GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Perry went on record this weekend opposing the general concept of ‘gun-free zones’ on CNN’s State of the Union. “I will suggest to you that these concepts of gun-free zones are a bad idea,” Perry said. “I think that you allow the citizens of this country, who have appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded, know how to handle and use firearms, to carry them. I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there’s as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette.” . . .
Perry said shootings in gun-free zones like movie theaters and churches — such as the one in Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of a racially-motivated bloodbath that killed nine last month — happen because of a failure to enforce existing gun laws. He said current laws should have prevented Houser from obtaining his gun.
“I think we have the laws in place. Enforcement of those laws is what seems to be lacking, both in Charleston and here in Lafayette, Louisiana,” he said. “We see individuals who are obviously mentally impacted. These are individuals who I think that somewhere, somebody didn’t do their job in the standpoint of enforcing the laws” that are already on the books.
I haven’t been a huge fan of Gov. Perry’s in the past, but I find myself in complete agreement with him on this issue. The idea that passing a law declaring a certain property to be “gun free” — or simply posting a sign to that effect — will automatically make invitees into that property safe from violence is probably the worst gun control idea ever to be mislabeled as ‘common sense’. It’s little more than security theatre of the worst sort that simply insults the intelligence of anyone who walks through the door.
These ‘gun free zones’ are not being promoted to enhance safety. Anyone with a dose of common sense (actual common sense, that is) could tell you that. They’re being pushed to simply get in the face of people who own guns. As our colleague and occasional TTAG contributor Dan Baum pointed out last year, guns are seen as a totemic symbol of “the enemy” to those on the left. Own a gun? You’re the enemy. It’s an easy way to identify people to hate without going through all the time and expense of getting to know them first.
If we agree that gun owners possessing a license to carry firearms should have the freedom to go about their business of safely and legally carrying a firearm as they see fit — and apparently we, as a society, have agreed to this in principle — this right needs to be respected. That means that if you’re a business owner serious about trying to make people ‘safer’, then do something real about it. Install metal detectors and bag scanners at the front door. Hire trained and armed security guards ready to respond at the first sign of trouble. That would tell me that guest security is something that you take very seriously.
Wait — you don’t want to do that? It’ll be too expensive to do all of that? It might scare people off from going to your establishment? Then get out of my face with your signs.
In the meantime? Between my LED TV, sound system, and variety of streaming choices, I’ll be watching movies at home for the foreseeable future.
DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.