I was out with my boyfriend this weekend when I got a news update from CNN about the tragic shooting in Pittsburg. As someone who is religious myself, it terrified me to think that one of the places I go to feel safe could be brought down by gun violence. But it also got me thinking one thing that I couldn't shake.
Gun-free zones are basically just giant glowing targets for anybody who wants to commit a mass murder.
Hear me out. Guns used to scare me and I was all for stricter laws so they didn't get into the hands of the wrong people. Being from Chicago, who has some of the strictest gun laws yet worst gun violence rates in the country, I began to see the flaws in this logic.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 97.5% of shootings happen in gun-free zones. Let that sink in for a moment.
Fast forward a few years to a party that my boyfriend, a firefighter, and I attended with his friends, the majority of which are firefighters as well. We were about to have a water balloon war and it shocked me how many guys lifted up their shirts to remove guns from their waistbands. Instead of the uneasy feeling I thought I would have, it honestly made me feel safer.
Anybody who wants to carry out a mass shooting will do it, and they will do it in a place where they know nobody will shoot back: gun-free zones. Think about it. Where have all of the most recent mass shootings taken place? Sandy Hook. Parkland. Vegas. Now the Tree of Life synagogue. These were all gun-free zones.
The sad truth is that somebody can cause you a whole lot more damage when you have to rely solely on the police to protect you. They never get there before at least a dozen people die and that isn't their fault. It is just reality.
You may be thinking, "But then why do we never hear of other people with guns stopping shootings?" Because it is not part of the mass media's agenda. It happens more frequently than you may think, like in this attempted robbery stopped by an armed customer, or these heroes who didn't let a gunman get away after attempting to shoot up a restaurant.
In this era of mass shootings, gun-free zones should no longer be a thing.
All these zones do are give shooters a target. A target that they know is unarmed, unprotected and unknowing because they think they are in a safe place.
No, I'm not saying we should arm every teacher and priest. That would be nuts. But if my campus wasn't a gun-free zone, my handgun would be in my backpack at all times. Why? Because who is going to mess with the girl who has a gun? Nobody. Just like who is going to mess around and try a mass shooting in a place where someone might have a gun? Nobody smart and nobody who will get very far with it.
We look at guns as the enemy when they are a form of protection that we need to be using. The Founding Fathers knew it, the Republicans know it, and we need to know it too.
Your gun-free zones won't stop mass shootings. Those of us with the concealed carry permits and handguns in our waistbands will.