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By Rokurota

Less than a month ago, a malicious human being walked into a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and murdered nine people. The confessed killer said he committed the heinous act of gunning down black churchgoers to start a race war against African Americans. President Obama once again called for gun control. Thoughtless folks shifted the blame to police officersFoxNews, and even the victims themselves. But that’s not what I’m writing about . . .

Inevitably, in the presence and absence of terrible crimes like this, some gun owners declare (in as self-satisfied a tone as they can manage in HTML) “THIS is why I never set foot in a Gun-Free Zone!” (Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, like all churches in South Carolina, is a GFZ.) They don’t attend movies (Aurora!), shop in malls (Nairobi!), or eat in restaurants (Killeen! San Ysidro!). They also apparently avoid colleges (Virginia Tech!) and public schools (Sandy Hook! Columbine!). The faithless among us have even used this event to justify why they don’t go to church (Charleston!). They apparently also never use the post office or appear in court, since almost all federal facilities are GFZs.

For a freedom-loving crowd, this kind of life doesn’t sound very free.

Now, don’t everyone jump on me for failing to distinguish between self-imposed and government-imposed restrictions. I support everyone’s right to conduct one’s life as one pleases. I also understand some people just don’t like people, or at least too many people in one place. But if you really avoid places you need or want to go just because they are GFZs, maybe you need a reality check.

Just as millions of flyers land safely at crowded airports every day, millions of people go to theme parks, restaurants, shopping centers, schools, and even churches without being shot at. Every day. Many Reason subscribers scoff at the fearful of flying because they listen to their irrational phobia instead of the data. And yet these same people wouldn’t dream of going unarmed, even though the likelihood of surviving an hour in a GFZ is enormously high.

The reason behind both fears (yes, I said fears) is the same. Aviophobics are fine with cars because there they feel in control, whereas in a plane, they’re at the mercy of pilots, birds, and weather. Likewise, when you step into a GFZ, you are at the mercy of criminals and security guards (if there are any). You are not in control.

I get it. I don’t like to leave my gun behind, and I like as much control over my safety as I can get. But even when I have my gun on me, “control” is an overblown illusion. I want every advantage I can get, but I also want to participate fully in life. When I volunteer at my children’s schools, I leave my gun in the car. I don’t like it, but I do it because it’s the law and I want to be involved in their education.

I took my family to DisneyWorld this year, and I was happy to do it, even though it’s a GFZ. Why? Because I wanted to. Again, I’d rather have had my gun on me, but I also wanted to have a fun (“magical,” I believe is the word they use) family vacation, so for one lousy occasion, I left my gun at the hotel and risked an attack by ISIS unarmed. And if I found myself in South Carolina on a Sunday morning, I would find a church and worship my Lord and Savior – gun-free.

Lovers of liberty hate legislated GFZs while also recognizing the right of people and businesses like Whole Foods and Costco to prohibit guns on their property (and also the right of gun owners to boycott them). But there are times when you want to cross the picket line, and it’s okay.

In Virginia, I cannot enjoy a beer or glass of wine while carrying concealed. Some gun owners would refuse that Côtes du Rhône. Not me. I appreciate the choice I’m given and I appreciate your choice to teetotal and carry. Me, I refuse to exist in a life-free zone. So for one hour, praise the Lord and pass the hefeweizen. After that, if I’m still breathing (and the odds are in my favor), then I’ll be armed again. Life is full of choices. These are mine.

This is a summer content contest entry. Click here for rule and email your entry before midnight July 31.

23 Responses to Contest Entry: I Refuse to Live In a Life-Free Zone

  1. With me, in addition to a slight discomfort in being disarmed and being peeved, it is also that I do not wish patronize (and thus support) places that enact or fall under such prohibitions. I’ll admit that it is easier for me though as I don’t have kids, don’t drink in “public” places, and am a recluse.
    Disney also loses my patronage due to their influence on IP law.

    • It’s one thing if the place has to be a GFZ by law. Perhaps the owner would rather let carriers in, but can’t.

      It’s another when they don’t have to ban carry, but do anyway. Those are the places I try not to reward for their dickheadedness.

      (And the people who just go there anyway, all smug because “concealed is concealed” are simply rewarders of dickheadedness.)

    • It is impossible to conceal when you have to walk through detectors at the various GFZs. Even Glock brand Glocks have enough metal in them to trigger the alarms. So what will you do? I try to avoid the GFZs unless I absolutely can’t, Post Office for example.
      It is a real quandary.

    • …and thus, you smugly reward the hoplophobe running the establishment. He gets to indulge his hoplophobia, and you make sure he suffers no consequences.

      Who’s the clever one here?

    • This +1. As long as they don’t have metal detectors I don’t give a crap about the policy (unless it’s a federal building, dont want to mess wit the feds). Carried the whole time in Disney world last year. Work on concealment people!

  2. The statistical probability of being attacked (or hit by a meteor) may in fact be low, but the consequences for the individual in that situation can really SUCK if the statists leave them no options to defend themselves.

  3. I live in Florida. Florida law does not prohibit firearms, or concealed carry in amusement parks. Disney’s policies prohibit weapons in general. And Disney’s policies do not have the force of law in Florida. So you may choose to go unarmed if you like, I however will remain armed. Also I don’t end up in court, it’s cheaper to drink at home with my friends, and why would you need to go to the post office with all the shipping options available now. So my life is not “life-free”, I enjoy it quite well, all while armed.

    • I believe Disney is exempt from FL law, not sure about the specifics but I know a Disney employee tried to fight it in court and lost. He wasn’t even allowed to store his handgun in his vehicle in the parking lot, I believe they charged or tried to charge him for that and he got fired.

      • No exemption from the law, just a difference between ‘you might be arrested’ and ‘we can fire anybody we don’t want working for us’.

        The worst Disney can do to me is kick me out if they don’t want me for a customer.
        The worst Disney can do to an employee is make him an ex-employee. In neither case is it illegal to carry a handgun with a CHP at Disney.

  4. “Blame the victims” is thoughtless?

    The person most responsible for the Chucktown Church Shooting is Mr Bowl Haircut himself.

    The person with the next greatest responsibility is lifelong self-defense opponent Reverend Senator Clementa Pinckney. I don’t see how pointing that out is ‘blaming the victim’, it’s more like ‘blaming the pro-criminal politician’.

  5. The “No Gun” signs on private property in my state carry no weight of law.
    Many gun carriers interpret them as simple requests and ignore these signs

    However, choosing to avoid GFZs based on Emotional Reasons are
    different from avoiding them for Political Reasons.

    If I avoid a GFZ because I might FEEL vulnerable is different from
    avoiding a GFZ because I chose to cater to businesses that don’t respect
    my R2KABA.

    If I go unarmed in a GFZ for whatever reason at least I have non-lethal means and unarmed combat training at my disposal to help mitigate any risk.

    I understand that control is absolutely an illusion.
    I drive in traffic and have been in several near-collision incidences.
    But what I can’t control and do for myself, I leave to the hand of God.

  6. Concealed carry is legal in most government buildings in MA — yes, in MA! — so I do. Schools? Post offices? I don’t need to be in them. Restaurants and bars? There’s no prohibition in MA about carrying in either, so I do.

    But I’m willing to compromise. When I go to the local mall, I’d prefer to carry a rifle, but in the interest of compromise I just carry a concealed handgun or two. To me, that’s choosing wisely.

    • I don’t dare step foot in a mall unless I have my glock 19 with a few spare mags at my disposal. Sadly the mall is probably the most dangerous place I willingly go to.

  7. Last I checked they don’t search or wand you in disneyworld.

    I’ve carried there a bunch. Concealed means Concealed.

    Also they don’t actually post proper signage.

  8. The OP seems to be saying “What are you afraid of when entering a GFZ? Get-over your feeling of being helpless in a GFZ and learn to live the care-free life that hoplophobes cheerfully live.” I understand that argument; but, I object to it.

    Let’s imagine a petit female criminal defense lawyer. She realizes that she is in a dangerous occupation; she is apt to be shot or otherwise injured by dissatisfied clients. Still, she loves her work and wants to do the best she can for the subclass of the public that needs her services.

    To be sure, there are a couple of places she frequents where she is prohibited from carrying; GFZs. One is prisons/jails where she must meet with clients; another is courtrooms. With some residual trepidation, she disarms in these venues. She hopes that security provided by guards and bailiffs will protect her. Not an entirely unreasonable analysis.

    Beyond these two special kinds-of-places, our subject also shops in stores and malls, goes to Disney World and so forth. It’s not unusual for her to cross paths with former clients; some of whom she defended successfully, others whom were left disappointed. Some such venues prohibit her from carrying – they too are GFZs. However, these venues – UN-like prisons and courtrooms – do little to nothing to provide alternative security measures.

    The reasoning of the OP is that she should get on with her life, face the vicissitudes of all GFZs with equanimity, and take her chances. Her risk of attack is statistically modest – in the not-so-humble opinion of the OP’er.

    The opinion of the OP’er is totally irrelevant. My hypothetical subject is at liberty to judge her vulnerability however she sees fit. She may judge her vulnerability to be greater than I judge my own. I’m an OFWG with no dissatisfied customers to worry about; she is petite and has plenty of violent dissatisfied customers. Her shot to call. She should be at as much liberty to carry as society can reasonably indulge her.

    Society is – reasonably – not going to indulge her desire to carry in a jail or courtroom. If she doesn’t accept these 2 constraints then she probably has no alternative but to choose a different career. Nothing in life that concerns liberty is perfect.

    To deny her right to carry in any public place – e.g., the highways and sidewalks – is unconscionable. Grocery stores and Disney World? I’m not so sure.

    The more I ponder the private property rights of businessmen vs. the R-BA of their customers, the more I think the righteous argument tends to tilt toward the customer.

  9. My “life” doesn’t suffer because I choose to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse instead of Outback, shop at Sam’s Club instead of Costco, have my morning coffee at Dutch Brothers instead of Starbucks, and do my shipping at the UPS store instead of the Post Office. These people have a right to be stupid and lose business, and other people have a right to take advantage of the stupid people and win my business. Only in the case of government offices are my choices artificially limited to one, and as far as I’m concerned, the existence of the Second Amendment covers those.

  10. I have 2 problems with the “it’s just a request, concealed means concealed” approach.

    I know this is hypothetical, but, imagine everyone treated GFZ’s that way. It would mean business owners had a very simple choice either allow guns in their stores and lose money to protests and boycotts or ban guns and well…nothing no financial consequences whatsoever (maybe a strongly worded letter but nothing with any real effect), since concealed means concealed. I don’t see how that works out in a way that doesn’t make MDA’s goal of everywhere being a GFZ easier.

    My second problem is what happens when someone actually has to use their concealed gun in a GFZ? If you like to use the term “law abiding gun owners” when arguing against gun laws be ready to hear “if they’re so law abiding they wouldn’t be carrying guns into a GFZ” nevermind that the signs don’t have the force of law because it won’t matter to anti’s, to the MSM, or to most of their audience. Then there is the inevitable campaign against this GFZ lawlessness (even though it’s actually within the law, but it still won’t matter). One innocent unarmed (since it was a fake and/or toy gun) gangbanging 20 year old savagely murdered by the “lawless” gun owner mentioned above while they’re playfully relieving a cash register of its contents is probably all it will take. I wouldn’t be fooled and anyone that reads ttag probably wouldn’t either, but there are millions of people who don’t that would be more than happy to go along with making ignoring those signs the type of felony that creates prohibited persons.

    You might say that’s living in fear of something that’s not likely to ever happen, but not likely doesn’t mean impossible, which is the whole argument for “concealed means concealed” in the first place.

    By my count that’s 2 possible negatives for gun owners as a whole with the only upside being the person carrying in a GFZ spares himself the inconvenience of finding a pro gun store to frequent. I know that for some that may be too much inconvenience to live with since the only pro gun place to get something they need is in the next county or the next state, but I doubt the number of people in that situation equals or is even the majority of people who subscribe to “concealed means concealed”.

    • I agree.

      We should try to find a way to make peace with businessmen who want to stay neutral in this fight. For example, we might suggest that they erect a sign saying “Please don’t OC in our store”. That should somewhat appease the hoplophobes while only pissing-off the most vehement of the gun-rights people. It would stand as an invitation to CC in that store. We, in turn, will carry 2 holsters:
      – an OWB; and,
      – an IWB
      When heading to such a store we move our guns from OWB to IWB and “carry on”. Everybody sees the OWB empty holster and quickly figures out the rest. The hoplophobes are in a poor position to shout: ‘Oh NO! LOOK! OFWG with a GUN!!!!” There is no gun visible at all.

      Eventually, everybody gets used to the charade. They get used to the open secret that there is carrying going on at Ricks Cafe.

      Via such a plan, I think most businessmen would refrain from erecting a sign. They would prefer to just stay out of the debate. The company shareholders and managers actually don’t care whether the public-safety implications are positive or negative. So long as they aren’t liable they don’t care whether an employee or customer gets shot nor whether the shooter is a criminal or a law-abiding citizen.

      The only businessmen who will be feel compelled to do something will be those who fear they might loose business from hoplophobes; and, that that loss of business is less bearable than the loss of business from offended gun-owners. There ought to be a way to appease such businessmen and keep the fight among those that need to be involved:
      – gun-rights promoters
      – the general public – voters
      – hoplophobes
      .

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