The Ultimate Proof that No Place is Truly a 'Gun Free Zone'

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

According to anti-gunners, if you want to keep guns away from “sensitive places” all you have to do is post a sign declaring that location a gun-free zone. I don’t know if they really believe that signage is imbued with mystical properties of protection that will ward off any unauthorized firearms from being brought inside, but they seem convinced that’s the case.


In reality, of course, a “No Guns Allowed” sign offers just as much protection as any other piece of paper or plastic. Even when additional security measures are present, like magnetometers or even armed guards, labeling a particular location as “gun-free” doesn’t mean it’s actually going to be free of guns. Just ask the folks at the Bibb County Jail in Georgia.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after they found a loaded gun hidden inside the jail Wednesday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office says an anonymous tip around 2 p.m. led to a jail-wide search for the weapon. The find came just days after the conclusion of a month-long manhunt for four escapees that prompted questions about jail security.

“We did find a firearm,” Sheriff David Davis confirmed Wednesday. “It had two rounds in it.”

Tucked behind a wall-mounted phone in a dayroom in the C wing, they found it.

“It’s a dayroom area that’s sort of adjacent. You have the cellblock area, and then you have a dayroom that’s just off from that that’s sort of attached to that particular block of 20 cells,” Davis explained.

It’s on the other side of the jail from where the October escape happened, Davis said. He says a search started immediately after the tip came in Wednesday.

“Jail staff immediately took action. The corrections CERT team, as well as the Sheriff’s Office SRT, the Special Response Team came in, searched the cellblock area,” Davis said.

Sheriff Davis told reporters it’s “been a few years” since the last time a gun was found inside the secured part of the jail. In that case, the sheriff said a woman snuck a gun inside the facility as she was being booked, though he thankfully spared us the details of how, exactly, she managed to do that.
I was surprised that this wasn’t the first time Davis has run across a loaded gun in what should be one of the easiest places to make the “gun-free zone” designation a reality, but when I started to do a little research I learned this happens more often than you might expect. For every person caught bringing a gun into jail, it seems like there’s another case where the gun was discovered after the fact. Last year officials at the Atlanta Detention Center found a loaded handgun inside an inmate’s pillow, and firearms have been found in the Cook County Jail in Chicago and the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, to name just a few other locations where similar incidents have occurred.
If a secure facility that uses metal detectors, body scanners, patdowns, and armed guards to enforce it’s “no guns” policy can’t actually ensure that no guns are brought inside, I think we can put to rest the notion that a mere sign is going to somehow thwart armed criminals from illegally carrying. Gun-free zones are a fiction told to make folks feel safer without adding to their protection at all, and that’s no substitute for being safer because you’ve got your own self-defense weapon on hand.

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