Concealed Weapon Permit Holders Allowed in Many Public Schools


Concealed Weapon Permit Holders Allowed in Many Public Schools
by Temerity Forthright

Schools have officially been gun-free zones since 1990, but on many occasions, they have also been the target of gun violence. This may be about to change.

Several school districts in Ohio recently sent school teachers and staff to weapons training with local law enforcement. But Ohio is not alone. School districts in several other states have also sent teachers and staff to weapons training, especially after the Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012.

According to the Huffington Post, 18 states currently allow adults to carry loaded guns on school grounds, and others are considering it.

Schools and other “gun-free zones” have been the target of mass shootings over the last few decades, so it begs the question …

Does having a gun-free zone really protect people? Do concealed gun carry permit holders made a difference during an attack?

First, the Stanford University Database on Mass Shootings defines a mass shooting as a shooting incident that includes three or more victims, killed or injured, not including the shooter. (Incredibly, drug and gang related shootings are not included in the analysis of most mass shooting reports.)

Also, the FBI reports that a 2012 law also sets the threshold of mass shootings at three or more people killed during the same incident. A 2013 Congressional Research Service report defines mass shootings as involving four or more deaths, not including the shooter, in public areas where victims are selected indiscriminately.

Now, let’s examine some mass shootings in supposedly “gun-free zones” when a concealed carry permit holder, or other authorized gun carrier, stopped an active shooter.

October 1, 1997 – A high school student in Mississippi killed his mother, then opened fire at his school, killing 2 students and wounding seven others, before the assistant principal got his personal handgun from his truck and held the student at gunpoint until authorities arrived.

April 24, 1998 – A middle school student opened fire at a school dance, killing one person and wounding three others. The attack was stopped when the dance venue owner grabbed his shotgun and held the teen at gunpoint until authorities arrived.

January 16, 2002 – A former law university student killed three people and wounded three others on a Virginia campus before another student and a police officer could get to their vehicles and retrieve their personal weapons. The two heroes lost valuable time because the law school was a gun-free zone.

December 9, 2007 – Two church parishioners were killed and three wounded by a man with a rifle and hand grenades before he was shot multiple times by a female parishioner with her own concealed carry gun.

May 27, 2010 – A gun-toting man brought a revolver and a list of people he was going to kill into New York AT&T store. A store employee pulled out his own handgun and killed the man. One employee was wounded.

August 30, 2010 – A man armed with two handguns encountered a Tennessee high school Resource Officer, who held him at gunpoint until the police arrived. The gunman was mortally wounded when police tried to subdue him.

March 25, 2012 – A man with a shotgun broke into a South Carolina church, but he was taken down by the pastor, the pastor’s grandson, and two parishioners. The grandson held the man at bay with his personal handgun while the church goers subdued the gunman until police arrived.

December 11, 2012 – At a mall outside Portland, Oregon, a young man wearing tactical gear and a mask used a stolen rifle to kill two people and injure another. A concealed carry permit holder drew his pistol and aimed it at the gunman, who ran into a storage hallway and committed suicide.

January 11, 2014 – A man who had been denied entry into a club in Portland, Oregon, returned with a handgun and shot and wounded three people. A club bouncer drew his concealed carry permitted gun and shot and killed the gunman.

April 30, 2014 – A former employee returned to an Austin, Texas, construction site and opened fire. The site foreman, a concealed handgun license holder, exchanged gunfire and, although both men were wounded, his actions ended the attack.

April 30, 2014 – An armed gunman entered a Utah hospital and demanded to see a doctor. Two off-duty corrections officers engaged the gunman while a hospital security guard distracted him. The gunman was shot and wounded.

July 25, 2014 – A psychiatric patient shot and killed his case worker and then shot and wounded his doctor. The doctor pulled his concealed weapon and mortally wounded the gunman before he could shoot anyone else in the hospital.

Although some of these incidents do not fit the “Mass Shooting” criteria, it is clear that a larger loss of life was surely averted by citizens who were licensed to carry a weapon – and used it.

The Daily Signal, a news organization for the Heritage Foundation, reported 153 mass shootings since 2002. Of those, 35 percent of the shooters targeted people at random. Of that 35 percent, shooters chose gun-free zones 69 percent of the time. Of the other 31 percent of the shootings in places where guns were allowed, 5 of the 17 shootings (29 percent) ended when the shooter was slowed or stopped by a gun permit holder.

The Department of Justice interviewed almost 2,000 felons. About one-third said they had been “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured” by an armed victim. The FBI’s Uniformed Crime Report of 2007 showed that states with “right to carry” gun laws have a 22 percent overall lower violent crime rate than states without such laws.

Other than relating to schools, the definition of the term “gun-free zone” is in dispute. Gun-free zones are established based on local laws, posted signs, and verbal requests.

There is one, and only one, problem with gun-free zones: criminals don’t obey gun laws or abide by gun-free zones. To add to the problem, based on forensic social media evidence, many perpetrators of mass shootings don’t expect to come out alive.

Having a gun-free zone is like leaving the front door of your house wide open every night. You lock your doors to protect yourself. As Edward Abbey (1927-1989) wrote, “When guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. If that happens, you can count me among the outlaws.”

Self-protection is not a new issue. The Roman philosopher Cicero (106-43 BC) said, “If our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.”

So, to restate the original question – Does having a gun-free zone protect people? Do concealed carry gun carry permit holders made a difference during an attack? I think the above examples clearly answer those questions.

To put it another way, would you rather be in a gun-free zone and take your chances with an active shooter, or would you rather know that a trained legal gun permit holder might save your life during that attack?


Information about shooting incidents is from –

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