The Trouble with Gun Free Zones

In many ways, a gun-free zone sounds like a dream come true. Businesses would be less prone to violent crimes because firearms would be nonexistent, and “suicides, unintentional firearm injuries and deaths, and mass shootings” would be minimized if not eliminated altogether. That’s the theory anyway. But what sounds good in theory doesn’t necessarily translate to reality. Such is the case with gun-free zones (GFZs). Our lawmakers’ hearts are in the right place, but when we consider the mindset of a criminal, it’s easy to see why theory and reality don’t always align.

A Practical Definition of a Gun-Free Zone

Most citizens recognize that weapons are not permitted in certain places. The Federal Gun Free School Zones Act, originally enacted in 1990 and revised and reenacted in 1996, means even if you have a CCW permit, you may not be able to carry your weapon “within 1000 feet of any K-12 school,” depending on the rules in your state. Other federal laws make carrying your weapon illegal, especially on federal property, including federal buildings, courthouses, prisons, post offices, military bases, and national cemeteries and their parking lots. Other locations like airports, bars, and hospitals are also on the list in most states. And depending on where you live, other buildings are designated as GFZs, like the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, CA, a county building, where the 2015 terrorist shooting occurred.

The Trouble with Statistics

Try to find irrefutable evidence connecting mass shootings and gun-free zones, and you’ll come up empty-handed. Arguments are made on both sides of the aisle regarding a correlation, but the truth is, the data is fuzzy. Part of the problem stems from the way things like “gun-free zone” and “mass shooting” are defined. There isn’t a set definition, so it’s difficult to discern if GFZs are targeted by criminals.

A Law Is Not a Guarantee

The law assumes that everyone will follow the rules, but when or where has that ever happened? In this case, thinking like a criminal makes sense. Most people follow the law because it’s the right thing to do, but someone looking to commit a crime doesn’t think that way. A criminal hopes to break the law without getting caught or without being harmed. A gun-free zone may, in fact, become a target due to the lack of potentially armed citizens who could respond and intervene.

Imposed Vulnerability Without Advanced Protective Measures

If you work in a gun-free zone, you have to depend upon others to protect you. But what if additional protection is nowhere to be found? “Louis Klarevas, a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, defines ‘gun-free zones’ as places where civilians are not allowed to carry guns, and [where] there aren’t armed personnel stationed on the property.” By being forced to give up the right to arm yourself, you’re literally giving up your self-protection rights!

The Inevitable Delayed Response

In most locations, when a crime takes places, there is a lag between the crime itself and law enforcement’s response. Our officers do their best to get on scene as fast as possible, but if you’re allowed to carry your weapon and are in a situation to use it to minimize a threat or defend yourself and others, you may be the first line of defense. You have the ability to change the outcome of the event, especially when wearing Cacharme’s Concealed Carry Blazer, which keeps your weapon handy and undetectable. In gun-free zones, this isn’t the case. You have to wait for someone else to intervene (or get creative by using whatever objects you have at your disposal). If we’re not carrying, who’s protecting us?

The Element of Surprise Is a Deterrent

Conflicting data aside, the element of surprise should still be a factor in this argument. Certainly, there are gun related crimes where specific targets were sought that have nothing to do with mass shootings. However, the fact remains that knowing there may be someone armed in the vicinity that could stop an attack has some merit. In some GFZs, CCWs are still not permitted, but as the laws continue to evolve (as the demand for CCW permits increases), criminals will be less able to pick targets where they won’t be confronted by someone carrying a firearm.

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While we’d all like to believe that a law of any kind will make us safer, rule breakers don’t care one way or another. What’s going to happen will happen and being able to assume the worst and prepare for it makes good sound sense. We don’t know for sure if criminals specifically seek out GFZs to commit crimes, but the justification for carrying securely and discreetly on body remains the same: it gives you an opportunity to protect yourself and others should an incident arise when you’re in harm’s way. The GFZ element may not be a factor, but it certainly takes away a level of protection that you could have otherwise had if allowed to arm yourself legally.

10 Concealed Carry Mistakes You Can Avoid

Carrying a concealed weapon affords you an extra degree of safety, but we all make mistakes. Whether you’ve just started carrying or have been doing so for years, it never hurts to revisit the top 10 mistakes you can avoid just by refreshing your memory. Some of these common slips can compromise your ability to remain anonymous, but others could result in costly consequences. Read on and see what you need to be more diligent about.

  1. Education Problem #1: Inadequate Training – Depending on where you live, the requirements regarding gun safety will vary. If you’ve taken a course designed to teach you about hunting safely, those skills won’t necessarily translate to carrying a weapon on your person. To be sure you’re really prepared for real-life scenarios, research different courses and really focus on those with informed instructors and core subject matter. Completing a course quickly isn’t the goal, so beware of courses that promise quick training without in-depth content.
  2. Education Problem #2: Ignorance of the Law – After receiving your CCW permit, you’re expected to carry responsibly and know the laws that govern your area. This means understanding when and where you carry and whether or not you’re in a “Stand Your Ground” state. Setting time aside to understand the firearm laws where you live or travel is time well spent.
  3. Education Problem #2: Not Testing Your Ammo – When a self-defense situation arises, are you certain your gun will protect you and your loved ones? There are several types of self-defense ammo, and learning which one your gun feeds most effectively is key. You also need to practice shooting with that same ammunition. The old phrase “practice makes perfect” really applies here. Don’t wait until you need to fire your weapon to find out if your ammo is a good fit.
  4. Clothing Problem #1: Dressing Discretion – Carrying your weapon on a daily basis means adjusting your wardrobe to accommodate your gun comfortably. You don’t have to dress like a tourist in a beach city, but you do need to keep your weapon in mind when buying clothes. Dark colors like navy blue and black are naturally slimming, and they also hide the outline of your firearm much better than light colors like white and tan. And if your daily apparel includes a sport jacket, consider one designed to your exact specifications, including a holster insert for your specific weapon.
  5. Clothing Problem #2: Printing – This one seems like a no-brainer. Who would go to the trouble of getting a CCW permit only to give themselves away by letting their weapon show? When you first begin carrying, you may be ultra-concerned about people noticing your weapon, but if you’ve been carrying for years, you might not be as diligent as you should be. Seeing the obvious outline of a gun through your clothes is bad enough, but what if you simply reach for something on the top shelf at the grocery store and inadvertently expose your weapon? Chances are you’ll be doing some serious explaining to the police if someone witnesses that error and panics. It only takes a few seconds before leaving the house to double-check that your weapon is fully concealed.
  6. Holster Problem #1: Comfort – There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing a holster, but the best advice is to try before you buy. Holsters are available in all types of material and equally different price ranges. The best holster for the money is the one that holds your weapon properly and feels comfortable on. You may even want to invest in a few different ones depending on the apparel you’ll wear over it. After all, an uncomfortable holster is simply a waste of money.
  7. Holster Problem #2: Checking/Fingering Your Weapon – Speaking of comfort, the trouble with an ill-fitting holster is that you may find yourself checking it repeatedly throughout the day to make sure your weapon is still in place. While that sounds like a good idea, if you’re constantly tapping your fingers against your gun, you’ll be tipping off others to the fact that you have one. It may take time to get accustomed to not checking its position but learning to keep your hands off it is essential.
  8. Holster Problem #3: Slipping – Even on a good day, things go wrong. You may have the perfect holster and still occasionally experience a situation where it slips out of place, and you need to readjust it. Before you do, hold everything. You cannot do this in a public place without drawing attention to yourself in an obvious way. If you need to adjust your holster, simply head out to your car or into a locked bathroom stall. Discretion is key and with security cameras everywhere, you must be extra careful.
  9. Consistency Problem: Carrying Sporadically – Think of all the things you do on a daily basis. Most of them become second nature over time, which is how you should view carrying your weapon. The more frequently and habitually you carry, the more ingrained these tips will become … and you’ll be less likely to make a mistake. Also, there really are no truly safe places anymore (as if there ever were). You may be called upon to protect yourself anywhere at any time … and your weapon is your protection.
  10. The Ultimate Problem: Thinking Irrationally – Every responsible gun owner hopes they never have to defend themselves. A CCW is a form of insurance, but how you think about carrying also impacts your behavior. Being prepared for the worst makes sense, so doing everything in your power to avoid an altercation should also be a priority. Your weapon does not make you invincible, so keep your eye on the big picture: out of sight and out of mind until you’re left with no other choice.

We hope you found these tips insightful. Please share our article with those you love who are either new to concealed carry or could use a quick refresher. Thanks for reading!