Everyone Is Armed

In this trope, a crowd of people (patrons in a bar, people in line at the bank, worshippers at church, etc.), are all armed to the teeth, down to the old lady with a walker, the nun, and the clown with the balloons. Like Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting, only with guns, swords, knives, brass knuckles, etc. In other words, a crowd where everyone's a Badass Bystander.

Virtually a given in all Zombie Apocalypse scenarios and libertarian utopias, and frequently the case with Crapsack Worlds, World of Badass, and people who HAD To Be Sharp. When someone makes the mistake of threatening these people not knowing how well-prepared for trouble they are, it's a case of Mugging the Monster. This trope sometimes averts Guns in Church, when ordinarily it would be spectacularly inappropriate to carry weapons.

A variation of this is when the hero and the villain meet in a supposedly neutral public place, only to have it turn out that all the bystanders are really the villain's Mooks.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime and Manga 
  • In the third episode of Trigun, Vash stands up to a group robbing the bank. A few other people slowly stand with him before the entire town begins bringing out their guns. The only people who don't have guns are Vash and the gunsmith.
    • It would be pretty stupid to assume anyone on the planet of Gunsmoke (seriously, that's its name) doesn't have a gun. Even Milly, one of the kindest people you'd ever meet, has a (nonlethal) gun. In this case the robbers were pretending to be Vash and relying on his reputation to intimidate the townspeople into not attacking.
  • Given the kind of town it is, it's hardly surprising that pretty much everyone in Roanapur is packing, including the nuns. Especially the nuns.

    Comic Books 
  • Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire has the planet New Hong Kong, where this is the norm thanks to the planet's only law being "There Shall Be No Law". Even EMTs whose job it is to help people who've been shot go armed.
  • The Freak Brothers #5 has a one-page story "Violence On The Bus", where a panic leads to at least half the people on a bus drawing firearms and shooting.
  • The Couriers As the main entry puts it: The series is set in an NYC where bicycle couriers routinely carry Uzis and running gunfights down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway attract little police interest.
  • In the KnightsQuest story arc of Batman, a pair of criminals decide to crash a gun show to steal a special weapon that is being displayed. When they make their move, one panel shows the shocked reactions of the convention goers. The next panel shows them grinning ear-to-ear as they all pull out their own firearms.
  • The adult humor comic Cherry #3 includes a parody of slasher films in which Cherry is attacked by a maniac killer. Fortunately she and her friends are Genre Savvy enough to all be armed, and the maniac is pulverized by gunfire.
  • In the Disney Comics story "Minuteman Mickey", a Hessian mercenary who thinks he can terrorize the entire city of Boston all by himself finds himself facing an impenetrable wall of muskets and bayonets (especially funny because we never actually see who's wielding the guns) and promptly runs back to his balloon and flies back to England.

    Fan Works 

  • In the 1985 Chuck Norris movie Code of Silence, two armed robbers attempt to hold up the bar where all the off-duty cops hang out. It does not end well.
  • In Fast Five, Dom reminds Hobbs that they are no longer in the United States and states "this is Rio". Suddenly everyone in the crowd pulls out a gun.
  • In RoboCop 3, a truly stupid crook picks the wrong doughnut shop to attempt to rob.
    Cashier: [as every laser sight in the shop centers on the crook] What's it like being a rocket scientist?
  • In Predator 2, several people in a subway car draw guns in response to an attempted robbery, including the two cops who happen to be there at the time. Unfortunately, since this happens at the same time the Predator was stalking the subway car, all this achieved was adding more potential targets for him to hunt. Still, at least no-one was robbed.
  • In The Naked Gun: Nordberg Takes about five minutes breaking down the door to arrest a boatload of villains. He finally gets through the door but everyone in the cabin already has their hardware out and pointed at him.
  • Also Played for Laughs in Airplane! when a Hysterical Woman has a panic attack when it appears that the plane is going to crash. Leslie Nielsen begins slapping her, but then is interrupted by a stewardess, who takes over and resumes the slapping. The stewardess is in turn interrupted by a nun, and then she begins to slap the woman mercilessly. We then pan alongside an absurdly long line of passengers, all of them wielding increasingly deadly weapons with which to assault the poor woman.
  • During the escape from the Death Star in A New Hope, Han Solo chases a small group of Stormtroopers right into a room full of MORE Stormtroopers. In the Special Edition, Lucas turns it up to 11 by making the room an entire Hangar full of CGI Imperials.
  • Last Action Hero, The funeral scene where all the mourners- including grannies and nuns- whip out firearms.
  • In Hot Fuzz, someone casually mentions that there are more guns in the English countryside than in the cities. Sure enoug, during the final confrontation, literally everyone in town has a gun.
    Andy: Around here, everyone and their mums is packing.
    Angel: Like who?!
    Andy: Farmers...
    Angel: And?!
    Andy: Farmers' mums...
  • In Blazing Saddles, this was the reception Sheriff Bart received upon entering Rock Ridge for the first time. Even the school marm was packing!
  • Referenced in Miss Congeniality. After Gracie tackles a guy in the crowd thinking he was a shooter (he was reaching for his lighter and a cigarette), she tries to defend her actions by pointing out the man did have a gun. The response is: "Of course he had a gun! This is Texas, everyone has a gun! My florist has a gun!"
  • Looper: Due to the fact that in the future world, almost anyone can be killed with little consequence.
  • ThePunisher1989: a high-level Mafioso meeting turns out to be a Bystander Mooks ambush.
  • The Thin Man sequel ""The Thin Man Goes Home'': Before giving The Summation, Nick wants everyone searched for weapons, despite his father's protestations the small-town folks wouldn't be packing. Most are.
  • DeadSnow: Averted in the sequel, when some Americans facing a horde of undead Nazi soldiers in Norway are appalled at the lack of available firearms.

  • The Dean Koontz novel Frankenstein: Lost Souls: an attempt to begin assimilating the townsfolk en masse at a gathering goes awry when it turns out that almost every adult in town carries a firearm, and the villains encounter significantly more resistance than they had planned on.
  • Healer by F Paul Wilson. One of the planets in this fictional universe is Flint, basically the Planet of the Anarchist Gun Nuts. Everyone there is armed. Invaders who have been using a portal technology to launch terror raids try this on Flint only to instantly come under fire by everyone they encounter. (Thanks to Der Trihs of the Straight Dope Message Board)
  • The novel The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith portrays a minarchist society in an alternate history North America, where no one would think of not being armed.The Web Comic version is here
  • In Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code, Artemis and Butler walk into the bystander Mooks version.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels
    • Feet of Clay has a bunch of robbers burst into a tavern frequented by the City Guard: "As their eyes grew accustomed to the gloom, they received a general impression of armorality, with strong overtones of helmetness." They try to take a hostage, but make a poor choice.
    • In Hogfather there is an attempt to coerce cooperation out of the patrons of Biers. This was also a poor choice.
  • A Brother's Price Captain Tern (correctly) predicts that this is so for the famous, infamous Whistler family, saying that the girls were probably given gun-shaped teething toys as babies, and their first actual rifles starting at age eight.
    • When Jerin and some of his sisters arrive at the palace, they're required to disarm. Security is astonished to find that even Jerin has both a gun and a knife, since in this world, men do not normally carry weapons, instead relying on their mothers/sisters/wives to protect them.
  • Across The Great Barrier: In an alternate North America inhabited by both pleistocene and magical fauna, going armed is indispensable anywhere beyond the protected frontier.
  • The Icelandic Sagas accurately depict the omnipresence of weapons in Norse society.
  • Skylark Series by EE Smith, all the heroes are in the habit of going constantly armed...and need to.
  • In Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, even the math nerds are armed- not too surprisingly since they're involved in a top-secret encryption program.
  • A running gag in the Stephanie Plum novels is that despite New Jersey's strict gun laws, nearly everyone has illegal firearms. The bond office's collateral storeroom is a virtual armory.
  • In Freehold, by Michael Z. Williamson, a thug from a police-state world where average citizens never carry guns tries to rob a gun store on Freehold, a libertarian's utopia. He gets the first shot off because the gun store owner wasn't expecting anyone to pull something that stupid, but then the owner (who was wearing a bulletproof vest) and every other customer in the store open up on him with their own weapons, and he never gets a second shot.
  • Voyage From Yesteryear by James P. Hogan. Among the many ways the anarchist Chironians differ from the second wave of colonists from authoritarian Earth is the ubiquitous possession of guns.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The opening scenes of Burn Notice shows Michael running away from the bad guys which involves a car chase through busy streets. When they stop and pull guns on him, however, about two dozen bystanders whip out firearms of their own, allowing Michael to escape.
    • Michael lampshades this by noting Nigeria as the "gun running capital" of Africa, and that it wasn't a good place to have a car chase.
  • Mega Python vs. Gatoroid on SyFy. There was a scene at a outdoor function that the gators / pythons attacked, and as soon as the attack began, everyone (including the waiters) was suddenly packing heat, and laid down a torrent of lead.
  • Reno 911!: Miami, where Dangle fires a gun to quiet a rap party and all of the participants pull out and aim their guns at him and Junior.
  • The TV series Turks's pilot episode featured an attempted robbery of a cop bar.
  • A 1986 made-for-TV movie The Right of the People, depicting a small town that enacts a law lifting all restrictions on public carry of firearms, with decidedly mixed results.
  • In an episode of Psych, mobsters try to attack Lassiter and Marlowe's wedding. Everyone, including the groom, draw their weapons and gun them down before continuing with the ceremony.
  • The History Channel reality show Pawn Stars. Lampshaded heavily in the pitch reel for the show, but downplayed with the actual series.


  • Welcome to Night Vale, a parody of community radio set in a small town inundated by the paranormal. Even the elementary school students are armed. Granted, this is practically a necessity for survival in Night Vale.

     Pro Wrestling 
  • Inverted in pro wrestling, where nobody is armed - not even (in Kayfabe) the security guards - instead having to rely on Good Old Fisticuffs. This allows the heels to get away with all sorts of atrocities, seize control of the arena, and even take their brawls outside the arena and out into the street. (It also explains why most characters flee in terror from The Undertaker instead of just shooting him in the head Night of the Living Dead-style.) In fact, on only one occasion has a firearm ever been used on Monday Night Raw, and that was during an "off-camera" segment.

    Role Play 
  • Pandora: Take beings from multiple alternate realities, dump into a confined region, and stir. Being as deadly as possible is a prerequisite for survival.
  • Systems Malfunction: Everyone has, or IS, a weapon.
  • The Coalition Of Ponyist States, a RP group on the NationStates forums inspired by the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic cartoon. One of the Ponyist states, The Theocratic Hobbiest Republican Empire, a.k.a. The Hobbiests, is a formerly apocalyptic wasteland settled by religious outcasts and right-wing nutjobs. Everyone Is Armed? You bet.
  • Sburb Patch Notes, a roll play/play by post site based on the webcomic (now increasingly and self-referentially multi-media) Homestuck. For the characters involved, having a weapon is a built-in stat required by the very universe-game they inhabit.

    Video Games 
  • A cheat code for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas causes all pedestrians to be armed, carrying everything from handguns to RPGs.
  • Due to a glitch in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, attacking certain pedestrians and then standing on a car would result in the pedestrian running confused into the vehicle for a few seconds before pulling out a pistol and attacking you with it.
  • Pretty much the norm in Skyrim, where everyone from the local alchemist to the builder down the street probably has an axe or a dagger on them at all times. And given that there's a good chance that either the Civil War, roaming bandits, errant wildlife or even dragons could descend upon your village at any time, it's just logical to do so.
    • Add to the fact that the native population are the Nords, it's not surprising that in addition to being armed, everyone happens to be wearing Twenty Four Hour Armour as well.
  • For some reason, every single person whom you mindhack in Mindjack somehow has a shotgun on them. Even little girls.
  • In Postal, depending on which game of the series and difficulty setting you're playing, your shooter character lives in a Crapsack World where everyone is trying to kill him back.
  • This is also, justifiably the case in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. Since it's a post-apocalyptic wasteland where bands of psychotic raiders roam unchecked, it essentially makes carrying a gun a necessity.
  • In Jak 3: Wastelander everyone in Spargus carries a weapon in sharp contrast to their counterparts in Haven City.
  • Every human villager in Dwarf Fortress is armed with either a knife or a cleaver, down to the children.

     Web Comics 
  • This page of a Ralph Hayes, Jr. webcomic highlights the brief career of a would-be supervillain.
    "You remember reading about that little town that made it mandatory to own a firearm?"
    "Cedar Springs was the second one to do that."
  • Escape from Terra , the webcomic by Big Head Press features an anarchic Belter society centered on the minor planet Ceres where virtually everyone carries a gun or a knife
  • roswell, texas by L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser also from the big headed press tops this.
  • Magick Chicks — students of Artemis Academy are divided to "Combat Cadets", "Ninja Club", "Magical Cadets" and "Esper Collective". So when Skye after going darker and hotter crashed a party with a pack of wolves, in the first page a girl screams "Wolves!", everyone backs off and Callista is the only one holding a bow. Once this escalates, though, on the next page they all hold weapons — except Sandi (the only one shaken by this), Cerise (who conjured a tiny lightning ball) and Espers (in their own stances).
  • This is pretty much a given in the world of Drowtales, especially in the city of Chel'el'sussoloth, which following a 15 year timeskip is largely embroiled in a civil war. And even before the war the ever present threat of demonic possession meant it was practical to keep at least a sword around in case your family members or friends suddenly starting trying to eat your brains.

     Web Original 
  • The crossover episode "Russian Meal Time" between the web video shows EpicMealTime and FPSRussia. Apparently guns were necessary tools for the preparation of every dish.
  • In Worm, the town of Brockton Bay was an uncontrolled disaster area for several months after the attack of the Endbringer Leviathan. When the protagonist heads back to school afterwards, she notes that one of the main differences between the kids who moved to other cities for the duration and the ones that stayed is that the ones that stayed are having to check their weapons with the gate guards.

    Western Animation 
  • Rango, where the title character asks if anyone has guns to contribute, and they all pull out multiples, even the cute little mole girl.
  • The Simpsons
    • In the first part of the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" storyline, every adult in town but Marge and possibly the Mayor is packing heat at the town meeting.
    • It eventually is strongly hinted that Marge does habitually go armed, with the very gun Homer was eventually convinced to stop carrying.
    • Spoofed in the episode that parodied Tom Sawyer. Everyone on a riverboat pulls a derringer on each other at the same time. Then they fire them and the bullets bounce off the windows. Them derringers are weak. Powerful weak.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Almost Got 'Im", various Batman villains meet in a club and tell tales of how they almost killed Batman once. Turns out one of them is Batman in disguise trying to get critical info. When he reveals this they all pull out guns; but then every patron in the club pulls out a gun pointing at the villains - they were all undercover Gotham police, making this an example of the bystanders being the hero's mooks.

    Real Life 
  • In early human history the men of most families were expected to be proficient with arms, first for hunting then later for defense against beasts and each other. Some cultures also let women carry defensive weapons like knives to protect themselves and their children and some places even considered it acceptable to arm the children. After standing armies became common, bladed implements like knives and machetes were still widely carried as all-purpose tools until modern regulation of lethal and potentially lethal weapons. People in several Asian and African countries as well as more remote areas of developed nations still wear their knives openly.
  • Some historical social classes, such as gentlemen in Europe and samurai in Japan, carried weapons as a symbol of their station. In Europe, when swords went out of style, walking sticks took over, which were essentially fancy clubs. Thus, when you were rubbing elbows with the elite, everyone was armed.
  • In Athens owning a shield and corselet was for a long time a condition for voting.
  • Sikh men are required by religious law to carry a knife with them at all times. These days it's usually a small, ceremonial knife.
  • Pakistan has both a constitutional guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms and a strong social tradition of firearms ownership, especially in rural and tribal areas. Laws vary by province but can include even the possession of heavy military ordinance. See Gun Politics in Pakistan
  • In recent years most of the states of the US have passed handgun carry laws that allow almost any law-abiding citizen with a clean record to obtain a permit to publicly carry a firearm, and going armed has become more common. In some states, a permit is only required to conceal the weapon- you can walk around with your gun on your belt completely legally.
    • The state of Vermont has no licensing requirements for carry at all, and three states (Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma) accept Vermont state IDs as carry permits. In fact, Alaska and Arizona do not require carry permits either, they just issue them to residents for reciprocity with other states, as does Wyoming.
  • Large areas of the state of Alaska are bear country- grizzly, kodiak and polar. Large caliber handguns are the preferred emergency gun when suddenly attacked by a bear- with the .44 Magnum considered the minimum you want to be armed with.
  • The attempt by the James/Younger gang to rob a bank in Northfield Minnesota in 1876 led to several of the gang members being killed or captured by armed citizens.
  • And the attempt by the Dalton gang to rob two banks in Coffeyville Kansas in 1892 ended in a gun battle. It was the last raid the Dalton gang ever made.
  • Back during the 1920's in Texas bank robberies were alarmingly common, often 3 to 4 heists in a day. In response, the Texas Bankers Association offered up a $5000 (about $68,000 today) reward to anyone who shot a robber during the crime. So whenever a bank got hit the robbers didn't just have to contend with local law enforcement, but also dozens of trigger-happy residents eager to collect on the reward money.
  • Kennesaw, Georgia famously passed an ordinance in 1982 actively requiring most heads of households there to possess a gun and ammunition.
    • However, the exceptions listed in the law include what amounts to "people who don't want to own firearms," making the law essentially "everybody who wants to do so and is able to do so must do so."
    • Nelson, Georgia passed a similar law in April 2013, although it was admitted that the law is mostly symbolic.
  • After the Ma'alot Massacre in Israel in May 1974, a Civil Guard program was established where civilian volunteers could be trained as armed police auxiliaries to keep watch and be on-the-spot responders. Reportedly, so many would-be terrorists were ignominiously killed by such auxiliaries that Hamas switched to bombing instead of using guns in Israel.
  • Every few years another incident makes the news in which crooks attempt armed robbery in places where multiple off-duty police officers happen to be.
    • One notable example involves the robber robbing a bank branch in New York, directly under the FBI's office, on payday.
    • There have been notable examples of inept criminals trying to rob bars or restaurants frequented by off-duty police (which, in many places, tend to be frequented by few others). There has also been at least one example of rather cleverer criminals staging an apparently stupid attempt to rob such, then a second group arriving after the obvious happens, posing as another, unfamiliar group of police. The second group of criminals then attempt to trick the real police in the establishment out of their guns to conduct a real robbery.
    • There's also been at least one instance of an attempted robbery at a fast-food place with a large number of police officers there as customers, such as on lunch break from a training seminar.
    • Exaggerated in the retelling, but there's also the time a robber tried to rob a Gun Store , complete with an off-duty cop who had parked his car in front of the store. With predictable results.
  • During the Viking Age, men were actually required by law to own weapons. This made sense as most armies in medieval Scandinavia were made up levies from the population.
    • Similarly, in 1181 King Henry II of England issued the Assize Of Arms, which required every freeman to be armed, with the weapon depending on their wealth. In 1253 this was expanded even to serfs, who were required to be able to answer a summons to arms with at least a dagger and spear.
    • Later, King Henry VIII required every able-bodied man or boy over the age of 14 to own and practice with a longbow for several hours a week (even going as far as to pass laws banning other sports).
  • The Second Amendment of the United States of America has caused the country to develop a reputation of everyone being trigger-happy gun owners. This was actually brought up during World War II by Admiral Yamamoto, who famously said "You cannot invade America. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."