chattanooga marine recruiting shooting gun free zone

chattanooga marine recruiting shooting gun free zone

Investigator investigates the scene of a 2015 shooting outside a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn. Note the “gun-free” zone sign on the window. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The greatest danger of a “gun-free” zone is, of course, the possibility of a bad actor or actors slaughtering unarmed innocents. Something that’s both sickeningly well-established and obstinately, irrationally ignored.

But gun-free zones present other, less obvious dangers, too. Dangers gun owners need to be aware of in order to protect themselves and their property.

1. Disarming and rearming yourself to enter a “gun-free” zone is inherently dangerous

Everyone has to occasionally enter a post office or other federal building. That means leaving your gun behind unless you want to risk a federal felony charge. Being forces to disarm yourself to comply with the law is process repeated by tens of thousands of legal carriers every day, as they leave their vehicle to enter “gun-free” zones.

A car’s crowded confines may not be the most dangerous place to disarm or rearm, but it sure as hell isn’t the safest. If nothing else, it’s difficult to keep a gun pointed in a safe direction inside a car, given passengers, surrounding pedestrians and/or occupants of nearby vehicles. Self-muzzling may not be inevitable, but it’s likely.

Disarming and then rearming outside of a car carries its own risks. Passersby may freak out at the sight of a firearm, creating a dangerous scene (at least in the legal sense). While we’re at it, where can a car-free or public transport or Taxi-riding person safely disarm before entering a “gun-free” zone? Nowhere. Which may lead them to carry illegally into the GFZ.

2. “Gun-free” zones lead to firearms theft

Check out the Corpus Christi PD’s reaction, above, to the startling rise in the number of firearms stolen from vehicles. Take your firearms when you leave your car! Great idea! Thieves can’t steal a gun that’s not there.

Only you can’t take it with you. Not if you’re a law-abiding American who wants to, say, mail a package or buy some stamps.

Gun owners around the country face this dilemma: leave your gun in your car and risk theft or take it with you and risk the permanent loss of your gun rights (or even jail time). No need to guess which one they choose. Or why thieves target car guns.

As the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex constantly reminds us, bad guys getting “easy access” to guns is a danger to society. Of course, bad guys will get guns no matter what. But there is real danger in having criminals cruising the streets looking to break into cars likely to have guns and then using them to shoot each other or rob law-abiding citizens.

3. Disarming leaves you disarmed

After disarming to enter a post office, government building or my kid’s school, I often forget to rearm. For hours. It’s easy to do when you’re busy with lots to do. We know lots of people who go to put their gun away at night only to discover their holster is empty because they’d left it in the car.

What are the odds that you’ll experience post-GFZ Empty Holster Syndrome during a defensive gun use? Thankfully it’s pretty low But it’s still dangerous to walk around thinking you’re strapped when you’re not.

Bottom line: the less “gun-free zones” the better. For everyone.

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