Will be followed by my next paper/letter with my proposed solution... “Gun Free Zones” Imagine. You are standing outside your local grocery store waiting to meet your Representative. All of a sudden, a man opens fire, shooting your Representative in the head right before your very eyes. Then he turns his gun on you, standing there, completely defenseless, you close your eyes and wait for the inevitable. Believe it or not, this did happen, and even worse, this took place at a store with a “No Guns” policy. Yet, Jarred Loughner still had a gun. Shockingly, that small sign in the window that prohibited weapons, didn’t stop him. Not only do “gun free” zones not prevent shootings, but they violate our rights as citizens, and they are a liability to our safety. In 1776, our Founding Fathers fought against the British Crown. In rebelling, they drafted a Declaration of Independence, in which it pronounced that all men have the rights of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” ("Declaration of independence," 1776). Later on, in the development of our great country, we drafted a Constitution. In this Constitution, as the Second Amendment, we wrote: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” ("The Bill of Rights," 1789) It does not say, ‘except in certain places’ or ‘unless told otherwise’, it says “shall not be infringed.” Even our State Constitution of Arizona states: “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired”. ("The Constitution of Arizona," 1912) These “gun free zones” are unconstitutional and infringe on our rights of self-defense and to bear arms. In fact, they go against the very wishes of our founding fathers. "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." (Jefferson, 1764) These laws leave the good, innocent citizens at risk of being the next target. They disarm the innocent and empower the criminal. These “gun free zones” don’t stop violence from occurring. They don’t prevent shootings. Think as if you were a criminal, would you be more inclined to attack someone in a place where guns are not allowed as opposed to where you know they might have a gun? Exactly, it’s a no brainer question. Let me demonstrate something real quick; five of the most deadly shootings in the United States: “Nov. 5, 2009: The Army says 13 people were killed and 30 wounded in a shooting rampage at its Fort Hood base in Texas. April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before committing suicide in the school's library. April 16, 2007: Cho Seung-Hui, 23, fatally shot 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, then killed himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Feb. 14, 2008: Former student Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, fatally shooting five students and wounding 18 others before committing suicide. January 8, 2011: Jared Lee Loughner killed 6 people and injured 14 outside a local Safeway.” (Reed, 2009) All of these shootings occurred in “Gun Free Zones”. In none of these horrific events did the perpetrator decide not to go through with their heinous actions because of a little sign that reads, “No Guns”. These “No Gun” signs that these companies, schools, and businesses put up, are a liability. They strip a basic right from honest citizens and expose them to be a potential target. They create a defenseless environment. Some of these places put up adequate security measures with metal detectors and armed security on site. These places, such as the airport, or the Court House, have made a reasonable effort to protect their customers. However, some places, such as schools and local businesses, don’t provide adequate, or in some cases any, security measures for their guests. The core ideology behind the second amendment is the right to self-defense; these “Gun Free Zones” strip you of this God-Given right in exchange for nothing. No security, no peace of mind, no safety. In fact, in 2002, a bill in Arizona was submitted called the “Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act” which states that if you create a “Gun Free Zone”, and a crime is committed in said zone, you are liable for any harm done, provided they can prove that if they had a firearm that they would have been able to prevent the incident. ("The Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act," 2002) We, as citizens in America, hold our rights and privileges close to our hearts. They are the very core of our nation and define us as citizens. When our Right to Free Speech is threatened, we strike back immediately. When our property is searched or seized without warrant, there in an outcry. When our right to Self-Defense and to Bear Arms is infringed we have a duty to act on it. There are threats to our Life, Liberty, and our Pursuit of Happiness. There are threats to our rights; threats to our safety. We have to act, but how do we regain our rights that have been stripped away from us for so long? What do we need to do?