Are you having second thoughts on bringing your gun to the gym? If you're still in between a “yes” and a “no,” help yourself and give this a good read!
In this article:
- Gym Shooting Happens
- Why and How to Bring Your Gun to the Gym
- Concealed Carry Fanny Packs?
- Conceal Carry Your Gun at the Gym, Responsibly
- Learn How to Read People
- Be Wary of Your Surroundings
- Know Your Way Out
- Always Stay One Step Ahead
Dos and Don'ts of Bringing Gun to the Gym, Plus Tips!
Gym Shooting Happens
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On October 15, 1993, 19-year-old James Buquet went inside a health club in El Cajon, CA, a city east of San Diego. In a sad turn of events, he shoots three women and a man working out inside with a shotgun, killing them.
Buquet went out to the parking lot and shot himself in his car afterward. His parents told police he had been depressed and taking drugs.
As a student at nearby Grossmont Community College, Buquet had written an essay for an English class. Here, he described a character he named “Natas A. Bishop” who began shooting people and later took his own life. (You’ll note “Natas” is “Satan” spelled backward.)
I know the story because I went to this gym all the time. Thankfully, I was nowhere near the gym during the time.
But, it was always on my mind as I was working out in the gym following the terrible incident. The gym was later closed and moved to a newer building a few miles away.
Why and How to Bring Your Gun to the Gym
Good people with guns stop bad guys with guns!
As we’ve seen responsible, trained concealed carry people say following a mass shooting at a mall, church, movie theater, or school, “If I had been there with my gun, maybe I could’ve stopped the bloodshed.”
With the Buquet gym shooting in mind, should you bring your gun to the gym? The short answer is “maybe” to “yes,” especially if the alternative is to leave it unsecured in your car.
Concealed Carry Fanny Packs?
Leaving your gun in your car would be as unwise as leaving it in a locked locker inside the gym. Thieves are fast and smart, so if you do decide to bring your gun, wallet, cell phone, and car keys into the gym, keep them all inside a fanny pack, which you never take off your body for any reason.
The reason for not leaving your gun in your car (or your wallet and cell phone), is most crooks know you’ll be inside for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This gives them plenty of time then, to break in and find your best secret hiding place (glove box, under the seat, in the center console, in the trunk, etc.)
The much-maligned fanny pack may look goofy and out of style (Google pictures of them in use during the 1980s and 90s), but it gives you the best off-body and rapid-recovery carry choice. It keeps all of your valuables safe too.
Conceal Carry Your Gun at the Gym, Responsibly
Bringing your gun to the gym, in a fanny pack is a big responsibility, though. Concealed carry while working out poses some treats in itself.
You cannot set it down on the floor, or on a nearby bench. You can neither hang it on a piece of equipment or step away for even a moment.
Don’t leave it in a locked or unlocked locker while you shower, ever. (Just go home sweaty and shower there.)
You must wear it, preferably on your back, and covered by your shirt, so as not to draw any attention to it.
If anyone ever asks or makes a joke, “Hey! You got a gun in the bag?” your answer is always, “Absolutely not! This is where I keep my keys and wallet.”
Never forget, despite the fact people pay dues to use the gym, there’s little to no screening of the members. If you’re over 18 and have a credit card or a checking account, you can be a member.
As such, all kinds of interesting people go to the gym, and some with more than just exercising on their minds.
Learn How to Read People
I’ve worked on some threat assessment, member behavior, and facility security cases for several large gym chains. They range from stalker types who become obsessed with the female staff or various members; to flashers in the men’s locker room.
Also included are people having sex in the restrooms, steam rooms, and saunas; and to entitled weirdos and sexual deviants. There are aggressive muscleheads wanting to fight everyone; to organized groups of thieves who stole equipment, retail products, and even members’ clothing, cars, and money.
Be Wary of Your Surroundings
The gym is a private business run as a public place and you can’t always tell the players without a scorecard. I have seen large brawls break out on the basketball court, fights start in the parking lot over spaces, and people getting into it over whose turn it is to use a piece of equipment.
When you’re in the gym, keep your head on a swivel and pay attention to the body language of the people around you. Don’t just put on your headphones, crank up the tunes, and zone out into your workout.
Don’t just stare at the TV while you pile on the miles on the treadmill. Watch who comes and goes and look for body language signs when people are preparing for a confrontation.
Know Your Way Out
Look for casers in the parking lot as you go inside and try to park your car as close to the entry door as possible. In the rare possibility, an active shooter ever came to your gym, know there are usually a lot of places to hide or escape out to the street if you can’t fight back.
Most gyms are usually big warehouses, with high ceilings, bad acoustics, and lots of glass windows and mirrors. There’s not always a lot of cover or concealment.
Some fitness centers even offer childcare, which brings a whole other element of risk as they can be potential targets to armed bad guys.
Always Stay One Step Ahead
As with any public place you go when armed, being discreet at the gym is critical. Your gun should never leave your body, so there would never be any chance for theft, accidental discharge from someone who picks up your bag and rummages around inside, or any form of discovery.
Protect yourself and others in a life-threatening emergency, but know your limitations inside a crowded, public space, filled with people who are distracted by their music, cell phones, and exercise routines.
Hit the play button and check out some tips on bringing your guns to the gym in this video from TheYankeeMarshal:
These tips and ideas are only for when you're allowed to bring a gun to the gym. It is difficult to bring guns inside fitness centers these days where most gyms don't allow it.
There are rules and regulations set–one where you have to leave it on your vehicle or put it in a locker if you have the go to bring a gun at all. It does defeat the purpose but you just have to follow the rules and use your gun carrier's instinct!
Have you tried bringing your gun to the gym? Share your experiences in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 31, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.