Carrying in ‘Non-Permissive’ Environments, Responding Cops, and You

No guns door sign gun-free zone

“Non-permissive” environments mean locations where someone doesn’t want good guys to carry their guns. These may be non-compliant signs that don’t “count” in some locales or states, or they may be statutorily prohibited locations. Either way, the “no guns” designation changes the mindset of police officers based upon their attitudes and prejudices. Even a non-compliant “no guns” sign can have that effect.

If you’re lucky and live in a state with relatively few of these “gun-free” zones, don’t stop reading. Spoiler alert: there’s important information dead ahead.

If a call is received for a “man with a gun” or “shots fired,” police will rush to the location looking for someone with a gun. Prohibited location or not, you need to know that the responding officers’ default mindset will likely be that anyone with a gun is probably a bad guy until proven otherwise.

“No guns” signs will only amplify that prejudice. Here’s something else to consider: the stronger the security protocols in a given location, the stronger that assumption will be that ‘only bad guys will have guns here’ on the part of most cops. Because what good guy would/could carry past a metal detector, right?

Sure, CCW non-believers will express skepticism that anything bad will actually happen in a prohibited location such as a hospital or an entertainment venue. And most of the time they will be right. At the same time, these uneducated, naive folks remain blissfully unaware that off-site parking lots or parking structures are an entirely different animal, especially after dark.

Parking lots are one of the three most likely locations for people to become the victims of violent crime in public. Gas stations are also on that list, and we’ll let readers ponder the third location.

In addition to keeping one’s tools on one’s person for defensive use in an emergency, having that gun with you also keeps that gun out of the hands of people who break into cars.

The big takeaway: Don’t be the “man with a gun” in your hand when police arrive. That has serious potential to be very hazardous to your health. The general rule for CCW holders: get the gun re-holstered as soon as it’s safe to do so, because every moment the gun is visible increases the likelihood of the good guy with a gun being shot by another good guy.

That goes double in “non-permissive” environments because responding officers aren’t going to offer a lot of opportunities to surrender before they open fire. Moreover, from your perspective, you will be fighting the very real effects of stress-induced tunnel vision and auditory exclusion if you’re anywhere close to a gun battle.

So, if you’re in one of those prohibited locations while carrying your little friend, be forewarned to never draw your gun short of the the certainty that “Aw, shucks! I’m going to die.” Then, if the worst happens, get that thing put away as quickly as possible. You may very well save your own life by holstering as quickly as safely possible.

One Response

  1. Apparently I’m not even allowed to have a gun in my car in the Post Office parking lot. I probably carry anywhere there’s not a metal detector, sign or no sign. My local PO has a metal detector for the store section, but not for the PO box section. The danger is when you forget to disarm. I forgot once recently, and walked right through the metal detectors into the store section. Nothing happened. I wonder if a silent alarm went off to warn them.

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