Concealed Carry Self Defense in Gun Free Zones - TheArmsGuide.com

Published on October 8th, 2013 | by James Ogletree

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Self Defense in Gun Free Zones

If you’ve been paying attention to violent crimes in the past year or so, many have occurred in “Gun Free Zones.” If you’re headed to a location where firearms are prohibited, how can you be prepared to defend yourself in the event of  an assault or an active-shooter situation? The Arms Guide has a few suggestions to consider.

Disclaimer: TheArmsGuide.com is not a source of legal counsel. If you have any questions about the self defense laws in your state, consult a legal professional.

Alternative Self Defense Tools

In instances when concealed carry firearms must be forgone, some degree of self defense in gun free zones is still possible through situational awareness and through the advent of alternative self defense tools.  For example, every day I always bring with me my rifle, pistol, at least one knife, a ballpoint pen, a pair of handcuffs, and a flashlight.  If I approach a “gun free zone,” I first secure my firearms, but the other components of my “every day carry” (or EDC) stay with me. Handcuffs are not necessarily common concealed carry tools for civilians, but carrying a pair of cuffs is an old habit I picked up from working loss prevention over the last four years (using them to detain shoplifters). So, I like to keep a pair with me. The knife serves as a handy tool for every day tasks that can also be utilized as a self defense implement. The flashlight serves a similar role—a practical every day tool, but with self defense applications (especially those with high lumen output and crenelated bezel for striking). Like the light and pocket knife, the pen I carry (a custom-made .50 BMG ballpoint pen) has a utility function, but can also be employed as an alternative self defense tool. My .50 cal pen is surprisingly heavy and features a pointed tip. This tactical pen can be used as a striking device, similar to a small kubaton, or used as a stabbing implement… not to mention, a .50 BMG pen just looks cool.

Monitor Body Language

Body language is louder than spoken words.  Every mood has a body language that goes along with it. For instance, when someone is nervous, they’ll play with their hands, bounce their leg, or look unsure. Something I learned in law enforcement training here in Florida is that, often times, when someone is about to commit an assault, their heads are pointed down, body is squared up to the intended victim, and even the slight movements from others have a way of shake them up or startle them more than what would seem normal.

Maintain Situational Awareness

One of the most important things you can do for your self defense, whether in gun free zones, or when concealed carrying, is to maintain situational awareneess. Keep your head on a swivel. Look at others around you, and make eye contact.  Eye contact tells the person you know they are there, and that alone could deter a crime in some cases. Something else you may want to consider is to not put ear buds in both ears blasting loud music. Blocking out the sounds from your environment hurts your ability to be totally aware of what’s going on around you. Even when I’m at the gym, I only use one ear bud so that I can maintain a degree of situational awareness while I’m working out. Lastly, be wary about when you fixate on your phone, such as while talking, texting, or surfing the ‘Net while you’re out and about.  Many criminals will want to target those who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings because it makes those individuals easier to surprise. Constantly look around, make eye contact, tuck the phone and ear buds into your pocket for later.

Gun free zones can reduce your ability to defend yourself in a time-is-life situation by depriving a concealed carrier of their firearms. However, being aware of your surroundings, watching the body language of those around you, and being prepared with alternative self defense tools can help improve your odds of surviving, or better yet, entirely avoiding, a self defense situation. How do you protect yourself in gun free zones?

Featured image courtesy of westernjournalism.com


20 comments
AlessioBaldi
AlessioBaldi

Since carry permits have become very difficult to obtain in Italy, we can practically carry anything for self defense. With the standard gun permits(for hunting or sporting purpose) we are only allowed to transport guns, unloaded and separated from the ammunition (not ready to be used). However though legal, being caught with an unloaded gun in the backpack or in the waist pack, in places like malls for example, is a good way to get the permit cut in a half and all the guns seized. If someone decide to carry that way, is at his own risk.

The only thing we are allowed to carry is pepper spray, and not the most powerful. The legal one is good to spice pasta, or to get an aggressor more pissed. Any other thing that could be used as a weapon, is forbidden. 

Situation awareness remains the only weapon.

Traveling for business in difficult areas of Italy, where micro-criminality is widespread, and mafia wars are far from being ended, developing situation awareness and learning to smell troubles has been mandatory. 

I can confirm that eye contact works! I've discouraged petty thieves more than once from being attracted by my van, my toolkit or my laptop bag. Sometimes I also discovered shoplifter, but in that cases I preferred to have them caught by security guards.

TimU
TimU

The best self-defense in a gun free zone is to not be in a gun free zone.

MNotLyon
MNotLyon

I'm thinking about buying a good sturdy cane. You can even carry one of these onto airplanes. Sometimes the ATF may question weather you need the cane or not. A simple statement of, "Are you discriminating against me" shuts them up. As far as I know, they're legal everywhere as long as you don't buy one with a hidden knife or gun. They can be very effective if you have good training.

JimmyOgletree
JimmyOgletree

canes are legal everywhere, I still have to use one from time to time from an old injury

Jim P.
Jim P.

The problem is that gun free zone owners need to finally realize that they don't work unless you actually prevent concealed carry.


If Wal-mart, Kroger, Best Buy of some other major merchandiser actually had metal detectors at the entrances the 2nd/4th/5th amendment effect would actually kick in.


I'm about to contact my state representative to modify the state law to insist that a gun free zone requires the organization to implement a security protocol as well. 

I know it is a forlorn hope, but just think that if they want to be a gun free zone then they have to have the security for the customer. I know it wouldn't have stopped many mass murders, but if we, as citizens, are on equal footing with the bad guy would it go on?

Pro2AGuy
Pro2AGuy

Article does a good job of providing suggestions on handling Anti-2A zones. Another way to show ones distaste for these 'gun-free' zones/businesses is to not patronage such by boycotting...

JimmyOgletree
JimmyOgletree

@Pro2AGuy problem is there are places that are gun free that cannot be avoided, like court houses, state attorney office, police headquarters, military bases, ETC,

Pro2AGuy
Pro2AGuy

@JimmyOgletree @Pro2AGuy No doubt about that but thank the Lord above I do not have to frequent these places (years since I have been to a Gov. facility). But you're 100% correct in that many do--lot easier when we are talking about private enterprises in America as opposed to "Big Brother" like institutions of which, ironically, we bankroll but have no say in the rules...

EricKmiecik
EricKmiecik

Interesting article!!! Lots of interesting ideas!!!

hawk60ce
hawk60ce

Good article. I never wear two earbuds at the same time. Another thing to consider after the Chris Kyle incident is investing in a pair of Earmuffs that amplify ambient noise when shooting at a range to help keep SA as high as possible. 

In my state rifles can be transported, but have to be separate from ammo. Is this the same case in your state?

Z0mb3hHunt3r
Z0mb3hHunt3r

@hawk60ce @JimmyOgletree Here in Kentucky we can have loaded firearms (Any kind of firearm too) in plain view without a CCDW permit, with we can conceal them. It does not designate the exact style of firearm, so anything goes. We also can have artificial knuckles, throwing stars, and combat knives concealed with the permit. Now open carrying a handgun in the car is a different story. It is considered concealed if it is under the seat, on the person, or in a compartment that is not installed by the manufacturer. So it can be in the seat next to you, the back seat, or on the dash. Rifles can sit next to you because they are not easily accessible. I like to keep my Gen 4 G17 sitting in the back seat, or in the passenger side glove compartment. Always loaded. I usually get some looks from officers because when it's in the car, I keep the Glock Box next to me, and it carries 2 33 rounders, and 4 17 rounders in it. 1 17 round magazine is always on my belt, and 17+1 is in the pistol. My AK I keep between the 2 front seats, muzzle up, with a 40 round magazine in it, with the stock under-folded, and an Ace Case shoulder magazine pouch with 6 Steel 30 rounders filled. 

Z0mb3hHunt3r
Z0mb3hHunt3r

@JimmyOgletree @Z0mb3hHunt3r @hawk60ce We also have Gun laws that make it illegal for firearms to be taken during a disaster. One of the double-edged swords of the firearm laws here in this state is that we have a preemptive gun law. We follow all Federal Laws, but the bright side is, counties and towns cannot pass ordinance against open carry or concealed carry. We also have a huge Heroin problem in my area, so I look at the Pro-Second Amendment laws as a god-send. I can even CCDW in my house without a permit, as long as I get permission from the property owner, or if I own the home. I just feel that I shouldn't have to pay to conceal a firearm so I do not. Here the Sheriff gets half of the payment, and the other half goes to the class. Pretty much $150 total. I'll have to buy in soon enough though. 

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