5 Myths About “Gun Free” Zones

In light of recent events, I wanted to re-share an article that I wrote awhile back about the myth of gun free zones…

There’s been a lot of talk recently about “Gun Free” zones and, frankly, a lot of it has been useless blather from people who know nothing about guns and reveal more and more of their ignorance with each additional word they speak.

With that in mind, I want to share 5 “Gun Free” zone myths and responses you can use when you hear them.

Myth #1. Gun Free Zones make us safer and reduce crime. It should be obvious by now that gun free zones don’t make us safer. Any time you hear this argument, ask the person who makes it if they have “gun free zone” stickers on their cars to stop carjackings, “gun free zone” signs in their yards to stop home invasions, and wear “gun free zone” shirts and hats to stop muggings, robberies, rapes, etc.  If they balk, remind them that “Change starts with me” and that they should “Be the change you want to see.”

If “gun free” zones make us safer, suggest that they tell that to the Secret Service and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. I’m sure they’ll change how they protect people right away.

The fact that these signs don’t exist in large numbers is a tacit admission that gun haters and people who are ignorant about guns KNOW, at some level, that gun free zones don’t work.

Equally silly is the thought that gun free zones reduce crime…they simply change the location.

First off, someone who intends on murdering large numbers of people will commit 5 or more misdemeanors and/or felonies in the process of firing their first shot. Do you really think that someone intent on murdering innocent people cares about breaking 1 additional law? Do you really think that someone who intends on killing themselves or committing suicide by cop cares about additional penalties from a judge? Of course not.

Next, gun free zones don’t reduce crime because they change the behavior of moral and ethical people who carry guns more than the behavior of murderers.  In fact gun free zones are a common factor that mass murderers cite for how they picked the locations of their crimes.

Concealed carry permit holders tend to be law abiding citizens…both because it’s their general nature and it’s kind of a requirement to get the permit. As a result, a higher percentage of concealed carry permit holders obey gun free zone signs and laws than murdering psychopaths.

Myth #2. Highly Trained Law Enforcement Will Arrive Immediately And Save You. Law enforcement is my literal and figurative family.  They are short-changed when it comes to the training they get and what’s expected of them.  The average officer receives about as much firearms training as a dog groomer before starting work.  MANY patrol officers across the country only do their 1 day of mandatory training and qualifying per year and do zero practice with their firearms the rest of the year.  Other officers are world class shooters who regularly do extensive reality based training and are training for the fight every day.

On average in the US, it will take 11 minutes for law enforcement to arrive (assuming that someone is connected with a HUMAN 911 operator the instant that the murdering starts).  If a motivated murderer is unchallenged, they will historically shoot an average of 6-20 victims per minute.  When law enforcement arrives, you may get an officer who shoots once a year and doesn’t really like guns or you may get an officer who does dry fire before every shift and has mentally rehearsed and prepared themselves for this situation.  They have trained themselves to fight through the pain of minor gunshot wounds (like the officer in Uvalde).  They have no quit in them and will finish the fight.

It is rare that a school resource officer has both the temperament to be a school resource officer AND be able to flip the switch and pursue a lethal aggressor.  It happens and I’ve trained with one, but it’s rare.  It’s much more likely that in a school full of teachers, administrators, and support staff that there will be a frustrated warrior or two who will already have the mindset and training to solve the problem…we just need to make sure they aren’t prevented from having the tools they need.

Myth #3 Common sense laws will stop mass shootings. We have more than 20,000 gun laws on the books in the US. What’s the magic next law that will make all of the bad people stop doing bad things?

The only thing that would take care of gun crime would be to eliminate guns. By definition, a country with zero (not even 1 gun) guns would have zero gun crime.

We’ve got more than 300 million guns in the US. They’re not going away. If they’re outlawed, then the law would disproportionately affect law abiding citizens. (remember, murderers don’t care about laws or the consequences of breaking them.)

But if we look at how this has worked out in DC, Chicago, Australia, the UK, and other places with strict gun laws, we see that it doesn’t work out well for law enforcement or the general public.

It didn’t work out well for Jews in Germany in the 30s, or minorities in ANY country throughout history that has been disarmed.

Look at Austria…one recent Muslim extremist mass murderer ran his car into a crowd and then got out and started stabbing the survivors.

Look at China…in the last few years, they’ve seen almost a dozen mass school stabbings and hammer attacks, including one where the attacker beat preschoolers in the head with a hammer and then lit himself on fire. Within 24 hours of the Sandy Hook attacks, one murderer stabbed 22 children in an attack in China. In another attack, 4 Muslim extremists used knives to kill 29 civilians and injure 140 others at the Kunming railway station.

Look at Northern Ireland…when gun ownership was prohibited for certain groups, those groups became targets of violence from the groups who could still own guns. Explosives, knives, rocks, and deadly modifications to potato guns took their place to fill the role of the gun. Violence didn’t go away with gun confiscation.

When someone thinks that gun laws will solve the problem of mass shootings, they need to ask themselves what the point is, to protect innocent people or convict guilty people more harshly after they’re dead?

Additional laws only allow for harsher penalties to be enforced, after the fact, on a murdering psychopath.

If you want to protect innocent people from murdering psychopaths who are comfortable breaking laws, you need to look to another solution than more laws. A solution like the most effective way to STOP the attacker.

Myth #4. Locking doors, hiding, throwing cans, and pleading/begging are effective strategies for stopping the threat.

We live in a time where we can find out an amazing amount of detail about EVERY active shooter situation that has happened in the US in recent history. We can see where these strategies were all tried and the outcome. None of them STOP the threat. They may delay death, reduce the number of innocent deaths, change who dies, create time and space for additional attacks, or change the location of deaths, but they don’t stop the threat on their own.

Myth #5. You’re unarmed if you don’t have a gun. This mindset is absolutely toxic. Poisonous. Corrosive. Venomous. Deadly. Wrong.

Yet it’s a common line of thinking for people who have it in their mind that a gun is a magical laser beam that gives the holder supernatural 1 shot killing ability that can only be matched by another gun.

The gun is just a tool that allows the mind to exert it’s influence kinetically at a distance.

The mind is the weapon that decides whether or not to wield tools in a moral and ethical manner or in a psychopathical/sociopathical manner.

As an example, what would have happened if some of the people who kneeled/layed down would have fought the attacker after he shot his first victim? Would they have been killed trying to stop him? Maybe.

We know that at the Umpqua shooting in 2015, at the first sign of armed resistance (from police in this case), the killer ran, hid, and shot himself in the head, ending the killing. If that would have happened after he shot his first or second victim, it wouldn’t have even been considered a “mass shooting.”

I need to be clear…I’m not surprised that nobody who was lined up to get executed fought back.

One soldier, Chris Mintz, actually did fight back at Umpqua…and a lot more. He set off fire alarms, directed students away from the shooting, and then headed towards the gunfire, and attempted to block a door so the gunman couldn’t get through.

He stopped fighting when he was mechanically unable to…because he had one or both legs broken from being shot.

But nobody joined him. And it doesn’t surprise me. And I wouldn’t have expected them to act any differently than they did unless they had different training. The phrase, “you’ll perform half as well in battle as you do in training” applies. If you have zero training, then your expected performance will be that you’ll freeze, cower, or run…and running is probably the best option for someone with no training, but history tells us that the untrained are much more likely to freeze or panic than deliberately run.

When someone who has no training cowers, it’s not cowardly. It’s a reflection of a lack of training. You can’t be expected to perform beyond the level of your training…and that’s why training is SO important, like the Praxis Dynamic Gunfight Training course that goes WAY beyond static, sterile, paper-punching skills that most gun owners call “training.”

But an effective response could have been simple, like grabbing fire extinguishers and, as Clint Smith says, “spray ‘em with the white stuff and then hit them with the red thing.”  It completely baffles me that every classroom in the country doesn’t have at least 2 fire extinguishers for this purpose.  It’s relatively inexpensive, most likely donated, not threatening, and it’s something that could be implemented any day of the week.  A big crowd-control sized pepper spray can may freak out parents, but would a fire extinguisher attached to the teacher’s desk?

It could have been deploying a concealed carry firearm. We have super-stupid federal “gun free zone” legislation that should be eliminated immediately, as well as state laws regarding carry at schools, but that brings up a VERY important point that few concealed carry permit holders know.

In many cases, it is “against the rules” but not illegal to carry a concealed carry firearm in a gun free zone. In other cases, it results in being asked to leave. In other cases, it’s a simple, minor misdemeanor, like trespassing. In other cases, it’s a serious misdemeanor. In other cases, it’s a felony. We have an inconsistent, illogical patchwork of gun laws in this country and you NEED to know the laws where you live.

You could be a teacher somewhere where carrying a gun in a gun free zone on campus might be legal but against school policy and just mean a firm talking-to or it could be losing a job or a serious crime with possible jail time.

If not a fire extinguisher or a gun, then Tasers (not stun guns), knives, pepper spray, or other purpose built or improvised defensive tools combined with offensive strikes can easily change the number of innocent people who were murdered.

But, again, these things are simply TOOLs. The only weapon is the mind. And an effective tool in the hands of someone with an ineffective mind is useless. You must train the mind.

You must train the mind to see targets on the human body.

Watch any UFC fight and you’ll see trained fighters hitting each other in the head and body for 5, 10, and 15 minutes at a time. This illustrates just how ineffective most strikes—even really hard strikes from professional fighters—are at stopping a threat.

A fighter will absorb massive kick after kick after kick and keep fighting, but if their left nut gets grazed, the ref will stop the fight and give them a chance to recover.

A fighter will absorb dozens of punches to the face, but if they barely get touched with a pinky finger in the eye, the ref will stop the fight and give them a chance to recover.

Fighters will try to “knock a guy’s head off” for an entire fight with strikes you can feel from home, but any one of these strikes delivered a few inches lower, to the throat or side of the neck, would instantly knock him out or crush their opponents’ windpipe.

Targeting matters, but conditioning the mind matters too. You must train the mind to be able to switch from the loving, caring, empathetic, socialized person that you are to a cold-hearted robot with ice flowing in your veins JUST long enough to stop the threat with the minimum force necessary to preserve human life.

And the most scientific and proven way that we know of to do this is with the Fight To Your Gun training

It’s based on gross motor movements and what’s in your environment, so it’s effective on younger, faster, bigger, and stronger attackers and it’ll allow you to stop a lethal force threat at bad breath distance faster than you could with a concealed carry pistol.

I’d suggest people buy it before they buy their first gun. You can learn more about it >HERE<

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?  Please share by commenting below


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  • BJI

    Reply Reply May 26, 2022

    According to the latest news THERE WAS NO WOUNDED SCHOOL OFFICER at the Uvalde school massacre!!! The shooter WENT IN UNAPPOSED!!!

    • Ox

      Reply Reply May 26, 2022

      I can not confirm nor deny that, but I can and will say that there is a TON of half-truths and complete fabrications being distributed. It would be wise to wait another day or so for final updates and timelines. This is a case where people filled in gaps, made assumptions, extrapolated based on those assumptions, and then went hyperbolic. Attempt to remain as detached and dispassionate as possible until the facts are in. The alternative is to get rip-sawed emotionally every time the story changes.

    • Vickie

      Reply Reply May 30, 2022

      There was an injury. The officer who killed the shooter was grazed by a bullet on the head.

      • BJI

        Reply Reply June 6, 2022

        YYYUUUPPP, the agent who put the shooter down WAS wounded BUT that was about an hour AFTER the shooter got in UNOPPOSED!

  • Kenn Hinick

    Reply Reply June 15, 2016

    The most powerful weapon in the world is a trained mind. A gunman anticipates that the normal person will freeze or attempt to run and hide. The last thing he expects is to be rushed by the crowd. Doing the unexpected puts you in a position where you may be able to confuse the gunman and if acted upon by several individuals from all directions will take away the shooters advantage and while some may be injured or even die, the objective it to neutralize the shooter at all cost. If you are going to die at least do it while attempting to save others. Sometimes it only takes one to react to have others follow suit.

  • Left Coast Chuck

    Reply Reply June 14, 2016

    I don’t know what has happened to our police departments. It took three hours for the Orlando P.D., the county sheriff’s department, the Florida sate police and whatever other law enforcement was on scene to undertake any action in this case. I don’t know how many people died in the interval between the first arrival of police personnel on the scene and the final shootout.

    In 1966, three police officers and a civilian stormed the Texas Tower and shot Charles Whitman who had killed 49 people while shooting from that edifice. As soon as the three officers arrived on the scene they undertook to carry the fight to Whitman even though only armed with .38 revolvers and shotguns whereas Whitman had at least one rifle. He actually had an M-1 carbine together with a 6 mm Remington rifle, shotgun and several handguns. The three officers and one civilian who had a rifle took Whitman out. They didn’t have bullet resistant vests. They didn’t have hand-held radios. They didn’t have helmets. They didn’t have semi-automatic pistols with large capacity magazines. They didn’t have rifles. The civilian had a rifle that he had borrowed from someone to participate in the assault on the killer. They didn’t have an armored Bearcat to allow them access to the Texas Tower. They had to use cover and concealment to advance on the building. I thought it had been decided by police departments after the Columbine shooting that the best course of action was immediate assault on the shooter or shooters. Apparently Orlando P.D. didn’t get the memo on that.

    In any event, I think this failure on the part of the Orlando P.D. points up the message contained in this post. You absolutely cannot wait for law enforcement to rescue you. You must rely on your actions to survive a situation like this. Of course training help because if nothing else, it provides you with ideas about how to proceed. You need a plan and it needs to be vigorously executed. Was it Gen. George S. Patton who said “Even a poor plan vigorously executed is better than no plan at all”? Whether it was him or not, it is a truism that needs to be in the forefront of our minds in these situations.

    If just twenty out of the fifty murdered had handguns, the perpetrator would have been overwhelmed and eliminated. It appears there was several hundred people in the night club at the time. If only half of them were armed, even with snubby revolvers, the perpetrator would have been shot to pieces and a large number of lives saved. It is an absolute shame on all of our legislative bodies that a situation like this is allowed to exist.

    Sorry to rant on like this, but once again I feel the law enforcement community has allowed a slaughter to go on while they had the means at hand to ameliorate the situation.

  • jeff

    Reply Reply June 14, 2016

    Don’t leave home without it,keep available and handy and ready to use.Stay focused on where you are and don’t lose sight of your target.We live in a tough world today and be ready for anything

  • Dave

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    The number one myth is…that you are safe from a criminal with a gun…

    • Ox

      Reply Reply October 17, 2015

      So, there are a couple of ways people could take that…

      1. you are safe from a criminal who is armed with a gun.
      2. you are safe from a criminal if you are armed with a gun.

      Could you elaborate? Neither of them really make sense at face value…

      The first one doesn’t make sense because you would be in some danger if you face an armed criminal no matter what they’re armed with.

      The second one doesn’t make sense because the best way to be safer in the face of a violent attack is to be able to stop the violent attack and the only way to do that is with the skilled use of force. And, as most will agree, guns are the most compact, cheapest, and most effective way to apply force at a distance to stop a threat and preserve maximum life.

      • Scot

        Reply Reply June 14, 2016

        I think Dave is saying that the number one myth about gun – free zones is to think that when you are in one you are “Safe from a criminal with a gun”.

        Unfortunately, most “sheeple” think exactly that, “Oh, a gun-free zone! We are safe in here!”

        Basically a restating of your Myth #1, but more simply stated.

        • Ox

          Reply Reply June 14, 2016

          Copy that

  • Daryl

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    Hey, Ox,
    Spot-on, as usual. This is probably the most intelligent, well thought out article on this subject I’ve read to date. The mind set that we are all armed with a brain, and more weapons than we realize, is to me, the most critical training needed by our citizens in this increasingly gun control age. If you are anti-gun, then what alternative to violence perpetrated on you or your family do you have available to you? I am 79 years old, and fortunately, in pretty good shape, and have a CCW Permit. I carry everyday, and thanks to TFT, feel comfortable even in a Gun Free Zone. You are never un-armed! The DVD training is excellent, and no one should go forth in this day and age without this training. Thanks again for condensing these points so effectively. Great material for a public speech at Kiwanis. God Bless1

  • Vincent

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    I am Australian and pro gun. Awesome post I agree with everything you said except for one thing. The situation that you mentioned that happened in Australia actually happened in Israel. We did have an extremist attack a police station in Parramatta recently. Keep up the good work

    • Ox

      Reply Reply October 16, 2015

      Hey Vincent, thanks for the heads-up…we were both wrong! It happened in Austria and I’ve changed it in the article, thanks to you pointing out my error. Thanks.

  • David Eberhardt

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    I always take time to thoroughly read and digest these articles. Everything here is spot on. I have purchase the Concealed Carry Masters Course and a few items from TFT. I plan on enrolling in the new TFT membership website as well.

  • Sam W.

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    The government loves gun free zones, drugs, and refugees. Each time one causes a problem is another opportunity for more people control. ( gun control )

  • Sam W.

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    I work in a gun free zone. We moved buildings a few years ago and went from twelve fire extinguishers to four. At almost double the square footage.
    I have left empty mop handles in non-public areas as a last ditch weapon. Anyone asks they are for rabid animal control. I have used them effectively for that.

    • Sam W.

      Reply Reply October 16, 2015

      I forgot to mention, we have no public fire alarm pulls in the new building. They have been automated. Smoke detectors only.

    • D W

      Reply Reply June 14, 2016

      Sam W. FWIW I am not sure, but having that few of fire extinguisher maybe an OSHA violation?

  • Robert Rixford

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    David –

    Almost everything in this article has been said before. BUT, you worded it and put it together in such a manner that it was easily understood and very impactful(?)

    I could even see an ardent ‘anti-gunner’ reading this and taking note.

    A great article, with good information and masterfully written – GOOD JOB!

  • nick

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    You are Right about the Myths, I’m CERTAIN more of them could be thought up. But I’d like to point out that there is one FACT that negates any and all myths and arguments for OR against the “Gun Free Zone” and THAT is the fact they do NOT exist ANYWHERE except in the minds of the IGNORANT FOOLS that believe in them. Just like Santa Clause etc……….

  • Mr.Moore

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    I must say this again. As people don’t seam to understand it.
    IF you use your Gun and shoot someone.
    When the police come. NEVER. NEVER. & I mean NEVER talk with the police. NEVER.
    Just Give you name . And say I was in fear for my life. I want a Lawyer. Say no more until you have one with you.
    Also never give a warning shot. you will go to jail for that.
    The Police come after the fact. And they are there to put you away if they can..
    Know your rights and use them. If you think the police are on your side.. Think again.

    • Marty

      Reply Reply June 15, 2016

      “The police are there to put you away”, horseshit. The policed are there to get the facts. Granted, you want to give only the barest of info and you absolutely want an attorney. The cops generally want to put criminals in jail, not the good guys. If you have to shoot someone, generally it’s a criminal and you are the victim. You want to request an attorney, and more then likely the cops will understand. You don’t want to be an asshole about it. That will more than likely get you thrown into jail. If you had to shoot someone, your life had better have been in danger and the scene will probably tell exactly that. Even as a retired law enforcement professional, I carry insurance for just this reason and so should every person who legally carries. But don’t give me your crap about the cops only desire is to put the victim in jail. You sound like a ‘black lives matter’ idiot.

      • Realist

        Reply Reply June 17, 2016

        You are right all you have to do is ask Johanes Mehserle in the BART shooting. He refused to give any statement on the advice of his attorney and look what happened to him. The District Attorney filed the case because he did not have any information from Mehserle. It’s called a public safety statement. You give a brief statement as to what happened, why you shot and are there any other suspects or victims, that is it. Most shootings it is obvious as who is at fault. However if you know it is a bad shooting then keeping your mouth shut is a good idea.

  • E. B.

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    I hope the training videos etc you offer are successful. I think its a great idea and a generally affordable way for someone of limited means to obtain at least some training, but the word “mandatory” used in conjunction with gun ownership just rubs me the wrong way, unless it is accompanied by the phrase “free of charge”

    I understand that you can’t afford to do that, because designing and delivering training costs money too. I applaud your attempt to distribute it at minimal cost.

    While I am more than willing to agree with you that anyone who owns a firearm for self-defense should take the additional responsibility of obtaining proper training in its use, I strongly disagree that such “training SHOULD be mandatory for every gun owner in the country”

    In the best of all possible worlds, everyone should have the financial ability to purchase a quality firearm(s), sufficient ammo to maintain proficiency, and have enough disposable income left over for training, but that is not the reality. The reality is that the people most likely to need a firearm for self defense are living in violent and/or depressed communities at or below the poverty line.

    For a person living in those circumstances any “Mandatory” regulation attached to firearm ownership that increases the cost of that ownership, effectively disarms them ,denying them their rights as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

    Time and time again we have seen political gun-grabbers attempt end-runs around the Second Amendment by increasing the cost of gun ownership through direct taxes, licensing, permits, insurance, and storage requirements that effectively disarm certain groups of law-abiding citizens.

    I don’t think disarming law abiding citizens by requiring that they purchase training they may not be able to afford falls within the spirit of the Second Amendment.

    Again, I truly appreciate your efforts to get this training as close to free as possible.

    • Marty

      Reply Reply June 15, 2016

      I understand your compassion about folks with limited funds. But you are completely off course. A person with the intelligence to purchase a firearm, HAS to have the training to safely use it. If not, it is a disaster waiting for a place to happen. Even if the person can’t afford commercial training, they can learn from experienced shooters, often retired military and law enforcement. As a retired police detective and police firearms instructor, I’m always happy to help folks learn the basic fundamentals and if I enjoy being with the folks, get into tactics and such. A lot of police departments have a civilian firearms class offered, sometimes thru a local community college. I know my department did as I was one of the instructors. The class was very inexpensive, all you paid for was ammo and a few bucks for registration and we even supplied the weapons. If you are sincere about wanting to learn, there are sources out there to teach you.

  • Patv

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    There’s what I call a ‘warrior mindset’. It’s simply “not going to f******* happen while I can do something”. But it takes training. I did martial arts (as both student and instructor) for about 15 years, as a fighting and not a ‘point scoring’ art. We fought until the instructor said stop – no matter what happened. It was interesting the first time someone got hit hard – it took a few times before they began to simply fight their way through it. But you learn by exposure.

    Many people are ‘sheeple”. It’s not a matter of training – it’s a matter of recognizing what’s important. My life – your life – my family is important, and I’ll rip the head off anyone as best I can (keys can make a nice weapon, and trust me, a broom or mop can be deadly) that trifles with that.

    It scares to me so many people would just line up. I think if you go back 40 years, that wouldn’t have happened. Too many people have the “it’s not my job” mindset (eg, sheeple). This fundamentally has to stop.

    I also wonder why the government doesn’t embrace the ‘minuteman’ approach – people are going to carry guns, give them the right training and exposure to be successful and not a potential danger to themselves and others….At the very least, I would like to see more training (including recurring) to maintain concealed carry, including ‘real life’ shoot houses….

    And, while I’m ranting…. GUNS ARE NOT JUST A ACCESSORY FOR YOUR OUTFIT. People with guns in the bottoms of purses or bottom of briefcases are ludicrous. How the hell can anyone get to an airport and FORGET they are carrying?

    • Duane

      Reply Reply June 14, 2016

      I went into the post office with my brother, when he went through the metal detector, I told him, “I have to go back out to the truck for a minute, he came with me and was angry at me for carrying!!, and had I been alert to the fact that I was carrying, I would never have gone into the post office with it…It becomes like your watch, you forget you have it on!!, nd quite a few people get in trouble for this very reson!!

      • Marty

        Reply Reply June 15, 2016

        A post office with a metal detector? Hell, the post offices in my area don’t even have a ‘no weapons’ sign any longer. I know it’s illegal to carry in a post office, the original ‘gun free zone’, but at the time it was the postal employees that were the problem. My rule is and has been, if guns aren’t allowed, they don’t want my business, simple as that, and I wouldn’t want to spend my money in a place which doesn’t care about my safety.

  • Owen

    Reply Reply October 16, 2015

    Why don’t more people have training?
    Because the Government doesn’t want people trained.
    When the first aircraft hijackings started, the directions given were to sit back, relax, they just want to use the plane and you will be alright. The directions have not gotten any better, but since 9-11, fewer people believe that things will be okay.
    Get trained.

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