RF invented the acronym OFWG (Old Fat White Guy) for a reason: a lot of Caucasian firearms fans would rather practice pushing their defensive handgun gun away from their body after a holster draw than push away from the dinner table. Speaking from personal experience, it’s all too easy to get into a rut of Fritos and Hoppe’s #9. But there comes a time in every OFWG’s life when he looks in the mirror and says WTF. When LifeTime Athletic rolled into my town—complete with basketball courts, pools, and water slides—I was ready to face the fats. Until I saw “LIFETIME FITNESS BANS GUNS ON THESE PREMISES” stenciled on the door . . .
People in New York have to jump through so many hurdles to carry a concealed weapon that we are a statistically insignificant sliver of the Empire State population pie. My peers aren’t even thinking about carrying a firearm. Guns aren’t even a blip on their radar.
So why have the ‘No Guns’ sign so prominently displayed? The fitness center’s front door doesn’t even have the club’s hours of operation listed. Or a Visa/Mastercard accepted come-on.
We’ll get to the rationale in a moment. First note: LifeTime Fitness’s policy means that concealed carriers are SOL. NY law states that your concealed carry heater must be on your person, under your direct control, or stashed in a suitably impregnable container. A locked glove box doesn’t cut it.
So, with LifeTime Fitness’s locker rooms a no-go area and car storage out-of-the-question, concealed carry types need not apply.
I hit up LifeTime’s corporate PR department for an explanation of their “gun-free zone” policy. According to Karen Jayne Leinberger’s email . . .
Per our Club Policy and as a private business, LifeTime bans all weapons, including guns, on our premise and inside our clubs. You can read more about our Club Policies here. No incident has prompted this action by LifeTime, it’s a common practice for businesses to ban weapons in this fashion. We post signage to notify members and guests of our policy.
Note that weapons are #2 on the immense rule list in the link. Realistically, the only crimes that really occur at gyms are locker room thefts.
Until they don’t. Anyone remember this incident [reported by cnn.com] near Pittsburgh in the summer of 2009?
A shooting at an LA Fitness gym outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killed at least four people and wounded several others, a local official told CNN.
The shooter, whose identity was not immediately released, was among the fatalities, said Gary Vituccio, manager of Collier township.
At least 10 shooting victims arrived at the three major hospitals in the area . . .
Witnesses told WTAE that a man [George Sodini, above] unrecognized by the gym’s staff shot people in a Latin dance class.
A witness identified as Nicole told WTAE that about 30 women were in the class when “a middle-aged white male walked into the class. He had a big gym bag.”
“He looked out of place in a class full of women,” according to the witness, who told WTAE the man put down the bag, turned off the lights and opened fire.
Workout carry? Obviously not. The likelihood that a gym member could have retrieved their legal firearm from a locker and stopped George Sodini’s killing spree is small. But not non-existent.
More important, what of the transition from car to gym and back to car? Check out this story from yesterday’s mysanantonio.com:
Yu Masaki [above] was told not to return to the Planet Fitness gym at Northeast Loop 410 and McCullough Avenue because of his “extremely aggressive advances” toward women there, police said.
One of those women was Margaret McCombs, 21, a gym patron who refused his overtures, declined to take a gift he offered her and finally was chased across a parking lot Sunday night when his infatuation turned deadly, police said . . .
McCombs, Escamilla and at least two other gym employees were leaving Planet Fitness around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. As Escamilla walked McCombs to her vehicle, a man wearing dark clothing suddenly ran toward them, pointing a gun and firing it, one of the employees later told police.
The gunfire stopped and Escamilla, his hands against his chest, stumbled toward a co-worker, who had ducked behind a car, the report states. Masaki chased McCombs as she fled, the witness said, and he heard more gunfire as he tried to help Escamilla, then saw Masaki running back toward them, the report states.
The witness ran into a nearby electronics store, where he heard even more shots and saw a small black car speed away. Escamilla was on the ground, no longer responsive, shot in the face and upper torso. The witness ran to McCombs, who was bleeding from the neck. She told him that Yu, “the Japanese boy,” had shot her, according to the report and other police accounts.
LifeTime is operating under the asinine assumption that bad guys observe firearms bans—especially when the rules are posted on a sign. In fact, it’s just security theater designed to make customers feel safer.
Judging from the story above and using simple common sense, that’s not a good idea. Nor should an aspiring former OFWG (or other gun-carrying demographic) belong to LifeTime Fitness—or any other health club that bans legal gun owners from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Encouraging gun-free zones with your hard-earned money is not good for the health of your gun rights or the people within the zone. Don’t do it.