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Are Guns Allowed in Shopping Malls?

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

A gunman opened fire inside an Oregon shopping mall Tuesday afternoon. The Portland-area mall shooting resulted in the killing of two people and the apparent suicide of the shooter. Many are now wondering whether having a gun in a shopping mall is legal and if there was anything that could have been done to prevent the tragedy.

The shooting happened during the peak holiday shopping season at the Clackamas Town Center in the Portland suburbs, reports Reuters.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened, and many may be reminded of the movie theater shooting in Colorado earlier this year.

Shopping malls are typically safe places where families, the elderly, and children go to have a good time, eat, and hang out.

So is it even legal for individuals to carry a gun inside a mall?

Many states have concealed carry laws that allow someone to carry a concealed handgun in public places. Oregon is one of these states where someone can apply for a concealed handgun permit.

But even so, private businesses like privately owned shopping malls, department stores, and movie theaters can still generally prohibit people from carrying concealed guns into their establishments. Many have "no firearms" policies which are often posted on doors and in entryways. So regardless of whether you have a concealed carry license or not, a business owner can still legally tell you to leave your gun outside.

Still, enforcement of these laws is nearly impossible for authorities and especially businesses. Furthermore, if a crazed gunman wants to shoot people at a mall, he is not likely to care about whether he has a weapons permit or about a store's particular policy regarding handguns.

But as with other recent shootings, Tuesday's mall shooting is likely to set off a debate about gun violence, and about what led the shooter to open fire in the first place.

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