Saturday, May 26, 2012


A while back I hand-colored a playing-card sized piece of paper and taped it on the front door of my house. I drew a red circle with a slash through it, like the ones warning motorists not to make illegal turns. On the paper I wrote “No guns here – you're safe.” A few visitors have told me they noticed the sign. I notice it myself sometimes, but not always.

The sign is meant to assure visitors that they are entering a peaceful place. It is meant to warn people who might be carrying guns not to come into my house armed. It is meant to remind me of my commitment to pursue a violence-free world.

The sign is a response to the daily news of shootings in our community. It is a response to the people who are lobbying for concealed-carry laws which would allow people to carry guns on the streets and into other people's businesses. It is a response to the arguments that guns make us safer, because all the evidence indicates that guns make us less safe.

I put the sign up as a test. I wanted to see if anyone would take issue with it. No one has. I wanted to see if anyone would ask where they could get one like it. No one has, but a couple of people have said they like the sign. I wanted to see if I would get tired of the sign. I haven't.

I have been wondering if other people would agree to put up signs like it, and if the signs could become part of an effort to renew a dialogue about personal and public safety and the role that guns play in making our communities more dangerous. I am curious to know how many people in my community have guns in their homes. I am curious about whether people know which of their neighbors have guns, and how they feel about their neighbors having guns. I wonder whether parents want their kids playing in houses where guns might be lying around.

I am curious whether our local police would support efforts to discourage people from having guns at home and whether our local politicians would take a stand on this issue. I wonder who the people in my town who have guns think they need to protect themselves from.

I see plenty of signs in yards warning that the houses are protected by security alarms and services. Would people hesitate about putting up signs indicating that they are not armed and they are not ready to kill people who tried to steal their televisions? Do people think it is better to let people wonder if they are dangerous than know that they are not?

I have heard a lot of people who were very afraid say in their prayers that they are not afraid. By affirming their faith that they are protected, they rise above their fears. I wonder whether people would become less afraid in their homes if they would put up signs saying they are not afraid.

I'd appreciate you sharing your thoughts on these matters.


  1. Better to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it.
    guns do not cause violence Lee.
    65 millon Americans own 300300 million + guns.
    If guns were the problem, eveeyone would be dead.

    1. Years ago, when my sons were in grade school, the PTO started a campaign called "Safe Houses" where you could put a sticker on your door to let kids know they could run to your home if anyone was pursuing or threatening them. We still have our "Safe House" sticker on the door. Seems like it should apply to not carrying (or housing) weapons as well.
      I like your idea, Lee. It's a sad commentary on our society that there are more guns than people. We're such a frightened, angry nation, and more guns only contribute to the fear. They don't make me feel safer--on the contrary.

  2. I could not agree more with you Lee. I think we are headed down a dangerous path everytime one of those "conceil and carry" gun laws is passed. I think you should reproduce your card so we can hand it out at our Peace and Justice rallys/marches/vigils. It is public education that is needed to counter the few that are so loud and so well funded by the NRA. So, thanks for providing a new idea. Passing out your card would give us an opening to discuss the issues of fear and violence in our culture with strangers on the street. Catherine

  3. Good idea, Lee. I like Laura's comparison to the "Safe House" sticker. Though no one in the house ever had a gun, I just got rid of a souvenir machete and hunting knife that had been in a drawer for years. I will put up my "No gun" sign and let you know if I receive any comments.


  4. Lee, I applaud your idea and the much-needed conversation it hopefully, generates. An additional conversation might be about the "privilege" we enjoy up here in our secure and safe, white, upper-middle class environs, which allows us to to ponder these ideas, compared to other races in this country experiencing violence on a daily basis, with or without guns.