How To Actually Defend Yourself In A Gun-Free Zone

Looking at the way things are going lately and how the anti-gun agenda is gaining more and more followers, I think it’s time to look at alternative ways to protect ourselves.

Sooner or later, it will become more and more difficult, if not impossible, to carry a handgun in certain states.

I hope I won’t live to see the day when our guns will be taken away. Even so, as a plan B and plan C, type of prepper, I’m trying to stay one step ahead of the trend, and I’m always looking for alternatives or solution to everyday problems. I’ve learned over the years to wire my brain in a certain way so that I can find a way out when needed.

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The other day, the topic of gun-free zones was debated in a close gathering, and a few of my friends were skeptic of their survival chance in a gun-free zone. They would rather break the law, then having to go empty-handed into such zones.

Since there are states that restrict concealed carry and the laws vary greatly, I asked them, “why do you assume you should go empty-handed?” After all, there’s always an option to give you a fighting chance when facing an attacker. If the handgun is out of the picture, you can utilize other less-lethal self-defense options that could save your life.

Some popular self-defense items to replace your handgun

The tactical pen

Nobody will suspect this as a possible deadly weapon. It is just a pen, right? Well, it seems that recently more and more people (not just preppers or survivalists) are starting to carry a tactical pen. Once an overlooked item, this bland pen can be a very effective self-defense tool if made from the proper material.

The design of a tactical pen should include both the function of the pen and the potential of a stabbing weapon. The construction of the pen should be sturdy enough to be used in a fight and it should be made from light materials so that I can be carried every day without adding unnecessary weight to your EDC.

Most quality tactical pens you will find on the market are made from titanium. Others are made from steel and/or aluminum. I for one, prefer the titanium ones since are more resilient and corrosion-resistant.

There are lots of model and brands you can choose from, and the market for tactical pens is growing year after year. Whatever you pick for your EDC, keep in mind that your pen should look like a normal writing tool, but it should also retain a dangerous capacity.

A folding knife

Including a knife in your EDC will often be affected by a single deciding factor, the local laws. In most cases, the size and style of the knife you’re able to carry every day is influenced by the laws from your state. Since you won’t be able to walk around with a fixed blade, the folder is the main option for all EDCs. Folding knives are smaller, discrete, and they can be tucked in your pocket without attracting unwanted attention.

Having a foldable knife in your EDC will make sure you’re not going to get caught empty-handed in a gun-free zone in case someone decides to turn against you.

As I wrote in a previous article, I never leave home without my folding knife, and I recommend you do the same. There are hundreds of models available on the market you can choose from, and it’s all up to your budget and personal liking. I remain a fan of the Spyderco brand since their knives never failed me.

The mace spray or peeper gun

One of the first chemical defense weapons invented for self-defense, the pepper spray, remains popular even today, among those who feel uncomfortable holding a gun. Prepper sprays are a good alternative if carrying a handgun is illegal in your state.

Defense sprays are formulated from various types of agents, ranging from chemical tear gas to naturally occurring substances like oleoresin capsicum (a substance extracted from chili peppers). If used correctly, a pepper spray, can incapacitate an attacker and give you enough time to escape or apply another blow.

Upon contact, it will make the eyes slam shut and cause inflammation of the respiratory tract. The attacker will start to cough, gag, and it will cause excess mucus production. Not to mention the extreme burning pain around the eyes, mouth, and nose.

Years ago, I bought a pepper blaster pistol for my wife since the device is built to operate similar to a handgun and it delivers a nasty punch at high velocity, hitting 112 mph at 13 feet. She can carry it in her purse, in the workplace without causing any problems.

The best part about the pistol is the ammunition. It doesn’t use the common aerosol. It uses a disabling gel that is three times more effective than commercial sprays and is capable of disabling the attacker for up to 45 minutes. The gel has a four-year shelf life, and it’s leak-proof. This is a small, lightweight and effective self-defense weapon that can deliver two separate blasts. I can honestly say it’s the best 40 bucks I’ve ever spent.

The Taser

Taser weapons are also a good alternative to carrying a handgun, and these self-defense items have been around for decades. They deliver a powerful electrical shock that interferes with the voluntary control of muscles. As a result, the attacker will be incapacitated, and you have enough time to plan your next move, or maybe call the authorities.

Thanks to modern technology, the Taser guns have been improved constantly, and the most popular ones are now the stun guns.

These small guns are able to fire two individual probes that stick to the assailant, and they will do the job just right. For civilian use, Taser International has developed the Teaser C2 model. It allows you to stun an attacker as far as 15 feet away, thus giving you more than enough time and room to escape. This self-defense weapon can be found in many EDCs, and it’s usually at the top of the list.

The steel baton

Because a firearm can kill, and some people lack the proper training to use it in a self-defense scenario, the common citizen wonders where to turn for the appropriate means of defense from harm.

The steel baton provides a viable alternative. It is non-lethal. It can be controlled easily so that an attacked person can stop a criminal by administering pain in the correct dosages without breaking bones.

If you spend time practicing with a steel baton, you will learn how to render an assailant unconscious in a single swift attack, and you can go on with your day knowing that serious or life-threating damage was no done to the attacker.

The baton offers solid defense against knife or club if the attacker decides to use a weapon instead of his bare hands to do you harm.

The steel baton, in particular, is easy to use and master. Just hold it in your hand, using the prescribed method of grip, flick your wrist, and a 16-inch column of spring steel flies out, ready to strike at your opponent.

The walking cane

Veterans prefer walking cans since they can help them move better without murdering their knees and ankles, but it can also be used in a self-defense situation. You maybe won’t fit into the category of people needing such a tool, but it’s worth mentioning it for senior preppers.

If you need a cane, you have the potential for a legal self-defense option right there. By ADA regulations, you can’t prevent someone from bringing a walking stick through secure areas. Seniors have boarded plenty of planes with their rather boring looking walking cane.

Realistically, anything that you manage to have on the opposite side of the threshold can be repurposed as a weapon. If you have a cane with you, it just makes sense to use it.

Since figuring out the best alternative for self-defense in a gun-free zone can be quite tricky, I believe we should also look at the limitations you have for your EDC.

Safety guidelines for your EDC


As history showed us, an upset or recently fired co-worker may seek revenge, and things can take a turn for the worse really fast. Your EDC may come in handy at your workplace, no doubt about it. However, your employer is the one who makes the rules, and he or she will establish what is allowed on the premises.

Since most employers won’t allow EDCs containing a handgun or a pocket knife, your best alternative is to stick with the tactical pen.

Daily stops

Since most of us spend a lot of time running errands, you should know by now that certain places like grocery stores or restaurants have clear policies regarding weapons on their property. The Law dictates that shops must post a sign announcing their policy regarding gun presence on their property.

Since this is rarely the case, there are those locations that do not openly restrict the presence of knives and pepper sprays, so it is all up to you. In a worst-case scenario, you will be asked to leave.

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State and city parks

All parks have firm regulations against firearms on their grounds. However, there aren’t any limitations (not posted at least) on other EDC items. You should be fine if you decide to carry non-lethal defense items while visiting the parks.

Public venues

Concert arenas, theaters, and stadiums have fairly strict bans on weapons on site. This includes all the items listed above, and there are reports of even tactical pens being denied entry.

These places have security on site that performs searches so don’t try to sneak any item inside. It’s better if you leave your EDC in the car.

Weapon free sites

There are quite a few places where weapons of any kind are not allowed. It is your duty to acknowledge these places in advance before going there with your EDC. Schools, federal buildings, airplanes, and trains are restrictive facilities with a weapon-free zone policy.

Common sense dictates that you should know where you are going and what you are carrying with you. If something happens and you use your EDC to neutralize a threat, you will still be held accountable for bringing it there.


When it comes to selecting self-defense items for your EDC, you should choose what’s best for you and you should make sure you are following the local rules. Some of your coworkers might not like the thought of you carrying a Teaser gun or pocket knife, and it will affect your work relationships.

At the same time, the thought of being caught empty-handed during a crisis is not easy to bear, and you should be able to protect yourself.

Written by

Bob Rodgers is an experienced prepper and he strives to teach people about emergency preparedness. He quit the corporate world and the rat race 6 years ago and now he dedicates all his time and effort to provide a self-sufficient life for his family. He loves the great outdoors and never misses a chance to go camping. For more preparedness related articles, you can visit him at Prepper’s Will

Latest comments
  • Would I be correct in assuming that “Gun Free Zones” and “Weapons Free Zones” only apply to law abiding citizens? In which case law abiding citizens best defense is to avoid them.

    • You are right! Not just the best defense but the only defense for law abiding citizens. After all, criminals don’t follow the rules! Why can’t people understand that?

      • The UK is a very different place to the States, so we are used to total bans. We therefore are more aware of the environment and learn how to use and carry items that are not generally considered offensive, e. g. A roll of sweets in your pocket can be used as a kubaton.

  • we all forget what is alsawy present spare change , shoes .newspapers ,books hard items off the grocery shelf aka cans of beans ect.,window and oven cleaner- anything to make the perp DUCK . hard to aim a gun then ducking for cover.I know it sounds like pie in the sky but , the old swathe best way to confront a bully is to kick him in the knee

  • I recommend just keeping a gun close.

  • I quit going to places where my gun is not welcome.

  • Thank you for what you do and I have to say I agree with every common sense tip you give. Your predictions are spot on… all you have to do is listen to end time prophets to know what you’re saying is true.

  • The only ‘gun free zones’ i honor are federal buildings and court houses and since i have no desire to go there the situation is moot. Otherwise i carry concealed. My 2nd amendment rights shall not be infringed. I also ignore ‘constitution free zones’, there is no such animal. Criminals do not abide by the law and i refuse to be a victim. I would rather be judged by 12 than be carried by 6.

    • well said. I try to avoid any and ALL “gun free zones” as they are the first option as a place of opportunity for mayhem by MOST criminals and terrorists, because, first, there is less opportunity for opposition to the criminals agenda, and two, the place generally will generate the most panic (because mostly sheeple are in attendance, NOT sheep dogs). That said, I carry concealed in some that I am obligated to enter, either by lack of choice or by sheer necessity, but when I do, I get in and back out as quickly as possible. Most “GFZ” are such as a private choice by the owner, or by knee jerk actions. I too only honor federal zones or courthouses, as well as emergency rooms. I have carried my firearm into my area hospital with no problems, while the ER entrance has a NO WEAPONS policy (which would also EXCLUDE most of the above mentioned weapons) and violation could result in arrest (as I can attest to from personal experience)