proposed laws

PA Bill Number: HB102

Title: In hunting and furtaking licenses, further providing for eligibility for license.

Description: In hunting and furtaking licenses, further providing for eligibility for license. ...

Last Action: Referred to GAME AND FISHERIES

Last Action Date: May 24, 2019

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South Fayette Township Municipal Building 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan, PA

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South Fayette Township Municipal Building 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan, PA

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Why 'gun-free' zones don't work and how to survive them :: 12/04/2018

The nation’s attention was on Chicago recently where a police officer and two others were murdered by a deranged gunman at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital. The loss of life may have even been greater were it not for the bravery and heroism of Chicago police officer Samuel Jimenez, who gave his life to protect others.

 Gun Free Zone

While we mourn the lives lost in tragedies like these, it’s important to learn from them and have a real conversation in our society about whether we are truly doing everything possible to protect ourselves and those around us.

In the Mercy Hospital tragedy, two important issues did not receive the attention that they deserve from the media. First, it was another reminder that seconds matter in active shooter situations. As horrible as this tragedy was, it would have been far worse if good guys with guns weren’t immediately on the scene.

Too often, the media narratives focus solely on the murderer and not necessarily the heroic actions of armed Americans, whether they be police officers or law-abiding concealed carry holders.

Second, this was another reminder that so-called “gun-free” zones simply do not work. Under Illinois law, concealed handguns were already banned in hospitals like Mercy. We’ve seen this play out in countless other tragedies, including this past August in Jacksonville, Fla., where two people were killed at a mall that similarly lauded itself as a “gun-free” zone.

Ultimately, the mall’s policy did nothing to stop an evildoer bent on violence, but it did prevent law-abiding citizens who might have otherwise been on hand and armed, prepared to protect themselves and others. We don’t know if an ordinary citizen with a concealed carry permit could have stopped that attack, but we do know that once again this feel-good policy did absolutely nothing to protect innocent lives.

Too many lives have been lost because murderous maniacs know that malls and schools are soft targets. Those inside don’t have the ability to protect themselves. In an emergency situation, seconds matter and a well-trained, responsible gun owner can save lives in an active-shooter situation.

We saw this at another gun-free zone mall in a St. Cloud, Minn., mall in 2016 where a deranged madman with a knife started attacking innocent bystanders. Fortunately, the attack was stopped by an off-duty police officer and USCCA certified firearms instructor, Jason Falcone. Luckily, he had ignored the mall’s gun-free policy and was carrying his firearm.

While we debate the failure of gun-free zones, however, there are steps that all Americans can take to train and educate themselves on how to react during a deadly encounter while unarmed in a gun-free zone. For starters:

Use Situational Awareness. It is important to remain constantly vigilant; a heightened sense of awareness will help you identify a threat immediately. Be aware of what’s happening and who’s around you — at all times. Identify entrances and exits, as well as things that could provide cover if needed.

Minimize Your Exposure. Once an attack has begun, immediately minimize your exposure. Get down and find cover. Cover can be described as any object between you and the shooter that could potentially stop a bullet. DO NOT stand up and look in the direction of the threat. If you’re not prepared, this will be your natural instinct, making you an easy target.

Find An Escape Route. Immediately after you’ve found cover, you must make a plan to move. If you’re discovered crouching and hiding in one spot for too long you will become the next target. Identify an escape route that moves you away from the shooter — from one place of cover to another. If possible, avoid large crowds because the shooter will likely focus on the area where they are.

Find Help. Finally, once you have made it to a place of safety, immediately contact the authorities. Everyone around you will be in a state of panic, so it is important to remain calm and help others who may have been injured. Once the police arrive, do exactly what they say and do your best to provide an accurate account of what happened.

Every time you go out or are forced to enter a gun-free zone, take a second to review and remember these simple strategies. Consistent practice will eventually turn into habit and will ultimately help prepare you for any situation.

In the meantime, our society needs to have an honest conversation about the difference between feel-good policies that do nothing to protect innocent lives and sensible self-defense measures like concealed carry. On countless occasions, armed citizens have stopped the bad guys and prevented the loss of life.

Whether it’s a teacher or school administrator, watching our kids every day, or a parent shopping at a local mall, every law-abiding American should have the right to self-protection, and to protect others, at all times.

Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and may be contacted at