Gun Free Zones are Danger Zones
But, but...don't gun free zones keep us safe from the ugly scourge of mass shootings*?
The answer is unequivocally no.
Essentially ALL mass shootings happen in gun free zones**.
According to Crime Prevention Research Center, 94% of all mass shootings occur where citizens are not allowed to carry firearms:
Places that are posted as not allowing permitted concealed handgun, like:
Waffle House shooting 2018 Cascade Mall 2016 Louisiana Movie Theater Shooting 2015 Aurora Movie Theater shooting 2012
Places where permit holders were banned by law, like:
Chattanooga Marine Recruiting Office July 2015 Fort Hood Shootings 2009 and 2014 Pulse Nightclub June 2016 Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California November 2018
Schools where permitted concealed handguns are banned (e.g., Parkland 2018, Sante Fe 2018)
There is an increasing average of the amount of our neighbors who are being killed every year in mass shootings. In 2019 there were 22 people killed in mass shootings. But, there were 57 people killed in 2018, 94 in 2017, and 65 in 2016.
However, the number of attacks are not increasing every year. The average number of attacks every year since 1998 have averaged at about 3. The highest was 7 attacks in 2012. Despite what some people might feel or what the media reports, the number of attacks are not increasing.
You can get all of these mass shooting numbers on a spreadsheet here from the research center.
With the growing number of people killed and injured in these gun free zones, you need to treat the reality as a real threat.
Stay Safer in Public
The overwhelming statistics regarding mass shootings in gun free zones can only lead a sensible person to believe that the bad people who do these crimes are actually looking for areas in which they can find the most amount of victims with the least amount of resistance.
There are three broad elements that are needed for a crime to be committed:
1. A victim
2. An attacker
3. An opportunity
Affecting any one of these elements of the crime triangle will have a dramatic affect on your personal safety and self-defense. Realistically, we can only hope to have an influence on two of the three — the victim and the opportunity. We can't control the attacker.
Predators are looking for opportunities and vulnerabilities
When we mindfully and habitually detect and deter evil people the opportunity to hurt us we are having a positive effect for our safety.
When we are committed to not be a victim, but instead be a credible deterrent and threat to the criminal, we are having a positive effect for our safety.
One very real strategy in denying a potential mass shooter the opportunity is to stay away from businesses and places which advertise themselves as gun free zones.
Another strategy that I've heard people adopt is to carry their legally licensed concealed firearm anyway in so-called gun free zones. This is an individual decision because of potential legal ramifications which could affect your ability to keep your CCW if you are caught. This removes you from the victim part of the triangle.
In general, you should be always be working to improve your self-defense capabilities:
Get your mind around the realization there might not be anyone coming to save you. You are responsible for your safety.
The best weapon is your brain.
Test your skills in environments which replicate the real world.
Train physically for speed, strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Always be improving your equipment and tools.
Always be improving your skills.
*Mass shootings are defined by the FBI as an incident where 4 or more people are slain in one event, in one area that is "public". It excludes shootings during gang and drug violence or at residences where the public is not placed at risk.
**Gun Free Zones are defined as places where it is illegal to carry a concealed firearm.