Would you post a sign on your front yard saying “This house is a gun-free zone?” No matter how much you hate guns, your gut reaction is likely “Certainly not!” Intuitively, we know that such a sign makes our home a target for criminals, who don’t obey gun bans any more than they obey the laws against rape, theft, and murder. Advertising that you and yours are defenseless is never a good idea.
Similarly, when bars, schools, and other public venues are posted as “gun-free zones,” we should be wary. After all, over 98% of the mass public shootings in the United States occur in places where guns, even those carried by law-abiding citizens with permits, are banned (1).
Much of the tragedy that happened at Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando, in the wee hours of June 12 could have—and should have—been prevented. Had any of the patrons been carrying a firearm, the perpetrator might have been quickly stopped. Instead, at least 50 people lost their lives and a similar number were injured.
Mass shooters do consider where they can find helpless victims (2,3,4). After all, most of these killing sprees are pre-meditated, so the ability to execute their victims without minimal interference is a significant part of their planning.
Instead of doing away with gun-free zones, where killers enjoy open season on those who can’t fight back, many politicians are calling for more victim disarmament. These same politicians, who want to deny private citizens the ability to defend themselves, often have armed body guards for themselves—sometimes paid for with our tax dollars (5,6,7).
If our politicians can use guns to protect themselves, why shouldn’t we be able to?