened on May 14, 2022, at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, that claimed 10 victims. The suspect reportedly targeted the store expecting unarmed shoppers, stating beforehand that he chose New York for his killing spree because of its strict gun-control laws.

So, how do firearms carriers deal with gun-free zones, or can we? And no doubt we can expect more gun-free zones to appear to help politicians legislate for “public safety.” Also keep in mind prohibitions on knives.

One way is not to patronize such locations, unless necessary. Go elsewhere, but tell the gun-free business why you are doing so. Obviously many healthcare facilities, schools, and various federal and state offices offer no alternative. So go there if you if you must, but heighten your situational awareness. Know your state’s firearms and knife laws too.

Check often and look at any local firearms regulations too. And if you carry a knife, check

The CPRC said in 2022 there are at last 22.1 million concealed-carry permittees in the United States. Data also showed that states with large increases in permits had a larger drop in murder rates. I’d say this validates that legal carry is a crime deterrent.

As Bearing Arms reported, “Mass shootings are an issue, but until we can get past this obsession with gun control, we’re never going to get to the root causes of them so we can put an end to them for good.” I could not agree more.

I dread disarming myself and leaving a sidearm or knife in my vehicle, but short of buying an expensive lockable small gun vault, what are we to do? If you do have to leave your weapon in your vehicle, hopefully have someone you trust “babysit” your carry piece while you “patronize” a weapon-free establishment.

As much as possible, avoid being a soft target and becoming a mayhem victim. Be armed where and when legal.

Our efforts to Stay safe, be prepared continue to feel the pressure of a widespread and increasing “assault on weapons” of any kind. ~ Mike

Mike Sampson
Mike now calls Northwestern Arkansas home, but has lived and worked in several states and internationally. He has been an independent contractor and consultant since 2006 specializing in risk management, emergency management and training. In addition to work as a law-enforcement planner and technical writer with the Boise, Idaho, Police Department, he has experience in journalism, crop and animal agriculture, dryland farming for 20 years in western Kansas, plant and animal diseases, pandemic influenza, agroterrorism, bioterrorism, food safety and healthcare marketing.

He has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and has newspaper and agency writing and editing experience. At Washington State University in Pullman, he earned a master’s degree emphasizing adult education and communications.

While living in Lander, WY, Mike provided photographic coverage of the One-Shot Antelope Hunt for three years, and got to meet and accompany folks such as Chuck Yeager, Carroll Shelby, Buzz Aldrin, Dale Robertson and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf on their hunts. He also worked as an outfitter’s guide.  


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