I’m on a boat. And. It’s going fast. And. Internet costs a frickin’ fortune. So I’ll make this brief. Not only are firearms prohibited on this ship, but a sign at the port warned us not to make jokes about them. (So much for cruising, Ralph). Do I feel comfortable without a gat? Pass me another Cuban Breeze Gretchen. Meanwhile, is there anywhere where TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia reckons guns should be prohibited? Schools? Hospitals? Court houses? Or should your right to keep and bear arms apply to any public place? And what of private property? Ships, planes, parking lots for private employers, etc.? Are ALL gun-free zones potential “killing zones?”

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49 Responses to Question of the Day: Should There Be Any “Gun Free” Zones?

  1. Ask Sandra Bullock if you can get wounded on a boat. (Oh, wait. That was her career.) But the point is the same. And I’d vote for “common sense” and “self-reliance” every day over “Nanny State” and “excessive regulation.”

    Oh, and if you go ashore, be sure to keep your mouth shut, should you see a Colonel standing in the sun, with a stupid face, the glasses and a gun. Loose lips could have you saying goodbye, looking at the end of a gun you really don’t wanna face.

  2. I’m fine with courtrooms being off-limits, as: 1) there is always an armed bailiff present; 2) emotions can run high, even for law-abiding CCW-holders; 3) for those less accustomed to guns, it removes the potential for intimidation; 4) it allows a pretext to stop anyone who is armed (in the same way police can intervene in a suicide attempt only because it is illegal). Other than that, I don’t see why any public place should be gun-free (OK, you can make a case for checking your piece before scaling the parks and rec indoor rock climbing wall).

    Private property — whatever the owner wants. Don’t like it, don’t patronize.

  3. Cruise ships are definatelty not the place for guns, nothing like a bunch of drunk assholes creating international incidents on Disney Cruise lines. 2A right do not extend to international waters or foregien countries, same thing with courthouses, schools, post offices and airports.

    There are certian areas of this country in which all of your civil libereties are limited and for good reason. Banks, hospitals and any establishment with 51% sales attributed to alcohol should be gun free zones as well, this protects the people that work there more than the patrons.

    Home carry, car carry is totally up to you the same goes public places like parks and city streets are your call.

    I think if a buisness wants to designate itself a “No Gun Zone” then it’s their right to do so, their name is on the lease and it should be their choice on what people are allowed to carry onto thier property. If you want to carry to your favorite bookstore or clothing store, and they don’t allow firearms on the premise you should respect thier rights.

    If you dissagree with that then don’t spend your money there and everyone wins. If your employer would rather not have firearms on the premise it’s thier call if you dissagree find another job that allows you to carry.

    • Yes, our Constitution does not extend to other sovereignties or international maritime law. But an “establishment with 51% sales attributed to alcohol?” Here’s a better idea: unless the owner prohibits it, carry is allowed provided you don’t drink. Carrying while intoxicated is the potential problem, not carrying while others around you are intoxicated.

      • I dissagree even if you personaly would not brandish your weapon to prevent or break up an alcohol fueld bar fight, there a plenty who would. Bars are hang outs for a variety of folks, and I have worked for, owned and drank at a varitey of diffrent bars from college hang outs to seedy biker bars and a high class cocktail joint, however I have seen plenty of bar fights at each. Alcohol and firearms do not mix, in lew of knives firearms or other weapons I have seen barstools, bottles and a tv used as wepons, bars have plenty of “weapons of opurtunity” lying around and firearms would only endanger bystanders or the waitstaff. Barfights move quick and even the best marksmen would have a tough time firing a clean shot without hitting bystanders. In a barfight it rarely is a 1 on 1 fight, two people start fighting and it quickly becomes a crowd of people egging-on and pulling apart the combatants. Firearms would not help an already exagerated situation.

        • FWIW, there is no prohibition against carrying a concealed weapon at a bar in Colorado, even if 100% of the revenue comes from alcohol.

          It is, however, a Class 2 Misdemeanor for a person to be in possession of a firearm while intoxicated (CRS 18-12-106 [1] [d].) Seeing as how the Colorado CCW law has read this way since it was enacted 8 years ago, I would think that if there had been problems with CCW carriers in bars, we’d have heard about it by now.

        • $DANGEROUSWEAPON and alcohol don’t mix, be it gun, knife, baseball bat, car, broken beer bottles and/or fresh fruit.

          Dumb people will find a way to do dumb things while drunk. Taking away guns does not take away stupidity.

        • The flaw in your argument is you don’t take into account people that work at the bars. I’m a musician. If I want to work, I have to play in bars. And in this state, that means going in without a gun. If I’m not going to drink, why should I give up my right to self-defense? Keep in mind, if I’m going to get mugged, it’s probably going to be going in and out of the club while I’m packing in or out. THAT’S when I want my gun on hand. Inside the club? You’re probably right – way too congested a place to use a gun responsibly. But tell that to the drunks – they don’t obey laws about public fights or public intoxication, and many of them don’t obey gun laws either.

  4. “Shall not be infringed” doesn’t have an “except in the following places” clause. ‘Nuff said.

    • The First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to libel someone, the Fourth has exceptions for exigent circumstances. Most of our enumerated rights have asterisks next to them, and rightly so. As it’s been so perfectly expressed, your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.

      Banning weapons in establishments that mostly serve as places to get drunk makes good sense, and I’m ok with having courthouses being gun free. And of course the owner of private property gets to mostly make the rules for what’s acceptable on it.

      But it’s true that most gun-free zones are exercises in dangerous wishful thinking. They accomplish little more than to advertise to the wolves where the best population of sheep are available.

  5. Except for the guards, all types of weapons should be banned in prisons. I am OK with bans on weapons in courtrooms, except for the bailiffs. Anywhere else? No.

  6. The only places that it makes any sense to prohibit firearms (and other defensive weapons) are places where you can effectively control the access by the public.
    A court room or federal building would be a good example. If you are going to have an armed guard at the entrances and exits and metal detectors/pat downs to screen folks as they enter, then in a situation like this, you could reasonably expect that there aren’t going to be loonies coming in with weapons of their own and shooting the place up.
    A school building could be another example if the access points are similarly controlled with metal detectors and someone screening folks as they enter.
    The big problem with “gun-free zones” is that merely putting up a sign saying “No Guns allowed here” does exactly Nothing to prevent a nutjob from walking right past that sign and doing whatever they please. If you are not going to go to the trouble to secure the access points to prevent crazies from coming in with their own guns, then you should allow people to be armed for self defense.

    • I would amend that to say “control access to the public and have the force available to keep the peace in an emergency.”, but yeah, I think you’re on the right track here. Just putting up a metal detector does squart if there isn’t the force present to deal with someone who choses not to disarm them-self in an attempt to harm others.

      And any school that sets up a metal detector is a school I’ll never send my kids to.

  7. If I own private property and I don’t want you to carry a gun on my property…there are no rights or laws anywhere that prevent me from telling you to leave or have you removed whenever I want.

    Simple as that. The big ship is not public property.

  8. Umm – no such thing as a ‘gun free’ zone. There are shootings in courthouses, schools, federal buildings, and yes – even bars – all the time.

    I think what we’re talking about are areas where law abiding folks are disarmed. Then we can count on the good sense and restraint of criminals not to commit ‘gun crimes’ in those areas!

    Hows that working for us? (Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. ad nauseum.)

    • “Hows that working for us? (Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. ad nauseum.)”

      I would say upto or beyond resonable expectations becuase of the thousands of people attending those loctations daily throught the United states that concudct their buisness and are met with no problems. Why create a problem where no exists?

      • You remind me of the story of the cop who comes up on a guy, standing on a busy street corner, tearing strips of paper and throwing them into the wind. The cop says, “Hey, buddy…what are you doing? You can’t do that here!”

        “But officer,” he replies, “I’m keeping the tigers away.”

        The officer looks at him and says, “But there are no tigers here.”

        “See,” the guy says. “It works.”

        Gun-Free Zones give people a false sense of security. They don’t work. Nutjobs bent on mayhem and murder see them as “Target-Rich Environments” with little in the way of disincentives to slow them down. It’s as simple as that.

  9. I wouldn’t mind allowing CCW on ships, but they ARE extremely safe environments. Crime on cruises is pretty rare, and when it does happen, at least one party is inebriated and near the outer railing.
    Other than petty theft, most violence on ships is either intra-marital, or more rarely, a bent crewperson tries to steal something from a passenger cabin, is caught in the act, and kills their only witness. A personal handgun would only have helped in a slim minority of an already small number of cases.
    As for bar carry, my take on it is that it’s not so much about “having the gun handy in case of trouble” as not instantly becoming a criminal upon forgetting that you are wearing your carry piece and entering an establishment serving alcohol. Or becoming a felon on paper because you’re carrying and you step inside to retrieve a friend who’s had a few too many and you’re taking them home.

    • Agree. Bar owners should be allowed to prohibit weapons on their property, but failure to comply should be treated as misdemeanor trespassing, not a felony firearms violation.

      Most of all, it should be the owner’s call, not the state. When legislators clumsily insert themselves into this issue, they end up criminalizing concealed carry into places like Chili’s just because they have liquor licenses.

  10. Ok, I will jump in here. I’ve been lurking for some time great place. Now onto the business. Why would I want to create an elite class at a court room, airport, or anywhere else that is carry is prohibited to the general public? Remember that just because we grant LE the authority to act on our behalf, their power is still our power. I don’t see a reason to limit everyone’s ability to take care of themselves, anywhere that is within our borders, or international waters. Post Offices, schools, etc. should not be gun free, that theory just doesn’t work. While I’m at it, why is it perfectly legal for a CHL holder to carry up to the door, but they aren’t to be trusted when they cross the threshold? Makes no sense in my mind. Finally, why would I want to depend on someone else for MY safety and security? They may not act like I would, or may just run (that whole self preservation thing is a real booger). Private property, well it’s theirs (never mind the rent we pay for it in taxes every year), if they want to prohibit, fine they can, but I can also take my business elsewhere. That’s my 2.

  11. Not only that, but amateur radio operators are FORBIDDEN to have their transceivers with them. The supposed reasoning is the signals will interfere with the ship’s navigation.
    Problem is, the ship’s transmit in an entirely different frequency spectrum. The TRUE reason is they want to control all communications with the mainland or authorities via other radio operators. So if there is a crime or assault, the ship has time to cover it up and defray the investigations, such as robbery, rapes, or missing passengers. (my humble opinion) The radio telephones are monitored and you use them at the discretion of the operations room. I hold an Extra Class license, am a Radio Instructor, Examiner, and examiner. The rule states it at the permission of the captain, but non permission is ever given..

    • I would think it is more likely to be an issue of responsibility and/or international law.

      What I mean by “responsibility” is that legally the captain of the ship is responsible for any electronic communications emanating from that vessel (I believe.) If the emanations violate some aspect of law (say you’re sailing into another country’s territorial waters and that country severely restricts radio equipment) then the captain is on the hook for it (and by extension, so is the cruise line) even if he had nothing to do with it.

      The captain bears the responsibility, ergo he has the power. If you don’t like it, you are of course free to sail on another line or to pilot your own boat. But I don’t see this prohibition as being a sinister attempt to “control the message.” It is simply a reflection of the responsibility that the captain of a vessel bears under Maritime law.

      Lots of countries are much more restrictive of things like radio communications and photography than we are (try taking a photo at the customs station in England, for example) because of the military potential of these things.

  12. I think there are a few places where it would not be the smartest
    move to carry a firearm.
    Hospitals, for one, as there are a lot of pressureized gas cylinders about.
    Refineries, for ovious reasons.
    But if it’s too dangerous to carry a firearm, then it’s time to remember that
    ‘arms’ covers more than just firearms. Carry a good knife,
    or the more gentlemanly option, a sword.

  13. If you do not receive money from The State, go ahead and prohibit weapons, ALL weapons on your property. Doesn’t matter if they are carried privately or by the arms of The State.

    I expect you to enforce it on EVERYONE.

    If you are a public institution, funded with State money, you are subject to us. We are the ones funding you.

  14. I would ban carry in courtrooms, jails, and prisons. I would ban carry while consuming or being under the influence of alcohol. I would also require that any public accessible business or government building which wishes to ban carry on their premises have free gun lockers with an armed security officer. There would also be a requirement that there be sufficient lockers for 50% of the fire marshall’s occupancy limit.

    Of course while I am in fantasy land I would also ban TSA from searching anyone without a warrant, and require all airlines to issue 5″ hunting knives to all adult passengers upon boarding…

  15. I agree with no carry in:
    – Courtrooms
    – Bars, unless allowed by the owner
    – Any private property where the owner does not want guns

    I quite frankly can’t fathom (pun intended) the thought of carrying a firearm on a cruise ship. And don’t even tell me someone would think about bringing said firearm with them on a port of call. Can you imagine getting caught with a concealed weapon in, say, Belize City? Can someone call the embassy for me?

    Leave the paranoia and the gun at the dock.

  16. Does no one remember the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship MS Achille Lauro? Just 4 Palestine terrorists were able to take control of a ship with about 420 passengers and crew. They shot and killed an elderly Jewish American man, throwing his body overboard.

    When you see that 4 armed men are able to control more than 400 people you can see exactly how vulnerable unarmed masses are on a cruise ship.

    • Valid as this example is, it has been 26 years since the incident, and 10 years since 9/11. Port access and baggage scanners are in place now, metal detectors are at all ports of entry, and while in my personal experince it was easy to smuggle items of Cuban origins into the U.S. from Mexico, other items like liquer and large metal decorative trinks did not make it back with me to the boat so easy. Visual ID verification as well as onboard ID’s and travel documentation are all required to access the Ship at any time during docking. You are searched and scanned going through U.S. customs to board the ship at your port of call, and when you go leave and enter at your “excursion” destinations you have to present your shipboard ID which would be hard to fabricate in the 3 hours your off shore and even harder to upload the correct info into the ships onboard computer system. Where the system is weakest is the security check in during your shore trips, however I belive there is still an ID check and a metal detector to go through to get back on board. It may be feasible to smuggle a weapon encased in a nother object through this check point, but it would still be difficult.

  17. Legal carry everywhere. Private property rules should be determined by the property owner. Stiffen the penalties for breaking the rules, and give the populace the tools to protect themselves.

    I don’t remember where I saw it, and I’m paraphrasing, but you can’t make law-breakers fall in line by imposing more rules on the law-abiding…

    or something like that.

  18. I can see courthouses due to the strong emotions involved in most cases. Any other government building, you should be able to carry. TX has a special entrance for CHL holders at the State building. There have been no gun related problems inside since they started it. Private property, up to the owner with the understanding that they are responsible for the safety of customers. If I can be held responsible for a tresspasser being injured on my property it is only right. I can see not being allowed on cruise ships since most don’t make all their port calls in US territory.

    • They already know. Most foreign ports do not allow you to have firearms on the ship even if the guns never leave the ship. This is why pirates have such an easy time capturing vessels.

  19. Hey Robert, say hello to Kathy Lee Gifford. Wink and ask her how the clothing line is going, she’ll know what you mean.

  20. Private property. However if you ban firearms you are assuming the obligation to protect anyone legally allowed on your property while they are on your property or traveling to/from where their legally owned firearms are stored.

    Oh, and anywhere that all entrances are controlled with metal detectors etc operated by armed security personnel, nobody is allowed to bypass the metal detectors, and armed security personnel routinely patrol the interior of the facility.

  21. I found a solution to all these woes. Become a judge. A local judge who swims at my pool mentioned to me that he is able to carry…wherever (except private property, and airplanes). Post office…I’m a judge…Jail…I’m a Judge…Federal Building…I’m a Federal Judge…Courthouse…I’m THE Judge. I don’t know if this applies on a Federal level or if it varies state to state or even county to county. But it seems being a judge really makes carrying easier.

    Note: Carrying a Taurus Judge does not count as being an actual judge.

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