Pennsylvania Town Signs: “This is Not a Gun-Free Zone”

What do you think would be more likely to deter a criminal: a sign that reads “This is a gun-free zone,” or one that reads, “This is not a gun-free zone”?

I think it’s pretty obvious that if a criminal is given the option, he’d much rather go to a place where there aren’t people who can defend themselves. He’d rather go to a “gun-free zone.”

Whether this sign will help the crime rate go down (or stay down) in this Pennsylvania Township remains to be seen. But I think if they’re going to post any signs about guns, this is the one to use. Breitbart reported:

Pennsylvania’s Conoy Township has posted anti-gun control signs throughout the township that read, “Welcome To Conoy Township: This Is Not A Gun Free Zone.”

The goal is to let criminals know they will not find a township full of empty homes or sitting ducks.

According to, “Police in the township aren’t taking a position on the signs themselves, but say they’re for anything that deters crime.”

Undergirding the decision to post the signs is the observation that “whenever criminals are made aware of the possibility of resistance, they tend to look for easier targets.”

Dave Kopel has explained this in scholarship that shows the lengths to which burglars will go to avoid contact with homeowners in America. In “Lawyers, Cops, and Burglars” he writes:

It is axiomatic in the United States that burglars avoid occupied homes. As an introductory criminology text book explains, “Burglars do not want contact with occupants; they depend on stealth for success.” Only thirteen percent of U.S. residential burglaries are attempted against occupied homes. But this happy fact, so taken for granted in the U.S., is not universal.

The overall Canadian burglary rate is higher than the American one, and a Canadian burglary is four times more likely to take place when the victims are home.

In the U.S., would-be victims are likely armed, but that’s not so in Canada. That’s a contributor to the differing crime rates.

Conoy Township hopes criminals will take note.

This goes for businesses, schools, movie theaters, etc. If these places had signs posted stating that they’re not gun-free establishments, I think that would have an effect on how often they’re targeted by armed robbers or murderers.