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The Rise of Gun-Free Spaces in America

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Peter George Headshot
Peter George
Chief Executive Officer
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Publish date

Nov 18, 2021

Today we released the results of our original research on the mental toll of gun violence in the United States. The news is not great. We must do better. Meaningful progress is within reach. It’s time for urgent, pragmatic action.

Over 80% of Americans expressed significant anxiety about gun violence. We are living in an era of unprecedented anxiety. It’s significantly more anxiety than we felt at the height of the Cold War and in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks. What’s different about gun violence? It turns out that a shocking number of us (29%) have personally experienced unexpected gunfire or know someone who has (38%). It’s an actual threat in every community. It’s not theoretical. It’s real. And it’s not OK. 

The root cause of gun violence and all the related anxiety is, of course, that guns are everywhere. America has more guns than people. This is not going to change anytime soon. The Second Amendment stands firm and the votes to overturn it do not exist. We cannot assume the guns will disappear someday. We need a gun violence reduction plan. . It’s time to get real. We need a pragmatic plan that keeps the guns out of shared spaces where they are legally prohibited and yet still get in and do harm. It’s time to democratize security by massively exercising the existing right to create and enforce gun-free spaces. 

Imagine a future where everywhere you go became a safe, gun-free oasis. A future, where you aren’t thinking twice about going out, or checking for nearby exits, or mentally reviewing your escape plan. What if you had full confidence that there were no guns in your workplace, school, university, grocery store, place of worshipstadium, museum, convention center, theme park, performing arts venue, casino, hotel, hospital, or government office? All these places already prohibit guns, but not all of them are able to enforce their policies. What if they could, and did? And what if they could do it in a way that doesn’t make these places feel like a prison or TSA checkpoint at the airport? That’s the future we deserve, but it’s only possible if we massively democratize security. 

Who is responsible for democratizing security? Everyone has a vital role to play: 

  • The government must exercise its unique lawmaking and regulatory powers to further expand and strengthen the right and ability to create gun-free spaces. The new laws and regulations must pass constitutional scrutiny but still have an impact. Protecting property rights—specifically the rights to make spaces gun-free—is a cause that has the potential to enjoy bi-partisan support. It’s doable. 
  • The people—all of us—bear responsibility for demanding more gun-free spaces and advocating for them within our sphere of influence. Our voices can strengthen the resolve of the policymakers and send vital demand signals to the marketplace. 
  • All the venues and facilities where we gather must act on their duty of care by creating more gun-free spaces and more effectively enforcing their gun-free policies. This must be done without compromising the experiences that attract us to these spaces in the first place. It’s challenging, but not impossible. 
  • The physical security industry, which includes Evolv, must race to create technological and process innovations that will radically drive down the cost and complexity of creating and enforcing gun-free spaces. The early results are promising. 

I firmly believe that if we work hard in the decade ahead, we can make real progress in reducing gun violence. It is not OK to go on living with this chronic fear that is gradually impoverishing our daily experiences. It’s time to protect our treasured freedoms through focused, sensible action. A vast, growing network of truly safe, totally gun-free gathering spaces feels like a good place to start. I hope you’ll join the fight to make it happen. #GoGunFree 

Peter George Headshot
Peter George
Chief Executive Officer

Peter G. George is a 30+ year leader in the security, software and networking industries.  As President and Chief Executive Officer of Evolv, he is a member of the Evolv Technology Executive Leadership Team. Prior to joining Evolv, Peter served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Fidelis Cybersecurity for over a decade, helping to structure and lead parts of the Global Executive Team, and increasing customer acquisition and retention. Prior to Fidelis Cybersecurity, he served as President and CEO of Crossbeam Systems, repositioning the company for market success through technology innovations and strategic partnerships in the security space. His experiences took him abroad as well, working for companies such as Nortel Networks, Bay Networks, and Wellfleet Communications in France. Peter serves on the Board of Directors of Corero Network Security PLC (LON: CNS). He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the College of the Holy Cross.

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