3 Hidden Dangers of ‘Gun Free Zones’

The greatest danger presented by a “gun free zone”: a bad actor or actors slaughtering unarmed innocents. A possibility that’s both sickeningly well-established and obstinately, irrationally ignored. But this post isn’t about that. This is about the three relatively minor — but no less serious — dangers presented by “gun free zones.” Starting with . . .

1. Disarming/rearming for a “gun free zone” is dangerous

I shop at Whole Foods. Despite the fact that my local branch’s 30.06 and 30.07 signs (banning concealed or open carry) aren’t legally compliant, before entering, I remove my gat from my Raven Concealment holster and stash it in the glove box. A process repeated by tens of thousands of legal carriers every day, as they leave their vehicle to enter “gun free zones.”

A car’s crowded confines may not be the most dangerous place to disarm or rearm, but it sure as hell isn’t the safest. Careful contortionists need apply. If nothing else, it’s difficult to keep a gun pointed in a safe direction inside a car — given passengers, surrounding pedestrians and/or occupants of nearby vehicles. Self-muzzling may not be inevitable, but it’s likely enough.

Disarming/rearming outside of a car carries its own risks. Gun muggles may freak at the sight of a firearm, creating a dangerous scene (at least in the legal sense). While we’re at it, where can a car-free or public transport-riding pedestrian safely disarm before entering a “gun free zone”? Nowhere. Which may lead them to carry illegally into a GFZ. And God knows how dangerous that is. [/sarc]

2. “Gun free zones” lead to firearms theft

Check out the Corpus Christi’s cops’ reaction to the startling rise in the number of firearms stolen from local cars. Take your firearms (love the plural) when you leave your car! Great idea! Thieves can’t steal a gun that’s not there.

Only you can’t take it with you. Not if you’re a law-abiding American about to enter a “gun free zone.” Of which there are plenty.

Gun owners around the country face this dilemma: leave your gun in your car and risk theft or take it with you and risk the permanent loss of your gun rights. No need to guess which one they choose. Or why thieves target car guns (hint: for their immediate value on the black market).

As the antis constantly remind us, bad guys getting “easy access” to guns is a danger to society. Of course, bad guys get guns no matter what. But there is real danger in having criminals cruising the streets looking to break into cars likely to have guns — and then being armed with those guns as they make their way back to their crib.

3. Disarming leaves you disarmed

After disarming for Whole Foods or my daughter’s school, I often forget to rearm. For hours. This isn’t just an OFWG thing. Nick Leghorn, TTAG’s resident twenty-something, reports that he’s gone to put his gun away for the night only to discover that he’d left it in the car. More than once.

What are the odds that you’ll experience post-GFZ Empty Holster Syndrome during a defensive gun use? Lower than a snake’s belly. But it’s still dangerous to walk around thinking you’re strapped when you’re not.

Bottom line: the less “gun free zones” the better. For everyone.


  1. avatar Mosinfan says:

    1a. Discretely disarming/rearming. Most vehicles are glass bubbles that muggles can easily see into- while you’re retrieving or stowing your gat. Most safes require the use of both hands and/or minor gymnastics to access while in a vehicle.

    1. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

      When I need to go to a GFZ I disarm at the point of origin instead of the destination. That way nobody will have an opportunity to ID you as a gun carrier until you depart.

  2. avatar guidoc says:

    Our local library is in the lower floor of city hall. My trips to the library are more frequent than any business I might have with the city. Having encountered all of the problems noted above, I tend to ignore the signs, take my chances and continue to CC in the library. Having CCed for many years I think I can safely say I am not the only one doing this.

    1. avatar Jeff K says:

      I will continue to ignore the ‘unarmed victim zone’ signs. Concealed means concealed.

  3. avatar Grumpyoldtimer says:

    Why do you still shop at Whole Foods? I don’t, and won’t go to any commercial establishment that is a GFZ. When I absolutely must go to a GFZ (Jury Duty for example), I have a plan as to how to stash my gun. And no, I do not go to the regular Post Office, I use the one at the ACE Hardware where they don’t care if I am armed.
    So, why do you still shop at Whole Foods, and if you insist on doing so, stop complaining about their policies. You are supporting those policies.
    Boycott GFZs or stop complaining!

    1. avatar Joe in NC says:

      Be careful Grump. Read where a bad guy was charged with a Federal crime for robbing a convenience store because they sold stamps. Argument was Federal laws applied.

      1. avatar jr233 says:

        a bit of a stretch unless the store was a po substation and the clerk worked the window. but the main point he was an armed criminal who used a gun to commit his crime. and feds will send him to prison. not a legal CCW minding his own business

      2. avatar Button Gwinnet says:

        My Google-Fu is weak. Can you find that story please?

  4. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “I shop at Whole Foods.”

    You get taken for a ride every time you walk in there. A fact that’s both sickeningly well-established and obstinately, irrationally ignored, apparently.

    Bitch and moan about gun-free retailers all you want. But unless and until gun owners express their displeasure with their wallets, they will never change.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “But unless and until gun owners express their displeasure with their wallets, they will never change.”

      Many will not change even then. Reference the retail store Target which encourages men to say they are women and use women’s facilities. Countless millions of decent people have stopped shopping there and the financial impact is devastating … but Target defiantly pronounced that they will continue to encourage men to say they are women and use women’s facilities.

      Remember, Progressives operate (mentally) on altruism, fantasy, and emotion. Facts (such as devastating financial results) are of no concern.

  5. avatar D says:

    Just playing devil’s advocate here but if you are not willing to disobey an unconstitutional law, such as a gun free zone, what would make anyone think you would stand up to an oppressive government coming to take your guns? Just a thought. Concealed means concealed. Personally if I’m not being frisked or going through a metal detector I carry.

    1. avatar Jeff K says:

      Totally agree/

  6. avatar JDS says:

    Concealed means concealed. Why would you disarm at whole foods if the signs are not in compliance? Better yet why would you shop there?
    I look at those no guns signs the same way I would look at a “whites only” sign. Constitutional protections don’t end or begin with some stupid sign.

  7. avatar Charlie says:

    Never mind any anti-gun policies. My main problem with Whole Foods is how pricey they are. “Whole Paycheck” indeed. Shop at either Vitamin Cottage or a locally owned store (if it’s cheaper) and use the savings to buy ammo.

  8. avatar Jon in CO says:

    Kroger supports your right to carry, and they have organic food as well. I know, because I work for one. They do not however, support my right as an employee to carry, ever. It still doesn’t stop me from doing so. Our “no gun signs” on buildings carry no weight or force of law, so it’s pretty pointless for them to even be there. As stated above, the only place I’ve ever had to be disarmed was for Jury duty. Post offices are completely stupid, and there’s nothing there that you HAVE to have or do. Whole Foods are closing nationwide, they’re slowly being put out of business because of Walmart and Kroger. If I lived in TX, I’d be shopping at H-E-B anyway.

    I can’t really understand your complaints at all. Maybe your kids school issue, but the rest is your choice to do, and you really should reevaluate your daily activities if they bother you that much to write an entire article on the subject.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      My local Kroger/King Sooper’s stores SUCK.

      Shit meat, shit veggies, poorly stocked for everything else most of the time, oh, and everything is overpriced.

      Unless I’m getting something common “from the aisle” type of item I drive all the way to darkest Thornton to hit Sprouts and sometimes Whole Foods. Better food, shockingly enough, better prices and they usually have what I want.

      It’s gotten to the point here that King Sooper’s/Kroger are basically places I don’t go.

      1. avatar Button Gwinnet says:

        You need to go to a different King’s, then. The one we shop at is the highest volume/square foot store in the company, and there are always at least 6-8 stockers on duty to keep up. The customer service there is the best of any chain.
        Agree on the veggies. Don’t eat a lot of meat, so no opinion. Sprouts is THE place for veggies. Whole Paycheck has nothing I want, and Safeway is a black hole.

        1. avatar Rick says:

          Sprouts is a GFZ.

    2. avatar caffeinebuzz says:

      I do live in Texas and I reluctantly go to HEB. They are all posted 30.06, state wide.

      1. avatar caffeinebuzz says:

        Sorry, meant 30.07… Which means they’re still not gun friendly.

  9. avatar SurfGW says:

    This article only reinforces the calculus: most days you go to enough GFZs that you are more likely to get arrested than use it in defense. Only carry to places with a specific threat, not “just in case”.

    1. avatar Button Gwinnet says:

      Yeah. That’s why I don’t bother to replace the batteries in my smoke detector. How many people’s houses ever catch fire? Smoke alarms are a waste of batteries.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      How do you know there is a threat? Tea leaves?

  10. avatar JoeVK says:

    My employer merely mentions possession of a firearm on company premises in a long list of offenses that are punishable up to and including termination. That’s it. No detailed section dedicated to it in the “employee handbook”, or even on the internal website where a much more detailed rule book is kept. No mention of “unless licensed to carry”, no nothing. Customers are not banned, as there are no signs on the door, and no mention of it anywhere in the “book of corporate commandments”. That said, once a month we have a sort-of casual dress day where we can wear any shirt we want besides our uniform shirts, as long as it has the company logo on them. The manager and I call it “Carry at Work Day”, because I don’t yet own an IWB holster and he discovered that he needs bigger pants to be able use his (I tease him about getting fat), so we carry OWB with a corporate-approved t-shirt over it.

    Once I get spare cash, I plan on getting a tuckable IWB holster. The manager just needs to stop himself from buying guns long enough to afford bigger pants, lol.

  11. avatar Charlie says:

    GFZs definitely lead to all-day disarmament. Personally, I have to visit our local elementary school on average twice daily during the school year. It’s so close that driving usually is pointless. That alone means I’m disarmed for about 2 hours every day. The local medical clinic / pharmacy building is posted. (Thank you, Kaiser. Sigh.) A few popular stores and all but one of the movie theaters are, too. Virtually all metro area sci-fi conventions are declared gun-free (and target-rich) zones. Several of those places I don’t dare carry in. Others, I don’t care what they think, nor can I be bothered to scrutinize every glass door or ask every manager. Nope. But taken together they often lead to disarmed days. Usually when visiting places that would make fine high-casualty targets for those of such an inclination.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      The Kaiser’s here also have signs on doors. Not sure where you live, but it doesn’t stop me here at all.

  12. avatar James says:

    I’ve never understood why one would remove their firearm from the holster when temporarily storing it in a vehicle. My IWB holster has a clip which is easy to remove from my belt; the firearm stays in the holster when it’s secured in my vehicle.

    While there are holsters that are less easy to remove from one’s belt, I would much rather undo my belt and take off the holstered gun. I unholster only in a controlled space, usually at home or the range. Or it’s go time. Thankfully I’ve never had nor will have ‘go time’.

    What am I missing here?

    1. avatar Mosinfan says:

      I use a hybrid iwb holster, which I love, but it doesn’t fit in my vehicle safe with the firearm. Therefore I unholster, lock firearm, drop off 3 kids, remove gun from safe, re holster, carry on.

  13. avatar Remmi300blk says:

    Have any of you all ever heard anti-gunners argue that shooters don’t shoot up gun free zones because they are gun-free, but because they have an some emotional attachment to a particular place?

  14. avatar Lhstr says:

    Its easy, don”t go to stores that don’t like your ccw! Duh. I don’t disarm for any store or casino period. If I enter a place like a post office and forget I’m armed so be it. I act the same as everyone else. I try not to go armed in a police station and any federal places. I carry 24/7 up in the morning tale 10 in evening. When its bedtime the bedroom door locks.

  15. avatar EJQ says:

    H-E-B doesn’t cover all of Texas. Last time I was in one, I was vacationing in San Antonio, about four hours drive away from where I live in the D-FW area. They’ve acquired property in the area, but nothing open close enough to run out and pick up the gallon of milk I need at the moment. Not that I’m a big Whole Foods shopper, but they are close. I usually shop at another local store that also carries the coffee I use.

  16. avatar deepdive68 says:

    I encounter very few gun free places. For the post office, there is a quick shop nearby with a postal counter that offers all postal services I need with zero no-gun signs on the premises. It is closer, friendlier, quicker and more efficient than the actual post office to boot. Besides USPS and gov’t/aviation buildings, there really are very few no-gun signs anymore that I encounter in MO. When CCW first passed about 12 years ago, they were all over. In the last 5 years almost all have come down. Most of the ones I do see are non-compliant. And, since it is not a criminal act to ignore even compliant signs, I usually do. If I do have to go to a legal GFZ, I wear a paddle holster and take it off, holster/gun together, and put in the center console.

  17. avatar MLeake says:

    It’s nice to live in a state where signs do not carry the force of law. Here, I only need worry about jails, prisons, courthouses, actual dedicated government buildings, and federal facilities.

    I ignore signs at will. What businesses don’t notice, does not hurt me. Even if they notice, I incur no liability unless I am foolish enough to argue when responding officers ask me to leave. But nobody has ever noticed, and I would not be that foolish.

    So, the worst I risk is being given a no trespass notice.

    Guess which state I live in?

    Hint: one neighboring state has virtually identical laws.

    1. avatar OkieRim says:


    2. avatar Bonega says:


  18. avatar Wendish says:

    Screw Wholefoods. Being a gun free zone is about reason number 74 that I don’t shop there.

  19. avatar Jay says:

    Bet constitutional carry ain’t happenning when Trump speaks to the NRA.

  20. avatar Ricky Spanish says:

    If you’re carrying concealed, shouldn’t it be concealed?

    rendering a “gun free” zone moot?

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