Sunday, August 14, 2016

Response Time “Zero”: Gun-Free Zones vs. Concealed Weapons

Gary O. Perkins, Missouri CSG Student

Current laws should be changed to allow concealed carry (CCW) permit holders to be armed in gun-free zones (GFZ).
Language of Liberty

Two scenarios to consider:

First, you have a CCW license and are out for a normal day. You find yourself in a GFZ. Therefore, you don’t have your gun as current law prohibits it. A shooting breaks out. Without your gun, what do you do? Do you flee or hide? Being unarmed, your options are limited. The outcome for you and fellow citizens may be completely out of your control. Although law enforcement in our nation is outstanding and officers are trained for such events, their response is reactive, taking several minutes. That means people die.

In the second scenario the law allows holders of a CCW license to be armed in GFZs. You are now a potential first responder rather than a defenseless, likely victim. In this scenario, the criminal has unknowingly lost a vital advantage. Circumstances may allow you to end the threat or at least minimize deaths. And given CCW training mandated in some states, or the application of just plain common sense, you understand the conditions under which it may be best to not engage the shooter if you can’t do so safely.

Which of these provides the potential for a better outcome? What does your gut--your natural survival instinct--tell you?

Statistics show that gun sales and CCW applications spike after news reports of shootings. People instinctively realize the need to assert their inherent, natural right to take responsibility for their own well-being.

In many states, those who apply for a CCW must take a gun safety course that includes shooting range time. Knowledge is power. Individuals who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with guns become more confident with training and practice. Moreover, both FBI and state statistics demonstrate the rate of gun crimes committed by CCW permit holders is exceptionally low.   

Here are some facts about guns and Concealed Carry:   

• Studies have shown that Defensive Gun Use (DGU) by citizens may take place more than 2.5 million times per year. In 15.7% of DGU incidences, a firearm saved lives.

• A government study indicates significant DGUs nationwide. Defensive gun use is six times that of criminal gun use, proving that citizens who carry deter crime without incident.  This proves out the saying “An armed society is a polite society”.

• 80% of DGUs involve concealed handguns.

• 77% of all gun crimes occur in public.

• States tracking violent crime data on CCW permit holders show consistently low rates.

• From 1987-2014, Florida issued more than 2.5 million CCW permits. Of these only 168 CCW permit holders, or .0067% of the total, committed firearm crimes.

• Likewise, Texas data for 4,295,434 CCW permits from 1996 to 2011 indicate 30 crimes, or a crime rate of .0007% for CCW holders.  

• Of all the alternatives to prevent mass public shootings, law enforcement officers cite trained civilians with CCW permits as the most effective.  Eighty-six percent (86%) believe mass-shooting casualties would likely have been reduced or avoided all together.

Law abiding citizens must not be rendered defenseless as a result of sensationalized media reports that fit the narrative of gun control advocates. Statistics simply do not bear out the claims of disproportional news reports. For facts make it clear that where there is more gun control, there is more violent crime against citizens.  According to USA Today, Chicago, with the city’s strict gun control laws in place, has just experienced a drastic spike in gun related violence.   

What a predator does with a weapon has more to do with the evil intent of the heart than the availability of guns.  Guns are no more the cause of murder than are spoons the cause of obesity or cars the cause of drunk driving. A gun is a tool; it is as good or bad as the man using it.

Statistics prove that more than 99% of the time, people with ill intent obtain guns illegally, regardless of gun laws. They will avoid a legal paper trail at all costs. Were guns unavailable, these predators would use other means to commit crimes. Data from nations that have banned guns reveals a concomitant increase in the number of violent crimes on the unarmed society, with now fearless criminals using illegally obtained guns, knives, hammers and other objects. 

The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 has not made schools immune to shootings because criminals, by definition, ignore the constraint of laws.

Some schools have a law enforcement officer on-site, often referred to a resource officer. Although a good start, this is insufficient. School policy should allow CCW license holders on staff to defend themselves and students. The same should apply in other GFZs, allowing law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon. Such changes would create multiple lines of defense with citizens as potential first responders in an active shooter event. Soft targets would disappear. People with evil intent would be put on notice that citizens have taken action to defend themselves; they are no longer relegated to a defenseless victim class.

In each area with CCW or Constitutional carry laws in place, violent crime rates remain lower than in gun-restricted areas.

A fear-based message concerning firearms invariably relies on concealment of actual data as facts give way to a purely emotional narrative and unfounded talking points. Advocates of so-called “common sense” gun control present faulty arguments which defy both truth and fact.

Exercising our natural right of self-defense is the best deterrent to perpetrators of gun crimes. Instead of ridiculous “Gun-Free Zone” signs, the signs should read: “Criminal Free Zone: Protection Provided by Armed Citizens.” Response time for citizen first-responders would become zero and criminals would enter at their own peril.

The Language of Liberty series is a collaborative effort of the Center for Self Governance (CSG) Administrative Team. CSG is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization, dedicated to training citizens in applied civics. The authors include administrative staff, selected students, and guest columnists. The views expressed by the authors are their own and do not reflect the views of CSG. They may be contacted at

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