President’s Message

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Mass Killing

by Marty Hayes

As I write this today, the news channels are reporting another mass murderer using a firearm, and killing 12 people on the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. It is a Gun Free Zone if there ever was one. A few common threads seem to permeate these incidents, including an individual who is considered to be “a loner” who has some history of mental or emotional issues, and who, of course, perpetrates his crime within a population of unarmed “victims” who by virtue of law or policy, are forbidden to have defensive weapons. This train of thought brings me to the theme of this commentary.

As the events and reports unfolded today, I posted a comment on Facebook suggesting that no one who was killed was forced to work in that Gun Free Zone. An hour later, after some introspective thought, I took the comment down, as it was kind of insensitive and one never knows who will read a Facebook post. But I thought about the problem of Gun Free Zones, and what we as a society should do about the problem. I don’t have all the answers to this societal dilemma, but may I be so bold as to make a few suggestions?

First, don’t voluntarily go to places where you and your gun are not by law allowed to be. I know, that’s easier said than done with our mobile society, but with prior planning, this is not necessarily unworkable. With the ability to get concealed carry permits from a large number of states, a diligent individual can legally carry concealed in a majority of the States of the Union. Now, having said this, I know it is much easier out West than back East. But, is your life worth voluntarily remaining where you are inhibited from protecting yourself?

I would not live in a place where I could not carry legally.

Secondly, don't voluntarily work in a place that doesn't respect you enough to allow you to defend yourself. I live in an area of the country where a HUGE percent of the population work at good paying jobs in Gun Free Zones. Two of my area’s large employers, Boeing and Microsoft, restrict the ability of their workers to carry or possess guns at work. These employers pay very well, and so many people that I know will put their paycheck before their ability to defend themselves. On the other hand, I also know of at least one former student of mine, who worked at Microsoft years ago, who simply ignored their company policy. I don't think she was ever disciplined for that breech of policy. She chose the ability to defend herself over the right to work at Microsoft.

But, I am not suggesting violating the law or violating an employer’s policy. Instead, I am suggesting trying to change the policy or law. Recently, one of my staff instructors at the Firearms Academy of Seattle ran up against an employer’s policy against guns on the workplace property. Fortunately, he was a member of a trade union where he worked, and I told him to make it a union issue. The union started discussing the policy with the leaders at the work place and a logical resolution was reached.

Laws and policies are just words on paper and they are subject to change. I would respectfully suggest that those who work at places that restrict self-defense choices band together with like-minded people and attempt to get the policies changed. If you have access to a labor union, that is a good place to start because the union can represent the whole body of workers and no one will be singled out for retribution. Another possible solution is to hire an attorney to speak on your behalf. The attorney can contact the boss, explain how clients he represents are concerned about workplace mass shootings, and discuss ways to get the policy changed so that employees can discreetly carry concealed.

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