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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Our last entry here touched on “gun-free zones,” and whether the theater where the latest mass-murder atrocity took place guaranteed its premises to be a safe hunting preserve for the mad dog killer who wrought horror there. In blog commentary, I was asked if I could provide a link to confirm that the establishment where it happened, and its parent chain Cinemark, forbade law-abiding armed citizens to legally carry firearms there.
Try these:

Debate over whether a court would determine that the “guns forbidden” policy carried power of law seems moot: we’re talking practical reality here. Most of us go by the common sense precept, “Do not go where you are not wanted.” Armed citizens who could have stopped the killer were clearly notified by the company policy that “they were not welcome there.”
When you make potential rescuers unwelcome, do not blame those potential rescuers for not being there when the disaster happens, and the death toll mounts because what could have stopped the killing has been banned from your establishment.

70 Responses to “ON GUN-FREE ZONES”

  1. Tim Says:

    Thanks, Mas, for a well-thought post.

    I noticed you stopped short of the “just one life” qualification that’s bandied about for any and all potentially dangerous activity: driving after going to the bar, protected sex, etc.

    Why don’t we equate that standard, with the documentented incidents of a non-LEO carrier as saving the day and one, or more lives into the narrative?

  2. James Says:

    Thank you.

    This statement alone is worth repeating over and over.

    “When you make potential rescuers unwelcome, do not blame those potential rescuers for not being there when the disaster happens and the death toll mounts because what could have stopped the killing has been banned from your establishment.”

  3. Pete Sheppard Says:


  4. Pete Sheppard Says:

    In my book, your word is gold, but others aren’t quite as wise…

  5. Victoria Says:

    I have a strong feeling that many of those with a right to carry will be ignoring gun-free zones from this point forward. I suppose one could be put in jail for doing so-even if many lives may be saved. I think we are at a point where self defense and protection of the innocent may cost us something. My choice would be to go to jail for protecting myself and others around me-rather than dying at the hands of a demented murderer.

    Any one who thinks clearly knows that gun-free zones are a joke as far as stopping a murderer from having guns.What we really need is an idiot free zone from people and companies who have this kind of “dumb and dumber” worldview.

  6. WisconsinKerry Says:

    “When you make potential rescuers unwelcome, do not blame those potential rescuers for not being there…” And, I might add, do not punish them by taking away the very tools that would have enabled them to put a stop to it. As someone else posted elsewhere, why is it that, every time there’s one of these mass shootings, people want to punish everyone who DID NOT do it by taking away their means of self-defense?

  7. Illinois Bob Says:

    The antigun mentality is often hard to fathom, especially for those us who recognize the truths of gun ownership. It is impossible to get well intentioned, misguided people to see the light when it comes to criminals and victims. I have found it easier to plant a seed of thought by backing away from the “gun” debate and demonstrate absurdity by being absurd.

    For example; I drive an SUV. I have done so legally for more than 20 years. One day after work, celebrating a co-worker who is leaving, I have too many cocktails. When driving home I strike and kill a pedestrian who was crossing the street.

    Now think like an antigun person for a minute. This death obviously occurred because I drive a car. If I didn’t have a car this person would still be alive. We need a nationwide ban on cars. All of the car lovers in America would never go for it and they all vote. The best we can hope for is a ban on large SUVs. Had I been driving a Prius this poor woman may only be injured and not dead.

    This is the absurd mindset that we have to overcome. Showing the absurdity by being absurd is the only way we can possibly change this mindset.

    Of course showing the absurdity behind this mindset still has not worked in “Gun free” Illinois, a place where we never have to worry about armed violence. We are a shining example of just how well gun laws work to protect the innocent.

  8. Mad Duck Training Says:

    The City of Aurora also has a ban on concealed carry

  9. Curiosity Seeker Says:

    While not a conspiracy nut myself (however I do question my government like any responsible American) , with the events of Fast and Furious showing that our government has been known to make questionable choices “for the good of the country”, I’m curious as to the possibility that this tragedy might have been sponsored by someone or some organization that would see benefit in another gun incident to further the cause of gun control. I’d be curious to see if there is any validity to articles like this:

  10. Mark Says:

    Calls for more restrictive laws against firearms don’t make any sense in the context of a situation where firearms were prohibited and people got shot anyway.

  11. Illinois Bob Says:

    Would you rather have to explain to twelve of your peers why you were forced to use your concealed carry weapon in a gun free zone or have a police office have to tell your family that you were law abiding right up to the end?

  12. Jaji Says:

    I’ve decided to post “Deer-Free Zone” signs around my garden. That’ll keep the buggers out for sure!

  13. Mike Says:

    A good commentary Mas, but….

    “When you make potential rescuers unwelcome,””do not blame those potential rescuers for not being there when the disaster happens””, and the death toll mounts because what could have stopped the killing has been banned from your establishment.”

    I have not observed such a comment attributed to the ownership of the establishment. Then again, I could be mistaken. Would not be the first time.

    While the justification for use of deadly force to stop the attack would be there, no one knows with absolute certainty how one will respond to unfolding events. Or how effective the response would be. Arm chair quarterbacking, hindsight, Ida Dunn’s, woulda, shoulda, coulda, etc. don’t provide solutions to situations.

    I question why a CCDW license holder would be unarmed? A good, law abiding citizen? More fearful of being outed and going to jail than being attacked? Or such a desire to partake of the offering, that you are willing to compromise your personal defense choices?

    If there is to be a ‘gun free zone’ permitted anywhere, absolutely no one should be permitted on the premises with a firearm. NO ONE!

    Would be interesting to see how that one would play out.

    As many building codes require the installation of devices to protect patrons, (sprinklers, emergency lighting, unfettered exits, etc.), should not those same building codes require methods of preventing physical attacks on patrons?

    I personally would have liked to have seen the attack ended prior to the attackers first shot. Cop, CC, lightning bolt from the sky, hell opening and swallowing the attacker, something.

    One of these days, everyone will realize they are responsible for their own safety. And act accordingly.

    My thoughts and condolences to everyone involved.


  14. Jim O. Says:

    Whether or not an armed citizen “possibly could have” stopped this senseless violence will never be known. We can only guess, at best.

    As informed, educated and trained law abiding citizens we avoid places and situations such as this. Those who restrict our right of self defense serve only to further validate our reasons because we understand that they are enabling greater violence and a higher death toll.

    Anyone who patronizes an establishment that is a “Gun Free Zone” needs to understand that they are, in reality, patronizing a “Guaranteed Helpless Vicitm” zone where they are at the mercy, or lack thereof, of anyone who wishes to commit evil attrocities upon them.

    I doubt that day will ever come.

  15. Gary Says:

    Aurora CO Ordinances Sec. 94-152 makes it unlawful to possess a firearm on private property where prohibited.

  16. Noah Vaile Says:

    Of course the anti-gunners position is that ALL guns be taken out of society. Not just those from law-abiding citizens (who might go rogue) but those from criminals and concentrate them in the hands of government entities.

    If such a thing were possible (not even considering desirable) then criminals would clearly resort to knives (another tool Britain is working on denying their citizens) and clubs. Of course, by simply criminalizing the act of self defense you solve a lot of these problems, resulting in innocent self-defenders ending up serving more time than their attackers as has happened in England already.

    But getting back to where does it end? Samuel Colt created the great equalizer, the 45 revolver. This made a 110 pound maid the equal of a 250 pound rapist.

    Now the government wants to tell us that it will provide all the protection we need and keep us safe in gun-free zones. Well, the supreme court has already said that the police have no obligation to protect individuals from one-on-one crimes and that’s that.

    Pardon me, Mas, but when Clinton offered up seed money to expand small town (and other ) police forces I think that opened up those forces to expansion beyond the eligible population. In other words we had the “affirmative action” effect with an influx of money buying poorer quality personnel, a higher percentage than in the past, of bad actors got to become policemen.

    The result has been more questionable police actions and lessened trust of the police overall. All thanks to the federal government interceding in local affairs.

    The bottom line. An armed society is a polite society, a safe society and one its government will be afraid to mess with.

  17. Noah Vaile Says:

    Gary- I believe that Colorado State law allows private establishments to forbid firearms on premises but also requires those establishments to have metal detectors or similar devices at all entrances. State law supersedes local laws, but that doesn’t stop the locals from passing anything they want to.

  18. SE Says:

    Given that the readers of this column are self-selected Mas fans, I’m guessing that all of our comments are preaching to the choir with the standard topics, such as gun-free zones and concealed carry.

    I have been wondering how avoid the obvious arguments, and instead reconcile and rationalize the events in Colorado in light of the renewed discussion about “assault weapons” and gun laws in the media.

    I’m about 99.99% sure that the gun-free zone argument won’t even register with the anti-gun crowd. This isn’t even a debate. They’ll likely reference Tombstone and Old West lawlessness, which I have seen before regarding OC and CC discussions. They expect society to be peaceful and loving, and for the government to take care of them.

    So then it naturally turns to “there is no reason a civilian should own a military weapon like the AR-15”. Obviously millions of law abiding American AR-15 owners, who will never murder anyone, would disagree. But that’s a typical argument I’ve read.

    And then it goes to details like magazine capacity and “high power” rifles being the problem. As if a typical shotgun and pistol in the hands of a nutcase can’t inflict just as much damage.

    What’s obvious to us is that these discussions are about the tools and parts, and not about the criminal who committed the crime.

    I’ve tried to think of an analogy, and the only one that seems close is the one that Illinois Bob mentioned above. Drinking and driving.

    If you believe MADD statistics, over 10,200 people were killed in 2010 due to drunk driving, with ONE THIRD of alcohol related accidents caused by repeat offenders.

    Granted, if we were to believe Brady Campaign stats, that doesn’t seem to compare to gun deaths because Brady includes the massive number of gun suicides, but the drunk driving topic seems to be a very accessible crime and statistic that people can understand. And without suicides, the gun deaths are pretty close to DUI deaths.

    So, rather than blame the car, I would say to the anti-gun person, let’s blame alcohol. (all ironically, a la A Modest Proposal, obviously)

    People can drive to a corner convenience store, and simply by being over 21, can buy unlimited amounts of alcohol, that they can then put in their car, and drive away. They can buy 40 oz bottles of malt liquor, and large bottles of hard liquor, enough to kill someone even by drinking alone, without the car.

    People can also consume loads of alcohol at a bar or restaurant and then drive away–although thankfully many bars and restaurants now call cabs for such patrons.

    So, as a result, over 10,000 people die due to DUI accidents.

    Do we see frantic media coverage of this scourge of society?

    Do we see politicians tripping over themselves to “solve” this “problem” by introducing more legislation to make it more illegal?

    And more to the point, do we see ANY discussion of changing how alcohol is manufactured, packaged, sold, or consumed? Are we going to outlaw hard alcohol, like we might outlaw “high powered” rifles?

    Is anyone clamoring to adopt France’s new requirement that requires a breathalizer in every car? (although I’ve read some municipalities do require it for DUI offenders)

    You can imagine the insurrection that would occur if anyone were to propose that.

    And so thousands more people die every year due to DUIs, but there is no blanket media coverage and little outrage. Apparently someone killed by a drunk driver is not as valuable as someone shot by a murderer? Because it was an “accident”, I suppose?

    Of course the response to this argument is predictable, “But guns are different.”

    I’m resigned to not bother discussing it at all. I’ve instead donated to NRA-ILA and purchased an NRA membership. Me arguing with a person who hates guns isn’t going to get the cause very far, but money and PACs and political influence seem to be doing some good nationwide, despite the tragic violence and destruction caused by lone psychotic murderers.

  19. troy Says:

    i wonder if the survivors and famiies will seek compensation, not only from the theater, also from the city of aurora if concealed carry is banned there. and the state of colorado for allowing this ordinance to stand…as we all know by restricting legal carry of firearms, they were responsible for the safety of those poor people…

  20. SE Says:


  21. Paul Kanesky Says:

    It would be interesting to see the results of a lawsuit being filed against the theatre because their policies resulted in deaths that could have been prevented had a CCW holder been present in the theatre.
    Aside from the shooter being shot, the mere fact of being shot at has resulted in active shooters stopping their spree.
    Paul in Texas

  22. Roger from Wales Says:

    In Israel they had several attacks on schools, many children died. Then they adopted a policy of having grandparents, most exIDF, as helpers. They were trained and carry concealed firearms. Guess what, no more attacks. The bad,sad and clinically and religiously mad will never attack such targets. They want sheep to slaughter. This lunatic knew that these poor people would be unarmed and thus easy targets.

  23. Don Says:

    Mad Duck Training Says:
    The City of Aurora also has a ban on concealed carry

    Incorrect. Cities in CO may not ban concealed carry. At best, they can ban open carry (e.g. Denver).

  24. Roger from Wales Says:

    Hi mas I have noticed that frequently posters mention that guns are banned in the UK. This is not so I have left a brief explanation of them on the last thread. Incidentally one of the most used guns used in crime are actually coverted blank firers. You can pass all the laws you like but any decent engineering machinist can make one. The colt 1911 .45 was manufactured using very early 20th century technology let alone today’s CAD and computer controlled machinery.

  25. Rob Says:

    I have been considering the situation over the weekend and I believe I have a workable if only partial answer.

    Every person/family who supports gun ownership who had a family member injured or murdered that dark night should file a lawsuit against Cinemark.

    Clearly Cinemark was making a statement by posting a sign stating “No Firearms” and my perspective is that they are stating “Don’t worry about it, we’re providing all the protection you need” and since they didn’t, they are negligent and liable.

    Perhaps, when companies who post “No Firearms” signs realize that they are obligating themselves to providing protection, they will either provide that protection or allow “qualified citizens” to provide it for them. … Or they will get sued into bankruptcy by victims families for failure to fulfill their own stated obligation.

  26. Jack Says:

    Let me start off with my prayers go out to the victims and their families.

    I certainly hope they suffer a class action law suite from civil attornies for failing to provide adequate security resulting in the deaths and serious bodily harm to its patrons.

    If they want to ban guns and law abiding citizens ability to defend themself then I think they have the obligation to provide adequate security and a safe environent to its patrons. The guy walked out the fire door no alarm went off, no one noticed him on a security camera because they probably did not have one…. they will pay dearly I am sure but nothing will bring back family members and this is a crying shame.

  27. akvusn eh Says:

    Mr. Ayoob,
    I have the highest respect for you and the work you do. I read everything I can find that you write. So, I would like your tactical assessment of the situation from the perspective of an armed CCW holder on the scene.
    1) My CCW instructor was clear. I should expect to go to jail if I shoot someone legally. So would I have shot at the maniac – especially if ithought I could escape? I’d like to think so, but have no combat experience on which to predict.
    More tactically:
    2) A movie theatre seems to me to be a very soft target. Reflected light from the screen would’ve been low and varying rapidly. I would see my tritium sights, but would I see the bad guy? Apparently he set off some sort of gas canister, further perplexing target I.D. He also picked a noisy violent scene of the movie for his attack.He was also heavily armored.

    I got my CCW after the Lane Bryant killings and I decided I would never go down like a sheep. So I am strongly inclined to the idea of law-abiding citizens fighting back! But I think this situation deserves deeper analysis than simply jumping to the conclusion that they could have stopped it.

  28. Jack Says:

    It is very difficult for everyone to avoid gun-free zones as my local hospital has banned guns, my local mall has banned guns and places I need to go into like schools….

    I called the State of Florida and they said these places could ban you from carrying and there was nothing I could do. As I previously posted I do wish the NRA would get very active and bring to light espically with the kind of tragic shooting in this movie theater that gun-free zones only invite monsters.

  29. akvusn eh Says:

    Continuing b/c of fat fingers: I think we really need to assess security at soft targets like this. How do the Israelis do it? How did the theater allow a back exit to be propped open? This is exactly the type of attack Al Qaida is supposedly going to turn to. This psycho just showed them it can be done. The only thing he left out was the suicide vest.

    So, I’d really like your professional assessment.

  30. Steve Says:

    I don’t know if a person with a concealed weapon would have been effective in this situation. Pistol vs. AR15 is not a good tactical decision.

    I think if I were there I would have taken a defensive position and waited for the attacker to come to me. Then engaged. In the mean time he would have been killing others until he stepped into the ambush.

    To go on the offensive would probably have been a costly mistake given his firepower (until his AR jammed anyway) and body armor.

  31. Steve Says:

    Mas, I’m curious about your opinion on this. Do you think it would be wise for the average CCW holder to engage this lunatic with a revolver or pistol?

  32. Wayne Says:

    If the business prohibits persons with concealed weapons, are they then liable for failing to provide effective security.

  33. Tom Young Says:

    damn, I live in a “gun free zone” state

    sure do miss PA

  34. Scott Says:

    And with a smoke bomb, combined with mass chaos how many more would have been killed? Why don’t you gun nuts think for once.

  35. Harold Says:

    In most places, where a private business post “No Guns” and if you are outed, you just have to leave and you’re not breaking any laws.

    You would run into “Trespass” laws if you then refused to leave and could then be arrested.

  36. Doc Martin Says:

    Like many of you, I have been playing this situation overs and over in my mind. What if I had been in the theater audience? How would I have known what was real? When would have the switched flicked on that this was a real situation?

    In the end, and in hindsight, we should prepare for the next level of debate. One where someone does something so unbelievably stupid that shooting them is justifiable because the boundary between real and fiction is too blurred.

    The debate will rage, but the social responcibilities should be clear: you cannot scare us to death without risking your own death.

    Just a thought right now.

  37. Alaska_Rod Says:

    Prove that Gun Control Works. When most people thinks or talks of Gun-Control, the first think that pops into their mind is “State wide Or nation wide. This is the wrong answer! It can be Small areas too. When people talk about Gun Control, it Also mean Gun Free Zones, because that’s what Gun Control is, trying to make an area, A Gun Free Zone. Note: Gun Free and Gun-Control comes down to the same thing, just different words, Kind of like “Was he Choked to death or was he strangled to death”. Moving on, as far as the Prove that Gun-Control works, it’s right in front of us; Sometimes we just don’t see the elephant in the room, but in this case the room was the movie theater and the elephant was “The UnArmed People. And as the gunman killed them, Gun-Control worked, “No-One had a Gun to fight back with. In All Gun-Control (Or Gun Free Zones) Some guns always slip in…look @ New York, Chicago, and all the deaths from Guns in these “Gun Free Zones”. So when You hear the Sorry politicians start talking about Gun-Control, let them know “The movie theater in the state of CO. HAD Gun-Control. One more thing, when you start hearing the people talk (I call it “Bull-Dropping”) about how the armchair commandos would NOT have been able to stop the Shooter in the movie theater because the bad-guy was wearing Armor; That my friends is Bull-Dropping. You take two or three people that pulls their 9mm, 45. cal and Or 40 cal. glocks and starts Pouring the Lead onto this Bad-Guy, I promise you, he would have stopped shooting and tried to save his own A*S.

    G. Gordon liddy said, If they are wearing a Vest; shoot for the head. Also, a 357 Mag. is Always faster then a 911 call. One more thing that people forgets, there are Lots of Good-Guys (With more Combat-Shooting experience then most people would believe) that ARE Packing-Heat and darn well know how to use it. Wish all a Good Day!

  38. Bill Meinhardt Says:

    Many places of business in KY have sings stating “No Weapons Allowed on Premisis”.

    The business insurers require their insured to place these signs on the doors of their retail businesses.

    CCDW holders are not required by law to abide by these signs but if the owner or employee of the business sees that someone is carrying a firearm, they can ask them to leave and if the armed person refuses, they can call the police who will enforce treaspassing laws upon refusal to the responding officer.

    The thinking of the insurance company lawyers is that some nut job may enter with a firearm and shoot someone.

    I would acknowledge that this is always a possibility. Just look what happened in the Movie theater in CO.

    My question to an insurance company lawyer would be this. Is it safe to have an untrained, unarmed employee such as a convience store clerk , confront the “nut job” they seem to fear and tell him , “I see you are armed, you have to leave the property”, or would it be safer just to let him buy his beer and leave.

    It seems to me that the lawyers haven’t really thought this out from the workman’s compensation side.

  39. LarryArnold Says:

    Federation Council Vice-Speaker Alexander Torshin intends to propose a bill that would allow Russians to possess handguns and use them for self-defense without fear of being exposed to criminal liability. Presumably, the bill will be proposed in the State Duma early next year.

    The report comes to the conclusion that the Russian public will accept handgun availability. Firearms possession can enhance personal protection, would boost Russia’s military equipment industry and even strengthen national security.

    Imagine Russia with Stand-Your-Ground!

  40. TXCOMT Says:

    Thanks for posting, Mas, but of more interest to me is this: how many lawful CCW holders who’ve stopped active shooters have been prosecuted for violating a gun-free zone? I’m betting zero.

    I can think of several instances where armed citizens have prevented killings (the Tacoma mall shooting and the Louisiana case of the officer beating during a funeral escort come instantly to mind), but I’ve never seen you or anyone else write about such rescuers being charged for carrying where they shouldn’t do so.

    The only reason I bring this up is because such a fear shouldn’t be the sole factor in determining whether we chose to armed in a gun-free zone. While I respect some of these places, I and others I know who legally carry concealed make exceptions now and then. The adage about being carried by six or judged by 12…

  41. Jesse Says:

    I saw John Lott on Piers Morgan last night. I don’t usually watch CNN, but wanted to see Lott present his research on a left-leaning network. He never got the chance.

    Alan Dershowitz accused Lott of publishing “junk science” and that his (Lott’s)research would be thrown out of any court in the USA. He even went so far as to say that Lott could face a contempt charge if he were to present such evidence, (amazing).

    I felt bad for John Lott, who has a sterling reputation.

  42. greg p Says:

    It will be interesting to see if the victims, either individually or in a class action, sue the theater and property owners for simultaneously (1) denying the victims the right to defend themselves and (2) failing to provide adequate protetion to all patrons in lieu of the right to defend themselves. It seems logical to me that when an entity takes away its patrons’/guests’ right of self defense that the entity has then created for itself an extraordinary obligation to provide for the defense of those very same patrons/guests. It’s not like this type of incident can be categorized at “unforeseen”, after all.

  43. Jesse Says:

    John Lott discusses the Piers Morgan interview on his webblog:

    Lott is a class act in my book. He deserved a chance to present his research.

    A link to the entire interview is here:

  44. Heartland Patriot Says:

    I was trying to say this on a forum I belong to but everyone kept focusing on the LAWS in Colorado, that they don’t make it illegal to go to the theater while carrying concealed…but Mas summed up pretty well what I was trying to get at…thank you, sir.

  45. Pat Says:

    I find it interesting that the shooter chose a GunFreeZone policy theater rather than doing the common for his age mass school shooting.

    Then I remembered … Colorado approved Campus Carry last March so he would have had armed opposition on campus.

  46. Ron Says:

    My sources residing there tell me the entire city of Aurora is “gun free”.

  47. Tom606 Says:

    Unfortunately, the cards are stacked against us firearm owners and supporters pf the Second Admendment. Last night (07-23-12) on the O’Reilly Factor on Fox, Bill O’Reilly started his program by stating that Americans have the right to own guns, then a few sentences later, said the sale of “Heavy Weapons” such as AR-15s and ammunition, should be reported to the FBI. O’Reilly is obviously clueless about gun laws as he claims that select fire weapons, mortars, grenades, etc. can be purchased without any paperwork through the internet or at gun shows because of loopholes. Either Bill O’Reilly is an idiot or he’s a secret mole for the Brady Bunch, and he’s nowhere near as liberal as Bill Maher or Bill Moyers who makes him look ultraconservative. With talking heads like that on a balanced network like Fox News, even moderates will be swayed to the left listening to O’Reilly’s blatantly false statements.

    I just took a five minute break to listen to Bill O’Reilly argue with U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz who tried unsuccessfully to set him right about gun laws, the host interrupting him and talking over the Representative who was too polite to call O’Reilly a lair or fool.

    The police chief of Aurora doesn’t seem too bright either, as he stated a couple of days after the movie theater massacre, that he had no idea if the murderer’s AR-15 was semi-auto only or selective fire. A quick glance at the rifle’s safety or selector switch will tell you instantly whether the gun can fire fully automatic or not. This is the chief of police, whose intelligence should be on a much higher level than that of the average lowly officer. Maybe more donuts would increase his gray matter.

    We need to watch out for ourselves and our families and close friends as the government isn’t looking out for us and many in the media are outright hostile towards patriotic, gun owning Americans who support the U.S. Constitution. We need to obey the laws which makes sense and ignore those that make us victims. Decide for yourselves what is more important – while you still have a choice. Support the NRA, GOA, and other organizations fighting for our rights and let’s kick our Dear Leader out of the White House in November and evict him come January 2013.

  48. mark Says:

    A building that allows guns to be carried can possibly limit the damage an attacker could do, but nothing short of strict prevention can stop a crazed and determined attacker. A good example of this was the criminal who walked into a Detroit police department with a shotgun and proceeded to kill two police officers and wound two others before being killed himself. His attack was stopped and made more limited, but not prevented. If that police station was better suited to preventing his entry with a shotgun there would have been no police deaths. The criminal could have possibly been detained or killed at the laws discretion. Prevention is better than cure and being armed is only a part of that equation. We need to get off the gun free zone argument as the solution, and see it as an equation in the broader picture of the solution. This killer in Colorado came in through the fire exit. Why should this have been? Nothing was in place to prevent him from this possibility. Good violence prevention and preparation always beats carrying a gun alone. Let us talk about the full picture here, not just being able to carry guns on our person. By the way, what is the purpose of a 100 round drum in the light of gun ownership? Automatic weapons have already been banned unless one has money, and nobody is complaining about that anymore. What is the limit on my second amendment rights? Why can I not own an AA-12 shotgun if I want? Nobody seems to make this argument. We have lived with the results of the 1934 fire arms act for nearly 78 years now, why can we not live with a 100 round drum being taken away? What is wrong with stricter elements of gun control that still honors our second amendment rights as a broader picture of prevention? I am not saying gun control in and of itself works! Only as an element of a much larger approach. As far as Alan Dershowitz is concerned, he must trust government and authorities to protect our rights. This approach has been sadly disproven by history.

  49. Chris - VA Says:

    Bloomberg wants all of the U.S. to be a gun free zone…
    I guess NYC has no crime then???
    Glad I left NY for VA.

  50. James Says:

    “If there is to be a ‘gun free zone’ permitted anywhere, absolutely no one should be permitted on the premises with a firearm. NO ONE!”

    The Arizona legislature just recently tried to pass this into law by saying that for public buildings only (not privately owned businesses or property), banning of firearms (specifically banning of those who were carrying concealed with a valid CCW recognized by the state of Arizona) was not allowed UNLESS all entrances and exits were secured, and public entrances were equipped to check all those entering, with either private security + metal detectors or armed police, and had facilities on site for the secure storage of citizens’ firearms until they were ready to leave the premesis. Essentially, all public buildings could not ban the carry of firearms unless they were equipped like court houses (and I think the state legislature… but I’m not sure) already are.

    The governor vetoed the bill.

    I think we in AZ are ready to veto her. She sold us a bill of goods on firearms… playing Mrs. I’m pro 2nd Amendment all the way her first term and “I’m Mrs. Lets Protect the Border!” (granted she’s still doing this and good on her for it) and now that she’s re-elected she’s playing the fence sitter.

    We had a decent bill to remove the unconstitutional restriction of firearms on public university campuses by valid CCW holders. The governor also vetoed that.

  51. Rich Says:

    Gun Free Zones are among the most dangerous places you can be. Gun Free Zones are a killers dream. All defenseless victims all in a row.

  52. Rich Says:

    O’Reilly from Fox News owes all of “Ameican Gun Owners”, scratch that, “all Americans” an apology.

  53. Bruce Says:

    Two Aurora Shootings: One Widely Known; the Other Ignored

    On April 22 of this year a convicted felon, just out of jail, went to an Aurora, Colorado, church and shot and killed a member of the congregation before being killed himself by a congregant carrying a gun.

  54. Tim from CO Says:

    Thanks for the link Bruce. I did not hear about that other Aurora shooting. I saw some mention of the other shooting here but incorrectly thought it was about the church shooting in CO a few years ago.

  55. Randall Says:

    I don’t know about the laws in other states but here in Florida, I am prohibited from carrying onto private property or any business where they have posted no firearms. I support their right to prohibit me, its their property. However as Mas says, don’t discuss how permit holders didn’t come forward when they are not permitted.

    Sadly, I think our country will become like what I’ve observed in South American cities…a security guard at every business.

  56. Greg Says:

    Several of you have wondered about the tactics if a CCW had been in the audience. Mentioned are the gas cloud, pistol (revolver) vs AR15, etc. This is why one practices with the weapon they carry. Training overcomes many things. First, learn to shoot without your sights. It’s very possible to hit the target where you want to, in low light. My .40 cal glock against his AR15, I’d say I’d have a better chance at winning then he would. Shooting with a gas mask on is very difficult. I highly doubt that he “aimed” the AR15 and, more likely, was just spraying the crowd. Learn to aim “high”. It was reported he wore a “bullet proof vest”. Gas masks are not bullet proof. He wasn’t expecting any return fire, so squat down, make yourself smaller and take an extra second to squeeze off the round. If you learn to shoot and shoot straight, one shot is all you’ll need, but when deadly force is needed, it’s ok to use 2 or more shots. Practice and train. Semper Fi.

  57. Matt Says:

    Boycott businesses that ban CCW. The current – and foreseeable – economy makes losing even one customer unaffordable for any business.

  58. James Says:

    Greg, that’s the best advice I’ve heard and right along with what Mas would probably recommend: train. fight. keep fighting.

    I don’t have faith in organized boycotts. I advocate simply a general policy of not going where my kind (those of us who carry firearms) aren’t wanted. These “boycott any who do X” is just silly. It’s likely to generate a backlash or not get much participation and the operator won’t feel much of a pinch.

    Just encourage people to go where they aren’t forbidden and avoid the places where they are. THEN the anti-gun businesses will feel the pinch and those who aren’t committed anti-gunners will take down the sign.

    We’ve seen this happen in AZ, where business after business who had a knee-jerk reaction to constitutional carry are taking the signs down quietly w.o fanfare as they realize that by doing so they’re discrimminating against some of their best customers when they don’t really have any beef for or against firearms ownership or carry. And b/c they don’t want to play the political game, they just took the sign down.

    The ones still posting the sign either have an economic incentive to forbid firearms (like bars… who WANT you to drink, so they don’t want to allow you to be equipped such that you are legally forbidden to drink… and thus you’re just taking up space in their establishment…. makes sense to me actually) or a political incentive (like the good bigots who run Chipotle restaurants).

  59. minerran Says:

    Matt Says: “Boycott businesses that ban CCW.”


    Matt, did you know that many gun shops ban CCW also? I recently asked why, after seeing all the sales associates openly packing big 45’s and was told that they were concerned about robberies.

    So should we boycott our favorite gun shop?

  60. Tim from CO Says:

    @minerran- Talk to the shop owner. My favorite gunstore allows CCW but other firearms have to be unloaded (IE: bringing a gun in for consignment). Honestly, if my favorite gun store told me no CCW, I’d first talk to the manager, and if it was still no, then they’re not getting my business unfortunately.

    When I leave a gunstore with a new gun in the box, I sure like having a loaded one on my hip. Might just be me, but an unarmed customer with a gunbox or two seems like a tempting target.

  61. Greg Tag Says:


    Oddly enough I am writing a series of academic papers on this subject for a Terrorism class. In my research I have found some core principals; these pricipals hold whether the shooting is merely a criminal act or an act of terrorism. These princials are not rocket science and most of the folks here have likely figured out as well:

    Several folks have commented on how difficult it would be to fight back under similar circumstances- let me say unequivocally that fighting back, even under difficult conditions will screw up the bad guys timing and mission effectiveness.

    The bad guy DOES NOT expect return fire. Even 3 or 4 rounds from a Smith J frame, is a distraction and an immediate threat. The active shooter ceases to be in total control of the situation and must begin to think about self-preservaton, and dealing with the unexpected threat. He cannot blithely murder people until he deals with this unforseen complication. Some active shooters, when rounds start to come there way, simply commit suicide .

    Do you think that if Dr. Suzanna Hupp had had her J- frame Smith & Wesson in the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas that Kinnard would have been able to just casually wander around shooting cowering people in the head? She is a skilled shooter, she might have killed him outright, or she might just have hit him – even if only wounded he would have been a less effective predator. Rounds coming BACK at him would have materially changed the outcome. If the brave Holocaust survivor professor at Va Tech had had a gun – would that have impeded Choi? The terrorists who carried out the Mumbai massacre – they are on video just casually walking around the train station, finishing off people as they are encounteed – the received NO return fire ( I realize it was in India and the response of the Indian police on scene was cowardly , but the principal holds ).

    Return fire, even from a .22 derringer, is better than nothing, and it may even win the day.

    In a case like this, the armed citizen , YOU … are the First Responder. Just like in dealing with a heart attack, just because you are not an expert at CPR or using an emergency defibrillator, even an imperfect or only partly skilled response is better than none.

    Are there fratricide risks? Can innocent persons be hit in an exchange of gunfire ? Yes – but they are potential murder victims, and YOU fighting back gives them a chance of survival that the bad guy wont give them.

    Since you might be the First Responder in a similar situation , might I suggest that you get some additional training, and carry a real gun and some spare ammo? Maybe practice hitting a moving target under poor lighting while smoke is in your eyes?

    You are a private citizen, not a cop. When there is an active shooter at your church, or at the theatre, there probably wont be a cop there, either – it will be up to you.

    A real gentleman rides to the sound of the guns.

    As for the “gun-free zone” ? I dont do business with people who are frightened of me and my sidearm.



  62. Tom606 Says:

    In any mass shooting situation, tactics is what gets the job done. Skill with firearms is important too, but knowing when and where to shoot from is just as, if not more vital if you want to neutralize the threat and stay alive.

    Take the Aurora theater massacre. The killer is armed with a semi-automatic rifle with high capacity magazine and other guns, wearing body armor and a gas mask, and using smoke to cover his actions and cause more confusion. Depending on your location at the time it would be unwise to draw your weapon and start blasting at him immediately. There are people running around and one of them may think you are a threat and attempt to tackle you or shoot you. Stay low and move closer to the target before engaging. Use concealment and cover if available until you can get a clear shot, because as you move closer to the shooter, there will be fewer innocents who may impede you. Then aim and fire several rounds high in the target’s chest area and move immediately. If the killer doesn’t go down, you can assume he’s wearing armor and/or high on drugs. Aim for the head or groin area then and don’t spare the ammo, if you have a pistol with a decent capacity and reloads available (always carry at least two reloads, magazines or speedloaders). Move again as rounds may be coming your way as the shooter reacts. If that fails, aim for his hands and feet, and possibly disable his weapon that way.

    As another respondent wrote, these killers are often cowards and any hits on their body may cause them to stop shooting and save themselves or if wounded, they may commit suicide rather than be captured. Some nuts want attention after their crimes and others want to go out in a blaze of violence. It should be every good gun carrying citizens’ goal to see that these monsters are terminated at the scenes of their crimes if possible before they can surrender.

  63. Deltaboy Says:

    Prayers for all those killed and hurt. I am glad that in TX we don’t have to deal with this it is the business that has to jump through the hoops to install a correct 30-06 sign at their store. 90% has some sort of sign but our AG said if it is not exactly as the statute states it is not valid.

  64. Greg Tag Says:

    deltaboy :

    Your stated experience is that you have seen 90% of businesses have some sort of “no guns ” sign. I am curious as to where in Texas you hang out ?

    I live in DFW and go to grad school in Bryan/College Station, and do business in Houston/Harris County and Montgomery County…

    I have found that legal and statutorily compliant PC 30.06 signs ( No Trespassing by CHL gun carrier) are almost non-existent in any of these places. In fact, I cannot remember even one in recent years- a few businesses posted in the early days of CHL, but those signs have mostly disappeared. First National Bank in Bryan was one of those.

    Some businesses continue to have a ” No Guns” sign, or the “pistol in a circle with the slash across” sign, but these are of no legal effect, as they do not comply with the very strict requirements of exact wording and format required by PC 30.06. I suspect that many businesses with those kind of signs KNOW that such signs are legally void, but keep them there so that any frightened nanny types will be comforted, knowing full well that they can be absolutely ignored by a CHL holder. In my experience the number with that type of signage is around 10%.

    On the other hand, First State Bank of Chapell Hill has a sign on its door that says they ” support the Second Amendment and CHL holders are welcome”

    As a question for the team – if a business posts with ineffective or legally null signage, do you still do business with them?

    Me personally – I still do business with them – my reason being that the statute in VERY clear and explicit, the correct signage is easy to make, etc. If they are not using the correct PC 30.06 signage, they are either ignorant idiots who dont have a competent company lawyer or risk manager, OR they are placating the “nanny” types. Since most business people are not idiots, the invalid signage can be marked off to ” nanny placating”, and Ill give someone that with no ill will.

    Any thoughts?



  65. Andrew Says:

    I’ve been carrying in gun free zones for more than a year now because of events like the Colorado shooting. Fortunately, in Kansas the first offense is no more than a fifty dollar fine, the second is one hundred, and the third is a class E misdemenor. Kansas has pretty good gun laws. In fact the conservatives in our state have been trying to pass a law that requires businesses with no gun signs to provide security. So far it’s been shot down, but it would be a good law. If they won’t let me carry then they are taking my safety into their gun hating hands.

  66. Philip Says:

    I do not carry where the state law prohibits but as far as “gun free zones” are concerned if I HAVE to go in I do so concealed and if they discover that I’m armed they can ask me to leave. I’m too old to run or fist fight bit I still can shoot.

  67. Naja Says:

    “When you make potential rescuers unwelcome, do not blame those potential rescuers for not being there when the disaster happens and the death toll mounts because what could have stopped the killing has been banned from your establishment.”

    The key words are “potential” and “could have”.

    “Would have” is a different matter.

    There is another dynamic developing among armed citizens.

    Just as policemen are not obligated to protect any given individual, armed citizens are not obligated to stop a madman shooting up a theater or a perceived thug from threatening their neighborhood.

    As long as he keeps his deadly weapon pointed in another direction, the legal fallout from daring to shoot him is too great – especially, if you can get away.

    Only if he is shooting in my general direction would I feel it permissible to return fire.

  68. Ron Says:

    By posting signs saying no guns in a business makes a statment for the business. But also by saying that they assume the responsibility for those people going into the movie. It then puts the burden on the theater to protect the people in the theater. Since they don’t want the people protecting them selfs. All in all if someone get hurt or killed in the theater everyone in the theater can sue the movie theater for not protecting them. Final word Post a Sign put armed security in the business.

  69. Dave--VA Says:

    Here’s the latest article by John Lott on this subject:
    Did Colorado shooter single out Cinemark theater because it banned guns?

  70. Justin Says:

    A very good friend died in that colorado theater, attempting to shield his loved ones from gun-fire. Now, if the state of Colorado recognized his out of state concealed carry permit, my law abiding friend would’ve been packing his 10mm Smith and could have very well defended himself and the lives of his friends…it sickens me to know that the law failed him that night and he was murdered as a result. Guns don’t kill folks. Gun control laws do. They disarm the folks who abide by the law, not demented or malacious criminals. Criminals will always find ways to obtain firearms. we live in a time where there are people in our communities without moral scruples. These people have the intent to rob, rape and steal and it is the individual’s duty to protect himself/herself. I’ts not the police’s job. I’ts not the government’s job. It’s not the law’s job. It’s our job and our responsibility.

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