“Winter is coming.” - Game of Thrones
by Chason Gordon
- The Capitol Hill Times -
There is a preponderance of zones in this country. We have drug-free zones, parking zones, free speech zones, friend zones, ozones, time zones and pleasure zones. The newest member to this exclusive group is gun-free zones. In Seattle, the mayor, along with local business owners and the group Washington Ceasefire, initiated a program that would enable stores to display a sign that says, “No Guns Allowed Inside,” like the one on my bird house. Participating establishments include Elliott Bay Book Company, Neumos, Pike Street Fish Fry, Linda’s, Cupcake Royale (really?), Moe Bar, Oddfellows and Havana. I don’t know what I’m going to do now.
What do you mean no guns in stores? How am I supposed to get prompt service? Or make sure my steak is medium rare? Didn’t anyone see “Falling Down”? A gun ensures that the customer is always right. I can’t shop without a gun! I need my gun to gesture at the product I want. “Do you have that shirt in black?” I say, waving my gun around. “It makes me look thinner.” No one tries to sign me up for a club card when I’m holding a gun, and they never tell me I have insufficient funds, even when I do. I can’t give up that kind of service!
Look, before gun rights advocates get upset, know that you can still leave your gun outside the store in the adjacent gun pile, and pick it up after you’re done shopping. Make sure you tie a little ribbon to your gun so you know which one belongs to you. Don’t pick up the wrong gun! That would be embarrassing. “Is this my gun? Sir, I think you have my gun.” Some stores will be providing gun racks to lock your gun to upon entering. Fancy restaurants will even have gun rooms, where you can check your gun. Remember to tip!
It’s hard to say how criminals will react to this bold measure. I can envision two guys with ski masks bursting out of a waiting car, and immediately stopped in their tracks by the sign. “No guns inside? I thought you cased this joint! Let’s go home.” That could happen, but some may ignore it, which will certainly be a shock to the storeowner during a robbery.
“Didn’t you read the sign?”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the robber would respond, “I thought I’d wait for the movie.” If I were a robber, I would smoothly take the sign down as I entered and hand it to the owner. “Can you read this to me? I forgot my glasses.”
The signs could even have a detrimental effect on safety, because they are essentially advertising that the storeowner is unarmed. It’s the opposite of “Beware of Dog,” and may end up acting like a Yelp sticker for criminals, certifying that other people have robbed the business and would recommend robbing it to others. Besides, the sign only shows a picture of a handgun, which means you’re still free to bring in more dangerous weapons, like sniper rifles, Gatling guns, rocket launchers, grenades, red lasers that shoot from your eyes unless you wear special glasses, and napalm.
It seems like these cute little signs are going after the wrong people. According to my brief Internet research, those with concealed carry permits commit a very small fraction of total gun crimes (it ranges between 1 and 5 percent, depending on the political orientation of the site you’re looking at). Granted, I don’t imagine that many of these people were shopping at said establishments, but they probably won’t now. What will really make them angry is when gun stores put up their own versions of these signs: “No outside guns in store. Guns may be purchased inside.”
Only time will tell whether these signs completely eliminate gun crime, or initiate an apocalyptic crime wave similar to the one depicted in “Escape from L.A.” I just don’t know, but there’s got to be something else we can do. Maybe use a bigger font.
Follow Mr. Gordon on twitter @chasongordon