Social Question

Yellowdog's avatar

Shouldn't Gun-Free-Zone businesses be required to protect their patrons from assailants?

Asked by Yellowdog (6146points) April 22nd, 2018

Last Sunday a gunman entered a Waffle House in Nashville and killed four people—it could have been worse had not one of the patrons wrestled the gun away from the assailant.

At first, I wondered how this was even possible—since Waffle House is clearly marked as a Gun-Free zone. Maybe the assailant didn’t notice the sign on the door, or was illiterate. In any case, it was a good thing that Waffle House IS a gun-free zone, had it not been marked as such, one of the patrons themselves might have had a gun and started killing the other patrons.

I actually DO agree with having gun-free zones. It is refreshing to not have to worry about ANYONE having a gun, or having to defend yourself. But I think we ALL can agree that such businesses and institutions should be required to provide protection from crazy gunmen and terrorists if they are not going to ALLOW us the option of protecting ourselves.

Protection means more than a “please don’t shoot the patrons” sign on the door (with illustration for illiterates)—unfortunately it means having an armed guard AND a secure parking lot as well, so that we don’t get killed on the way to our cars. I live in Memphis, and hold-ups on the way to your car are far from rare.

Maybe you think having an armed guard is rather extreme in schools and we should just take a few minutes to call the police and be a little more patient if it takes them seven or eight minutes to get there. But what disgusts ME is the fact that Waffle House had NOTHING. Nothing but a gun-free zone sign. Those patrons were sitting ducks.

You’re safer in church on Sunday, where more and more churches at least have plans and are ready to act—to protect children from kidnappers, to protect parking lots and the elderly, to respond in a medical emergency, and yes, to subdue or take out a gun assailant.

Seriously, leaving ANYONE a vulnerable sitting duck at ANY setting is grossly negligent. And if someone is going to DECLARE something gun-free and no weapons allowed, they should be setting themselves up for criminal liability if they don’t protect the patrons.

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8 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

There’s no such thing as a gun free zone in a country where you have more guns than people. With that sort of firepower available, no sign or declaration is gonna save your ass. Posting armed guards at every nickle and dime run of the mill restaurant, school, concert or whatever simply guarantees more guns in the hands of unqualified, underpaid folks, already pissed at the risks they are expected to face for pitiful salaries. Where or when you will be shot in America amounts to a national lottery with dozens of “winners” round the clock.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I wonder how many guns go past those doors every day that nobody knows about.

flutherother's avatar

It’s not the fault of Waffle House. The problem is a country which allows almost everyone to own and carry weapons.

Zaku's avatar

Well there is a difference between places where you can reasonably expect never to be robbed at gunpoint in your entire life (I have never seen threatened or actual gun violence in person, having spent most of my life in the northern USA (including Chicago, where I did see violence) or West Coast, and I don’t know many people who have), and someplace where as you say, “in Memphis, [...] hold-ups on the way to your car are far from rare”…(assuming that’s accurate).

So when you write, “But I think we ALL can agree that such businesses and institutions should be required to provide protection from crazy gunmen and terrorists if they are not going to ALLOW us the option of protecting ourselves.” – No, we don’t all agree that, at all, the main reason being that I do not have any expectation of anyone I know encountering any crazy gunmen or terrorists any time in their lifetimes.

In fact, the few experiences I have had being unsettled by people with guns, were security guards and gun fans bringing their guns around and showing them.

However, if I did feel like I and/or people I knew were likely to experience a gun attack, I might be more inclined to agree with you.

As it is, I tend to think adding more guns just tends to increase the chance that that might happen.

MrGrimm888's avatar


I would add that a Waffle House, at 3AM is not a “safe” place…

Patty_Melt's avatar

^^ That too depends on a number of factors. I have been to pancake houses, and Denny’s, and the like many times in the wee hours.
There are places where you can expect to see primarily OTR truckers at those places during the darkest of night. I have seen several where it is almost entirely farmers, gathering for a bit if discussion of weather and current events before a long day’s work.

I have seen guns in public. Once I had to take cover with my toddler because we were walking home and shots went off just ahead of us, right on our street.
Years later, living somewhere else, we watched a guy drop dead in our yard of gunshot wounds he suffered while driving. He crashed his car at the edge of my yard. His friends tried to get him to safety, but after a few steps he collapsed.

I have thought a number of times about arming myself for protection. I haven’t yet, but each place I lived, I taught my daughter the most protected part of the house she could be at a time of shootings.
We lived in Reno when she was small, and that town has a lot of shootings. I once heard a commotion outside. After making sure my daughter was safe, I opened my apartment door. There was a guy right in front of it on his knees, hands behind his head, and a cop down in the drive with his weapon pointed right at the guy. Door closed and locked quickly.

Another time, at that same location, I came home to find our building evacuated. The ground floor resident had been locked out for non payment. When staff went in to assess the cleaning to be done, they found a cache of weapons, and I mean big stuff, like rocket launchers and auto weapons.

It seems to me the worst weapons saturation are in migrant communities.
That has been my personal observation.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. Definitely a location is a factor. But in my travels, Waffle Houses are usually crazy after midnight. In fact, most after hours restaurants, are wild after a certain time.

They also have lots of cops eating there though, as it’s one of the only places open at night.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Gun free zone is something set by a government, not a business. A business can say they do not allow guns on their property but that doesn’t make it illegal if someone does it. If they see your weapon they can demand you leave their property.

No. Saying that you will not allow guns on your property does not make you liable for someone shot on your property. Come on! Think!

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