Act Accordingly: Even If They Can, Police Have No Duty to Protect You

Kansas City Super Bowl parade security video

It is a myth that police have a constitutional duty to protect you. It has been firmly established by the Supreme Court of the United States that police have no such duty.

More than 800 police officers were on duty at the recent Kansas City, Missouri Super Bowl parade and surrounding areas, both on the ground and above on rooftops. Yet 22 people were shot by two juveniles, one recently confirmed as possessing a stolen firearm. People find themselves asking how this could possibly happen with 800 cops patrolling the event.

This is a stark reminder that the police have no constitutional duty to protect you. And that’s completely separate from their ability to be there when you need them.

Knowing this, you should have the mindset to prepare, to train, and to act accordingly. We’ve seen this time and again, most disturbingly, at Uvalde, Texas where the School District Police Department failed to stop a madman who shot and killed two teachers and 19 children.

The assumption that police will protect you is a fatal error that could send you to your grave and the courts have ruled, time and again, they they aren’t obligated to do so.

In 1981, the D.C. Court of Appeals found police have a general public duty, but “no specific legal duty exists” outside of a special relationship, i.e., being in custody, in Warren V. D.C..  In that case, women living upstairs in a boarding house heard an assault and rape taking place on a lower floor. They called the police, who knocked on the door and then left. When called again, the police didn’t return to help, and the women were victimized.

In 1989, the Court decided in DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dept. of Social Services that a social services department had no duty to protect a boy from his abusive father. The petitioner argued that the failure to act deprived him of his liberty in violation of the 14th Amendment. In her capacity as a child welfare worker, however, a woman was shielded from liability for failing to protect children.

In the 2005 case Castle Rock v. Gonzales a woman sued the local police department for repeatedly failing to protect her from her husband who had violated a restraining order. He abducted and killed the couple’s three daughters. When she called police reporting that the children had been kidnapped in violation of the order, the police told her there was nothing they could do, refusing to enforce the court order or to help her find her children.

In all of these instances, we find the most vulnerable in our society — children and women — attacked and killed. Yet anti-gunners hold on tightly to the notion that only police should be armed. They’re willing to sacrifice women and even children to advance their civilian disarmament objective. It’s time to stop this.

According to Crime Research Prevention Center, 96% of “mass public shootings” happen in so-called gun-free zones. That, combined with the reality that police have no constitutional duty to protect you, should be a wake-up call. It’s malicious to disarm law-abiding people who have every right to defend themselves and their children. It’s an act of violence to disarm the innocent.

Patterns emerge, and repeat. People gather in schools, at parades, in movie theaters to learn, to celebrate, and to be entertained. These places are designated as so-called sensitive places, with “Gun Free Zone” signs posted. Police may even have a presence there. Yet tragedy strikes when all these designations, signs, and the magical beliefs in promoting “safety” fail.

Courtesy X

After a high profile shooting in a designated gun-free zone, there are always more calls to enact even more laws. This is designed to distract you from the failure of the current laws that already prohibited what happened. Doubling down on zero, still gives you nothing. More bad laws on top of those already proven to have failed provide no actual safety for anyone.

If a “no guns” sign is a business’s only security plan, it’s beyond negligent. It shifts the balance in favor of bad actors at what could be the expense of your life.

Signs aren’t an effective security plan. The police have no constitutional duty to protect you, even if they’re there. Taking all of this into account, ask yourself…what is your security plan?


Theresa Inacker, an attorney and Second Amendment advocate, is a member of the US Supreme Court bar, the New Jersey delegate to Women for Gun Rights, and serves as the Communications Director for the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners.

9 Responses

  1. Today is day 1 of the ‘Rust’ movie trial of the armorer, search for the Emily D. Baker channel on YouTube, it’s *live* right now, 11:50 AM EST…

    1. Oh, she’s screwed herself.

      She gave a statement on the day of the shooting that said :

      “I just, I don’t know. I wish I would have checked it more.”

      We can only hope Baldwin made a similar damming statement when his trial (eventually) starts…

  2. gun free zones, defined:

    “gun (gŭn) free (frē) zone (zōn)

    * Trap in which people congregate and are falsely promised safety by a make believe force field of a ‘No Guns” prohibition.

    * A place where people are disarmed and not permitted self-defense with firearms.

    * Hunting grounds for violent predator criminals and violent mentally ill killers where defenseless prey is guaranteed by law.

    * Place where existing laws against violent crimes do not work to prevent violent crimes the laws are touted to be able to prevent.

    * Places designed to attract violently mentally ill predators.

    * Places where police forces cease to operate to protect before the fact of a violent crime as they are touted to be able to do by politicians implying.

  3. What infuriates me is that the authorities not only have no duty to act, but enjoy qualified immunity when they screw up (except in extreme situations).

    Ergo, cop decides just to sit back and intentionally allows you to be injured because he’s a coward, late for his 10AM donut run, or just plain lazy . . . no legal recourse.

    If cop screws up and acts illegally and injures you . . . he gets a pass unless it was “clearly settled law” that exactly what he did was illegal (which almost never is the case).

    But if one of us non-LE’s use deadly force to protect ourselves or others, even if it’s justified in much of the country it’s still going to be open season on us.

  4. Theresa, thank you for this eye-opener! I think most people would find this disturbing, to say the least! Well written and informative. Thank you

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