Not gun free zone

How To Deter And Prevent An Active Shooter


Places that advertise “gun free” and don’t have clear signs of surveillance are at heavy risk.  Most of the mass shootings and active shooters that make the news attack vulnerable or soft targets.

The easiest way to plan for an active shooter is to make your location difficult to hit.  That doesn’t mean you need to sandbag the walls and get a gunner up in the turret of your Humvee.  It just means making it visually clear that if someone decides to commit violence – he or she will be met with fierce resistance.

Methods For Deterrence & Prevention

Having visible cameras, notices of alarm systems, and not making your home or business a “gun free zone” are all great ways to deter a potential active shooter.  While there are no guarantees of a person’s mental state when he undertakes that sort of criminal act, letting him know that his acts will have an equal or greater reaction is a good way to communicate, “this is a bad idea”.

Active Surveillance Systems


This improves the odds of identifying a culprit in the act.  With multiple cameras that overlap their field of view, there’s a greater chance of recovering information that can be used to identify and track down an active shooter if he escapes.  It can also help exonerate those who defend against that aggression.

“Not A Gun Free Zone” Signage



Posting signs to let people know that carrying firearms – concealed or otherwise – is encouraged.  If you’re a bad guy looking to hurt, kill, or maim others, choosing a location where those people will likely be armed is very risky.

Heck, encouraging customers to come in armed is a great way to meet fellow law-abiding concealed carriers.  That’s one this one Texas man did for his 4th of July barbecue event.  It was probably the last place on earth anyone would think about robbing.

Encourage Employees To Carry Concealed

Even when a lot of visitors and customers are allowed to openly carry a firearm, many employees have to leave their concealed carry pistol in their vehicle.  The best measure to be ready to respond an active shooter is to have employees who are willing and able to carry.  Often times, employees are left in a position where they are unable to help.  Why not encourage them to respond?

Whereas armed guards are a visible deterrence against criminals, having a staff of employees capable of assisting is invaluable.  Obviously, there are jobs where it’s just physically not possible to safely carry a concealed pistol.  There are also employees whom aren’t legally allowed to carry.  Those factors can be addressed through company policy and educating your employees on safe workplace practices.

Train To Respond – Practice Firing From Cover And Movement

When an active shooter does appear, it’s more important to get yourself and others back from the fighting than to rush forward to engage.  If you’re armed and others aren’t, you’re in a position to be able to defend yourself.  Use that advantage.  When training, practice the following:

  • Assessing Threat (Looking left, looking right, locking on target)
  • Finding Cover And Concealment
  • Firing From Cover
  • Changing Magazines Safely
  • Tactical Movement From Target
  • Re-Engaging Target At Distance After Movement

In another article, we’ll go more into depth about some strategies you can use to train these particular skills.  Training and practice are essential because they’re precisely what you will fall back upon once a stressful situation appears.  If you’re trained to prioritize your own safety, you will prioritize it when a conflict occurs.

Categories: Firearm Safety, General
About James England | View all posts by James England

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry…

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 36 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his CZ-75D PCR in an Alien Gear MOD holster.

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  • Bill Redding

    Like most myopic CCers, you really need to get up to speed on OPEN carry! For some time now I’ve read your stuff and besides being pretty naive re: street reality, you (apparently) continue to think CC is the ONLY way to carry. It’s isn’t! Please stop being so clueless/ignorant (or even anti-OC, as most CCers are) about this OTHER form of carry (and perfectly legal in a number of states)…especially since — as per the title of your article here — ONE of the several reasons for OCing is “deterrence and prevention.” No need to employ a CCer’s so-called “element of surprise” (only applicable in ONE scenario, BTW) if a criminal does NOT choose you as his next victim, and so nothing happens in the first place.

    Most of us OCers ALSO have CC permits (even though our states allow the UNpermitted OCing of firearms, as it SHOULD be as per the 2nd Amendment)…so we get BOTH forms of carry pretty well. CCers only see CC…and even that very superficially. Please think a bit deeper on this subject of being armed while out & about everyday — get the Big Picture…instead of only a tiny part of it.

    — BR

  • Will Morris

    Open carry is frequently a bad idea. An open carrier may simply be the first one to be shot. Concealed carry is critical because of the doubt it puts in the minds of criminals…

    • Ronnie Verne

      Well put, I’m 100% for CCW. Not open Carry!

  • Bill Redding

    Will Morris,

    Wow…those are the same ignorant, naive and lame “arguments” similar to the ones liberals use in their anti-gun agenda in general (such as “It’ll be like the Wild West” or, “There’ll be blood in the streets,” etc.), as that stuff just doesn’t happen who knows how many times out there on the streets, in stores and business (and yes, we OC even in banks) of Free States states like NM, CO, AZ, AK, and others — every day! If you are a CCer, then your comments prove my point about CCers needing to be educated re: OC the same as the clueless general public does. If you are (or even if you’re not) a CCer, then YOU need to get up to speed also: Go forth, Grasshopper, and have a coffee with an OCer (but not @ a Starbucks, as CEO Howard Schultz hates gun-owners, even CCers) — and become enlightened. If you don’t know any OCers, then read an OC forum like OCDO and soon, you’ll lose those silly notions. OCers aren’t against CC, but CCers are against OC — mainly due to pure ignorance. Ignorance can be fixed by education (but stupid can’t be fixed)…please get educated instead of parroting complete nonsense you read/heard about OC somewhere from some “expert.” I can’t write a novel on OCing here, but you’re way off the mark getting it. Please correct that.

    — BR

  • Bill Redding

    In order to offer some REASONING why I was/am critical of the anti-OC (Open Carry) crowd, here are 2 of the MAIN reasons for OCing: “D&E.”

    D&E…two things CCers can NOT do because they carry concealed.

    D = Densitizing: Letting the public (and sometimes cops who also need this, but usually only in the beginning since after a few lawsuits and lots of $$ being paid-out losing them, the Police Departments/Cities/Towns/Villages wake up and let people ACT LEGALLY with no further interaction/harassment) see this EVERY DAY: Decent “We the People” citizens carrying a gun — and nothing bad happens! Incredible! So no need to — as “Seen on TV” — freak-out, run out the door, scream, soil their clothes, hide under a table in a fetal position whimpering as per usual liberal “defensive” reactions (all of which, of course, won’t save them). It’s just an armed citizen! And it’s America, not some other anti-gun/anti-armed citizen country (meaning, pretty much ALL the rest of the world)! So it’s no big deal, even if OCers be Unicorns also — meaning, not seen much in these here or those there parts! ;-)

    E = Educating: Many people don’t know their “gun rights” so they think OCing a gun isn’t even LEGAL (that people may be CCing legally or illegally without notice of course because the gun is hidden), so they think a PERMIT is required to OC (only true in SOME states). So SOME of these people, seeing YOUR gun, will ask you about it. Usually, it’s “Are you a cop?” or similar. NO, you’re not a cop and you don’t HAVE to be a cop, you’re just a citizen — like THEY are (we need to dispel the “he/she must be a cop” misinformation). Again, people need to see NOT ONLY cops OCing out on the streets but “We the People” carrying, too.

    Why should We the People — the supposed MASTERS here in America, “consent of the governed” and all that you know — be afraid to OC when their SERVANTS — the cops — do?

    Since when are the SERVANTS in a society ever GREATER than their MASTERS?

    Never…so remind them of that: Open Carry.

    So someone asking questions when they see an OCer allows a conversation that’d NEVER happen while CCing because no one SEES the gun: An OCer then has an opportunity to “spread the gun gospel” about the RKBA, 2nd Amendment, and encouraging people to exercise their RIGHT of Self-Defense (be it CC or OC, but at least encourage them to CARRY). So people not seeing “guns out there on the streets” makes them never think about ANY of these things. Or even think about how THEY will defend THEMSELVES in some criminal encounter (or not, and die). Of course, little do they know who is CCing around them (even criminals!), but again, the main point is people who CC aren’t seen, so no D&E is going on.

    Yes, it takes people made of “sterner stuff” (found in most Americans in the PAST but not so today) as you MIGHT encounter someone (not yet in my years in Colorado) — probably a liberal, or even a CCer (!) — who doesn’t like you OCing and wants to say so, but again, should you choose to educate your critic, you can do that, or, just walk away…and let them accept the consequences for being unarmed/not taking personal responsibility for their own (and family’s) protection and see how that works out for them someday (which probably will be just another news story on TV about another crime victim — some people NEVER wise-up, so let them be).

    But NO NEED TO APOLOGIZE for exercising a RIGHT in your own Free State (a state allowing OC, preferably with no permit required), which is the TRUE exercise of the 2nd Amendment/RKBA: No “permission slip” required…just OC! And certainly no need to apologize to someone who is “uncomfortable” seeing your gun. Perhaps he/she suddenly realizes he/she can’t even defend him/herself, let alone their family…so yeah, I’d fee uncomfortable being a foolish clueless victim waiting to happen, too — why should we NOT exercise a right because it make the clueless “uncomfortable?

    But that’s THEIR problem feeling inadequate and vulnerable, not yours.

    Sadly, most CCers are too timid to deal with anyone who MIGHT disapprove — even if it’s a disapproving look they get — let alone stand up for their RIGHTS when questioned…so they refuse to OC in order to avoid “confrontations” with anti-gun people. Okay…but they’re not helping “The Cause” by hiding (not doing any D&E) and if they’re THAT wimpy re: the RKBA, then maybe hiding is best for them. And for the rest of us, too.

    The VERY LEAST CCers can do, however, is not criticize OCers.

    Besides, as the public sees “more guns on the street” — and nothing bad happens — that D&E OCers are doing ALSO helps CCers, as when it comes time to vote for some anti-gun legislation or anti-gun politician, the general public isn’t likely to be as (irrationally) afraid of people carrying guns as they may have been earlier. Thye may even get so know some of the “regular” OCers, when they see them come into a business, restaurant, or whatever. All the CCers that may be there at the time (if any) or who have come into the same places regularly for YEARS even, have had ZERO impact on the managers & staff. But just one OCer — because everyone SEES the gun (customers included, IF they even notice — many don’t) can make a difference in “relaxing” said managers & staff AND customers that yes, a “non-cop-gun” is “in the house” but nothing bad happens! AND, it’s perfectly LEGAL for a citizen to carry one! In fact, SOME of those people may become carriers themselves. Even if only CCing, at least they CARRY. And instead of someone previously being neutral or even hostile to carrying guns, they now are likely at least to lean pro-gun.

    That’s at least SOME progress being made, yes?

    So while the MAIN reason some “sterner stuff” people OC is to protect themselves (the VERY SAME as CCers) — that’s a GIVEN, yes? — they also see the Bigger Picture, AND, OCers help “The RKBA Cause” by getting the word out. And the only way to do that is to “go public” — by OCing in public, so people SEE your gun ON you. There’s no other way…

    As for the 6-8 OTHER reasons to carry a gun (CC and/or OC), that’s another topic/article, but the 2 reasons I stated here — D&E — is what differentiates an OCer from a CCer.

    Besides, AMERICA isn’t like any other country in the world…why the heck would we even WANT to be? America is the ONLY country in the world with our particular Constitution and Bill of Rights…ONE of which is the 2nd Amendment. Why not stand up and EXERCISE that right, and let people — locals and tourists (very likely from slaves/serfs/subjects anti-gun countries) — SEE our rights in practice, what makes America NOT like any other country in the world…and makes no apologies for it whatsoever.

    Those serf/slave/subject countries want America to be as helpless, vulnerable, pathetic and disarmed as they are. Let’s not. ;-)

    As has been said, “A right not exercised is a right lost.” If people don’t exercise OCing — or the general public doesn’t even see it being practiced — that right may one of the ones lost because “We don’t need that right anymore” or “I never see anyone doing that anyway.” So see no reason(s) NOT to vote FOR some legislation/politician to outlaw it.

    And as per the related saying, “The 2nd Amendment protects all the others,” we really can’t afford any further infringements upon it — and SHAME on the SCOTUS for not doing its JOB in allowing all the infringements so far!

    — BR