“It is, of course, possible that an armed citizen could fend off an attack in a gun-free zone. But the evidence shows that even trained law enforcement officers are vulnerable to an armed attacker who has the element of surprise. In 2016, five Dallas police officers were shot and killed by a sniper. The Pulse shooter evaded a uniformed, off-duty Orlando police officer as he entered the nightclub, and went on to kill 49 people.” – Kerry Shaw in What Is a ‘Gun-Free Zone,’ and What’s Behind the Movement to Get Rid of Them? [via thetrace.org]

55 Responses to Quote of the Day: The Trace on Guns in ‘Gun-Free Zones’

  1. “Gun Free Zones don’t stop mass shooters… let’s have more of them.” I swear, one of these days, we’re going to have to clean house to put propagandists like these clowns out of business. Permenantly.

    • I don’t think that’s the argument here.
      The author is saying that an attacker with surprise can take out armed defenders by targeting them first.
      In the stated examples, the armed defenders were all uniformed police (i.e. clearly armed targets), and the attacker was able to quickly attack the clearly armed defenders, giving him control of the area. So it sounds like the author is arguing for more concealed carriers, who can counter attack after the attacker targets the cops.

  2. The Trace = People should be proper victims and not fight back when attacked. Women being raped should lay back and enjoy it. Children being massacred should remain calm while being blasted to pieces.

    • Yes, but why? Why do they take that position? Me thinks that they think that we is too stupid, incompetent, and ignorant to have any positive net effect on the outcome. And if that is true then the presence of such dangerous objects as guns in the hands of a bunch of stupid and incompetent people can only hazard society. Or, they are simply dealing with their irrational fear of guns in the only way they know how.

      • Me thinks its the latter leading to the former. They have irrational fear of a firearm, leading them to think anyone who owns them should be feared, or at the very least have their intelligence questioned. Haters gunna hate.

      • That’s probably what the people paying their bills think, but the ‘reporters’ and pundits don’t know any more than; “write what the boss says and I’ll get paid”. And they don’t want to know any more either.
        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair

      • “Yes, but why? Why do they take that position?”

        IMO, it’s because the left believes that, without a nanny-state, we are all helpless.
        And, if we all actually behave in a helpless manner, we will need a bigger nanny-state. And the left is all about big government. Or rather, bigger government, because it can’t be big enough.
        Too much rape? Need more government.
        Too much robbery? Need more government.
        If you’re a victim, just relax, we will bring more government to bear, thus sparing future victims, but you must do your part and submit to demonstrate that more government is needed. Do not resist, because you may be hurt more than if you do resist.
        Everything the left does is a move towards more government.

        • ^ This!

          It is 100% a scheme to justify the growth of big brother. Oh how they come to love big brother.

    • What irks me is the notion that only the police are “trained”. There’s training available to civilians too, folks. Also, not every police officer is a firearms enthusiast, which is to say civilians may very well “train” more often at their local range than the police do. Why would you discourage anyone who might be able to put a quick end to an active shooter situation?

      • “Why would you discourage anyone who might be able to put a quick end to an active shooter situation?”

        It’s a direct threat to their *perceived* ‘authority’.

        It’s an admission that they don’t have their sh!t together in their little world…

        • “It’s an admission that they don’t have their sh!t together in their little world…”

          I don’t think so. I think it’s part and parcel of their desire for larger government.
          The only threat they see to their authority are those who advocate for people taking care of themselves, because such people have no need for a bigger government.

    • Okay, here it is: they will say to the press that they acknowledge the possibility of a “good guy with a gun” existing, but they consider such a creature as rare as unicorns. Why? Because in their bigoted minds only bad people have and carry guns. It really is that simple.
      Here’ s another possibility : perhaps the reason we haven’t had a lot of newsworthy mass shootings stopped by armed civilians is because they were stopped before they became “mass” shootings?

      • Mass shootings outside of gun free zones are exceedingly rare. I can only think of two reasons. What you suggest is one. The other is that shooters choose gun free zones.

        The real answer is probably a mix.

    • “Women being raped should lay back and enjoy it.”

      As far as I know, nobody but Bobby Knight has ever advocated that.

      Blame The Trace, disarmists, Moms, and whoever else for what they’re guilty of, but putting words in their mouth is not a good idea.

      • ““Women being raped should lay back and enjoy it.”
        As far as I know, nobody but Bobby Knight has ever advocated that.”

        There have been a few more, all clearly idiots.
        Google “rape lie back and enjoy it” (sans quotes) for some others.

  3. It’s difficult to fight back when you’re ambushed. Let’s make sure that you’re unarmed and stand no chance.

  4. The article states,

    “Not very often. A Federal Bureau of Investigation report analyzed 160 active shootings from 2000 to 2013, in an attempt to understand those attacks in which the killer was intent on committing mass murder. It found just one example of an armed civilian — a U.S. marine — stopping the rampage.”

    However, when you read the FBI report cited, it says this,

    “In 5 incidents (3.1%), the shooting ended after armed individuals who were not law
    enforcement personnel exchanged gun re with the shooters. In these incidents, 3 shoot- ers were killed, 1 was wounded, and 1 committed suicide.”

    This is sort of like a student trying to pad a paper with made up facts and hoping the teacher doesn’t actually check.

    • 2 + 2 does not equal 4 in the hoplophobe world. They want a gun free world and the “zones” are that one step into their non-reality Utopian dream. And when you check the stats of DGU incidents, you find that more armed non-cops shoot better with less ammo than those who are wearing vest and are supposed to be “trained” to handle things.

      POTG seem more often then not, to take their responsibility seriously. Not that they are required to help, but by the courts police are not required to either, it’s expected.

    • According to the report, the armed defenders who were not law enforcement were actually paid security guards. According to The Trace, the fact that they were paid “good guys with a gun” disqualifies them from this scenario.

  5. “It is, of course, possible that an armed citizen could fend off an attack in a gun-free zone.”

    WOW! An admission of truth from the Trace? Say it ain’t so.

    So, if only to save just one life, shouldn’t we put an end to GFZs? Is that what they are saying?

  6. We will never know what might have happened if any of the patrons of the Pulse Nightclub had been armed, how different the outcome could have been, how many lives might have been saved.

    We do, however, know exactly what happened because all of the patrons of that club were required to be disarmed.

  7. “Why would someone want to be armed while grocery shopping?”

    Always with the straw man misdirection statements the left is. It is not about being armed while grocery shopping, it is about being prepared 24-7. Do these people think we strap on just to go grocery shopping? My life and the lives of those I love are important to me regardless of where I am and what I a doing.

  8. “the evidence shows that even trained law enforcement officers are vulnerable to an armed attacker who has the element of surprise.”

    This is the vulnerability of uniformed open carry. You’re obvious and easily evaded/neutralized through ambush.

    Guess who has the element of surprise when an armed citizen carrying concealed decides to not be a victim today?

    Right.

    • But the evidence shows that even trained law enforcement officers are vulnerable to an armed attacker who has the element of surprise.

      Thus, armed attackers must be vulnerable to a concealed carry person who has the element of surprise. Sure seems logical to me.

      Watching the Florida Airport shooting, I couldn’t help but notice as the shooter walked forward shooting those in his path, the number of people behind him he did not see. Any one of them had an excellent unobstructed line of sight to shoot him from behind and could have put an end to his efforts BEFORE anyone got shot.

      • Not if it were me. Even if I saw it coming, I would not act until he shot someone. Toy gun, malfunction, only kidding, whatever, and I go to jail. Once the first stranger falls, he may be the second, but I would never shoot first unless he is threatening me or mine. Somebody develops a big lead-lined hole, our entire society is geared to putting someone in jail. I’m only taking the risk of that being me, if my actions are to benefit me.

    • Oh, I think their logic is rather much “if that is the case, then cops don’t need guns either” (because they’ll just be ambushed, their gun taken away and used in another crime…).

  9. “Is there a public safety risk to more people taking up arms to prevent the next mass shooting?
    Almost certainly.”
    -OR-
    Probably not.

    • There is a public safety risk in more people carrying. Basically, every activity contains an element of risk. Nothing is perfectly safe. The public safety risk is demonstrably small. http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2017/03/foghorn/2016-lowest-accidental-firearms-related-deaths-since-1903/ (Haven’t read it yet, but am trusting the title).

      The inverse question is whether “Is there a public safety risk to less people taking up arms to prevent the next mass shooting?”

      And the answer is not only yes based on the logical argument that all things contain risk, but that the evidence demonstrates that the risk is significant.

      The proper question is what is the net cost/benefit of any action.

  10. I am fairly new to gun ownership and use, so I feel like I have perspective on both sides of this issue. Before I became a gun owner with a concealed carry permit, the idea of eliminating gun free zones with more people carrying guns around to increase public safety was laughable. I envisioned the Wild West where everyone has a six shooter on their hip and an itchy trigger finger. Wayne LaPierre’s statement that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” was equally ridiculous. How could an average guy improve an active shooter situation by rushing toward danger with his gun drawn?

    Now that I’ve become a gun owner and carrier, my perceptions have changed. I’m sure it seems obvious to most of you, but I’ve come to understand that the vast majority of people carrying guns are doing so without others knowing about it. I’ve also learned that these carriers are some of the most polite, law-abiding, and laid back people out there because they understand the enormous responsibility and burden that comes from drawing and using their firearms. I have also come to understand that the vast majority of people carrying guns are first looking to escape from danger rather than use their gun to “save the day.” The gun is a last resort if escape is impossible. Of course, I understand these things now because I am now one of them and understand my own motivations and sentiments. I also read forums, such as TTAG, and understand that most other gun owners share these motivations and sentiments.

    So what role does eliminating gun free zones have to do with increasing safety? In my mind, it is one of deterrence that will come about when people contemplating gun crime realize that there is an ever-increasing likelihood that at least some of their intended victims are likely to be armed such that the crime is not worth the risk. In the pilot for the television show “Burn Notice,” the protagonist Michael Westin has to escape from a bunch of bad guys in Nigeria when he is “burned” by the agency he works for. In the ensuing chase, Michael’s pursuers crash their car into a bazaar and leap out of the car with guns drawn to bully their way through to continue the pursuit. In response, dozens of ordinary citizens, going about their day, nonchalantly pull their own weapons on the bad guys. Badly outgunned, the bad guys quickly reconsider their choices and stand down. It’s obviously a fictional anecdote, but it gets the point across about why gun free zones should go away – whenever someone is considering a gun crime, we want them to think that they are likely to be outgunned and ultimately unsuccessful.

    Again, my guess is that a lot of this is painfully obvious to most readers here. As I said, coming from someone who only recently “saw the light” when it comes to guns, I thought it was worth stating.

    • The deterrence prospect needs to be analyzed by category.

      If a mass-shooter is crazy it’s not practical to imagine how HE might be deterred. The best we can make of such cases is, on average, to slow-down or stop the killing.

      The rest are, by definition, not crazy. To some extent, they some might be deterrable. Will they be dissuaded from a life of crime? Unlikely; but they may choose different crimes. Property crime is less likely to draw fire compared to assault. Strong-armed robbery less likely to draw fire than armed-with-a-deadly-weapon.

      Arguably, a criminal might UP-arm if he fears encountering a single armed cop/citizen. However, if he fears encountering MULTIPLE armed cops/citizens (assuming he is rational) he is likely to DOWN-arm. He is unlikely to survive if multiple armed responders see they have no choice in responding to deadly force. He IS likely to survive if multiple armed responders see that letting him flee is a viable alternative.

      I foresee the Constitutional-Carry States driving a wedge between the Won’t-Issue States and the Right-to-Carry States. (Too soon to register today; but, some day . . .) Let’s ask our fellow voters in the Won’t-Issue States this question:

      ‘How do you perceive your neighbors there in the State of Confusion? Are many of them so responsible that they won’t carry guns in violation of the law? Yet, if they could LEGALLY carry, they would turn YOUR neighborhoods into the Wild West of your imagination?

      Why are your neighbors so different from the folks who live in the Constitutional-Carry States? These C-C States tried Shall-Issue for many years; their neighbors didn’t become irresponsible. Voters in the C-C States realized that CWPs weren’t necessary. Their law-abiding neighbors would carry responsibly without CWPs.

      Tell me, what makes your law-abiding neighbors so much more dangerous than citizens of other States?’

    • I think it helps that there is readily available information on the consequences of gun control and gun rights. Here in Utah, state law does not protect “gun free zones”, only trespassing if asked to leave. We also have Campus Carry. There’s no blood in the streets because of these laws. If another state is considering similar laws, we have data on school shootings and mass murders in “gun free zones” from before and after our laws were enacted. Same for the “Assault Weapon Ban” under Clinton. Did it help? It’s a question answered by multiple source “NO!”. The average hoplophobes aren’t going to push for laws proven to do no good.

  11. You mean people are surprised by surprises?
    Well shit, if that’s the case why even bother?
    Let’s all just lay down and die.

  12. I could die in a car accident. Maybe I shouldn’t drive anymore? Wow, scary…I’m going to have a conversation with my boss about the dangers of driving and suggest it would be safer if we all stayed home. Wish me luck!

  13. As they often say here, “an armed society is a polite society”

    If we have people carrying guns then by sheer knowledge of the fact that Joe Blow may be packing heat more criminals are disinclined to commit a crime in the first place.

    And yes, Dallas was a travesty. But to draw the conclusion that because one bad guy with a gun killed several trained officers us normies shouldn’t be allowed to carry guns. If anything, that’s even more asinine. Who is to say what would have happened at the Pulse if there was just ONE friendly person armed with a gun? Could it have saved one life? What if it saved 49? We don’t know what we don’t know, do we?

    • Ambush is ambush. Not a hell of a lot you can do about that. There was a similar incident in Tacoma not long ago
      where three LEOs having lunch were ambushed and shot dead. Not that long ago two cops shot in Las Vegas.

      In these cases it may well be that the officers were on break and allowed themselves to go to Condition White. It may also be that the average cop does not consider that anyone would be stupid enough to just walk up to him out of nowhere and open fire. Either way it should be a lesson for all of us. Condition White can get you killed because you just never know when someone might snap and decide shooting you is the answer to their problem(s).

      What it does NOT prove is that you should not bother being prepared at all because it is hopeless.

      • How much training do cops have with violence and more specifically deadly violence? Not whether or not they should use it, but what to do once that decision is made.

        I have the feeling that it is a lot less than I’d be comfortable with if I was doing their job.

  14. Great comments from all angles. Thank you. One thing I see the anti-gun crusaders use in their reporting, is the assumption that the bad guy knows who has the guns. If you remember the news report piece a few years back where they had the gunman enter a classroom and the students with guns got shot before they could clear leather (of course bad guys knew exactly who to shoot), they concluded, “therefore having a gun doesn’t save lives”. We all understand the ridiculous logic fail that exists in that argument which y’all have pointed out clearly.

    1. Concealed carry citizens are judicious, law abiding and typically well trained

    2. An unassuming citizen with a hidden weapon is a great deterrent and a deadly force against bad guys.

    These two facts destroy any anti-gunner’s arguments, therefore they will continue to exclude or gloss over these concepts from any reporting and/or studies.

  15. Compared to cops in uniform carrying concealed as a citizen gives the carrier the element of surprise too. Hey look, there is a non victim behind you with a 9mm! Bet you didn’t expect that in a gun free zone.

  16. Gun control advocates do know that there are WAYYY more guns now in the US than 20 years ago, yet crime rates are lower now? They must forget that statistic.

    • “Gun control advocates do know that there are WAYYY more guns now in the US than 20 years ago, yet crime rates are lower now? They must forget that statistic.”

      No, they just hope everyone else forgets it.

  17. We recently had a school shut down for a day in Columbus, Ohio…this was my response to it. At what point do we all realize this does not work? “Signs on the door of every building on Columbus State’s campus warn- weapons, including guns are prohibited on school property.” Bad guys with guns do not see “a sign” as a deterant. The only way to have a “gun free zone” is to install metal detectors & security to find them. Proclaiming a building “gun free” because there is a “sign” that says it is has got to be the stupidest idea ever. It is an open invitation for a criminal telling them that law abiding folks with legal permit to carry will be unarmed so the odds are in “your” favor. Stupid ….just stupid.

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