Gun Free Zones: Not a Gun Issue?

The Fayetteville Observer complains today that the state legislature is going to take away the city’s power to ban guns in parks: “This isn’t a gun issue. Our parks are not high-crime areas. We will have guns in Festival Park and Mazarick Park and most others not because the Second Amendment or some jurist says we must, but because state lawmakers surrounded by serious problems once again ran off to indulge in political posturing.” I can’t count the number of times I have heard a variation on that theme: “Well why would you need a gun in …” a park, a mall, a church, a school, yadda, yadda, yadda, from people who assure me that it isn’t a Second Amendment issue (shades of the classic “I’m not prejudiced, I have lots of black friends”). Most of them can’t explain just why exactly relegating guns to the back of the bus is not a civil rights issue, but we’ll let that pass for the now…

The matter at hand is the idea that posting a sign or passing a law will do anything except to disarm all the people who aren’t going to commit a crime. Which is exactly what these laws do. The run of the mill permit holder will not carry in a prohibited zone, but no sign is going to stop a predator.

So just who does a “No Guns” sign protect? Will it protect anyone from an armed mugger or rapist? Don’t be silly, they don’t care about legal niceties. Will it protect you from some nut-job on a mission to shoot as many people as possible before he blows his own brains out? No, he wants a target rich environment full of disarmed prey, the better to ensure a high body-count.

So just who do those signs protect us from? The only people “No Guns” signs protect you from are people who are law-abiding enough that they will obey the sign, but psychotic enough that they would whip out a gun and shoot someone who cut in front of them in the coffee queue. And they also have to be rational enough such that the walk to their car (or drive home) to retrieve their weapon before shooting the bastard takes enough time for them to change their mind about committing murder. Doesn’t sound like very many people would fit that description.

The fact of the matter is, the Tucson shooting aside, there has never been a mass casualty shooting that was not in a supposed “gun-free” zone. Columbine? Virginia Tech? Pearl High School? Westroads Mall? Tacoma Mall? Trolley Square Mall? New Life Church? Living Church of God? Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church? Various Post Office shootings over the years? All of these events, all of them, took place in nominally ‘gun-free’ zones.

So is Fayetteville so sure their parks are safe that they are willing to disarm the law-abiding? Maybe the city would like to pass a law stating that anyone who’s been disarmed by a no guns law is due full recompense for medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium, pain, suffering and emotional distress. They can limit the award amount to $10 million, or the cash equivalent of 5800 Troy ounces of gold, whichever is highest.

If you aren’t willing to put your money where your mouth is then shut your pie-hole and keep your laws off my guns.