Safe Haven?—Outdoor Channel Investigates Gun Free Zones

safe-haven-large 2Katie Pavlich hosts a 45 minute documentary, “Safe Haven: Gun Free Zones in America”, which explores the failure of gun free zones. The mass murder at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT is analyzed by Edward Monk and J. Eric Dietz, PhD as representing a problem of response time. These events continue until someone acts to stop the killing. They point out that mass murderers seek out gun free zones in preference to places where people might be armed. The shooters are looking for the highest score. They go to places where they can kill as many people as possible in the shortest time.

Seventy to eighty percent of shooters plan on dying in the attack, so the prospect of extra jail time for violation of gun free zone laws has no deterrent effect. All but two mass shootings have been in gun free zones. Self defense guru Massad Ayoob calls gun free zones “hunting preserves for psychopathic killers”. He points out that the killers pick out gun free places to do their killing.

Dr. Dietz developed a computer model of school shootings designed to calculate the number of casualties in an active shooter scenario with several variables. These include police response time, the presence of a school resource officer and the presence of armed school staff. It all boils down to a guiding principle—decreasing the response time decreases the risk and decreases the casualty count. He also points out that arming school staff is cost effective. The documentary shows one town where this has worked. Harrold, Texas has been arming its teachers and training them to carry firearms since 2007. Rural schools can have a 30 minute or more response time, and school resource officers are expensive.

Results from Dietz model. From “Safe Haven: Gun Free Zones in America”,

Results from Dietz model. From “Safe Haven: Gun Free Zones in America”,

The documentary also covers the events in 2007 at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where former police officer Jeanne Assam stopped a shooter armed with an AR-15 rifle from committing mass murder at her church. The killer waited after the church service for the uniformed police to leave before he started his attack. Assam was in plain clothes and was able to stop the killing with her concealed pistol. She points out that security in gun free zones must be proactive and not reactive.

Finally, the documentary tells the awful story of Amanda Collins, who was raped on a gun free college campus not fifty feet from the university security office. Of course, that office had closed four hours earlier. She had a concealed weapon license but obeyed the law and left her gun at home. Her attacker didn’t. Despite taking all the reasonable precautions, she was still raped. In the end she asks “How does making me defenseless protect you from violent crime?”. She also points out that gun free zones give a false sense of security.

“Safe Haven: Gun Free Zones in America” can be seen for free on at this link . It is worth your time to watch it.


erdeen—Dr. John Edeen is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in San Antonio, TX and is active in seeking the right to carry for qualified hospital staff.

All DRGO articles by John Edeen, MD.