Gun-Free Zones

This blog contains excerpts from the book “Fighting Back” from Eric Pratt, Senior Vice President of Gun Owners of America.

Gun-free zones are a mass killer’s paradise. Since 1950, over 90% of the public mass shootings in the U.S. occurred in gun-free zones.

Dr. Lee Silverman would be dead today if he did not break his own employer’s rule about not having a gun inside the hospital.

There is a sign along the perimeter fence of a hospital not far from me, in Darby, PA (a Philadelphia suburb), telling everyone who enters the property they cannot carry guns inside. But in 2014, a patient with psychiatric problems ignored the sign and walked into the hospital intent on killing as many people as he could.

But what he did not count on was that his number one intended victim, his doctor, ignored the hospital’s “no guns” policy and was carrying a gun of his own. Dr. Lee Silverman is a lawful permit holder. Once the gun man attempted to shoot his doctor, Dr. Silverman crouched behind his desk and shot back, hitting the gunman three times in the mid-section. The local police chief Donald Molineaux said “without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives.” And the Delaware County DA, Jack Whelan said if the doctor had not brought his handgun to work, he’d be dead and believes other people would be dead also. He didn’t press charges against the doctor.

Or how about a more recent incident involving “no guns allowed” signs, the shooting at the Greenwood Park Mall in Indiana. There were signs at every entrance, but as criminals do, the bad guy ignored them. He was stopped by a law-abiding concealed carry permit holder who ignored the entrance signs. Before a good guy with a gun stopped him, he had already killed three and injured two. The good guy who stopped the carnage was initially handcuffed, but was later released when CCTV footage revealed that he stopped the gun man’s attacks.

The food court at the Greenwood Park Mall, where the shooting took place. The bad guy first went into a nearby restroom. Upon exiting the restroom, he began shooting patrons in this food court.

Ironically, in both cases, the bad guys were stopped because good guys ignored these signs and carried into buildings whose building managers decided not to allow guns for their irrational fear of people getting shot. Yet people were shot anyway, because what those business managers don’t realize is that by putting up those signs, they are making their establishments “soft targets”.

There are two takeaways from both these incidences. First, bad guys intent on doing harm ignore those signs, and second, good guys with guns can save a lot of lives before the police arrive on the scene, because across the nation, the average response time of the police is 11 minutes.

The good guy with a gun, left, 22-year old Elisjsha Dicken, killed mass shooter, Jonathan Sapirman inside the Greenwood Park Mall in Indiana, within 2 minutes of Sapirman opening fire, quicker than the police response time.

The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) has studied every public mass shooting since 1950. Their research indicated that 94% of all public mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. Go back to the previous blog and take another look at the locales of the more recent mass shootings to justify this statistic. And more importantly, ALL of these attackers passed their background checks. Proof again that background checks are worthless in identifying future actions.

Arguing with an anti-gun liberal, you need these two pieces of information in order to argue effectively.

These killers are not stupid in their location selection. They deliberately seek out gun-free zones. Here are a few examples, and their rationale for doing so:

Take the case of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting in 2012. The shooter’s original plan was to shoot up an airport, but seeing all the cops there, he decided on theaters. But he did not pick the one closest to his home, which ironically was the largest one. He deliberately picked one in Aurora, the ONLY theater within a 20-mile radius which had “no guns allowed” signs prominently displayed, the theater basically saying to concealed carriers “you can’t carry in here”. A perfect “soft target”.

Crime scene ballistic trajectory markers in the movie theater showing that James Holmes stood in front of the seats when he killed 12 innocent movie-goers. How many of those victims thought they would be safe because of the “no guns allows” signs?

In Orlando in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 13, 2016, a mass murderer went into the Pulse nightclub and killed 49 people and wounded 53 more. Prosecutors said his original plan was to open fire at the high traffic Disney shopping complex but decided to move to a softer target (Pulse) after seeing armed security at the Disney complex. As a sidebar, a good friend of mine owned a gun store in central Florida in 2016. This mass shooter patronized my friend’s store and my friend turned him away, stating “something just doesn’t feel right.”

In El Paso on 2019, a racist gunman killed 23 people at a Walmart. His manifesto said he would be going after “soft targets” or people who are disarmed. Now where was he going to find soft targets in pro-gun Texas? He lived in Dallas and committed his shooting spree in El Paso, 600 miles away from his home in Dallas. Why? Because he knew that every weekend, Mexican nationals would cross the border in droves to go shopping in El Paso. And these border crossers would be prohibited from carrying firearms across the border.

…and there are many more examples out there if you take the time to research them.

The FBI prepares “active shooter” reports. These reports definitively show that when a gun owner is present, mass shootings are either prevented or mitigated 94% of the time. But the lame stream media is almost entirely silent when it comes time to report good guys with guns. Rather, the media continues to report that mass shootings occur nearly every day. Which is a total lie. They cherry pick their stories relating to fatalities. In fact, more people are killed every year by automobiles than by guns. But if the media were to do a feature story on deaths by automobile, people would be calling on Congress to ban cars. Their job is to push public opinion to support additional gun control. So when researching video links some of the mass shooters I identify in this blog, it was very difficult to find a link from an unbiased, leftist news source.

The one question that anti-gunners ignore at all costs is “what if gun-free zones actually cost lives?” Or stated differently, “what if gun control policies cost lives?”

In 2014, a gunman opened fire in Fort Hood, Texas, killing 3 and wounding 14. This was the second mass killing at this Army base in five years. There is a federal law prohibiting servicemen from carrying guns unless they are Military Police or Security Forces. Again, another soft target because the prohibition on carrying guns and the fact that the base is large and the MPs cannot respond quickly enough.

I love driving past schools which post signs similar to this. Imagine if this sign had been posted at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Parkland High School in Florida, or Uvalde Elementary School in Texas.

But it is not just openly displaying a sign on the premises. It is also internal company policies, found only in employment manuals. An example of such a policy involved a woman named Kate Nixon of Virginia Beach. In 2019 she noticed a coworker acting strangely and violently, and told her husband about it. He suggested she bring a gun to work inside her purse, but she refused his suggestion as she was afraid she will lose her job if discovered. Sadly, that decision was a fatal one as she was one of 12 victims at the hands of that same coworker. She had a choice to make. Carry a gun and lose her job if discovered or not carry a gun and face this killer. No one should have to make that decision at the workplace. But a question for everyone facing the same dilemma. Is your job worth it, if the employer does not care about human life? Because many of these businesses who have “no-gun” policies also have no armed security onsite to protect workers. Click here to learn more of this tragedy.

Another place mass shooters love is schools, which are federally mandated to be gun-free zones. Yet, the law allows for exceptions, as adults with concealed carry permits are allowed to carry inside schools. As of 2018, there are 18 states which permit teachers to carry guns.

According to the CPRC, there has NEVER been a mass shooting attempted at any school where teachers are armed. And I love it when I drive past a school which has a sign reading “school personnel are armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect students.”

If you were a bad guy with malice in your heart and wanted to inflict as much carnage as possible, which target of opportunity will you select. One which has “no guns allowed” signs posted or one which has “personnel are armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect…” signs posted.

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