No guns allowed signs can be a hassle, even to law enforcers. Let’s talk about how to deal with the signs here.
In this article:
- Two Types of No Guns Allowed Signs in Establishments
- A Responsible CCW Holder’s Take on the No Guns Allowed Signs
- Your Options
No Guns Allowed Signs: What You Should Know
Two Types of No Guns Allowed Signs in Establishments
Here in Colorado, you see two types of no guns allowed signs. The first is predictable, the second humorous. It’s most common here to see no guns allowed signs that say some form of “No Guns/Firearms/Weapons Allowed in the Building.” The one I prefer says, “Guns Are Welcome on Premises. Please Keep All Weapons Holstered Unless Need Arises. In Such a Case, Judicious Marksmanship is Appreciated.”
I saw the first sign in my gastroenterology doctor’s office when I went to get my colonoscopy, which I thought was funny. Who brings a gun to their colonoscopy? It doesn’t hurt at all, you’re asleep through the entire procedure, and you wake up and go eat a nice breakfast. The guy I want to shoot is the one who invented that horrible liquid hell you have to drink the night before the procedure.
Sign number one implies this: “If you’re legally allowed to carry a concealed firearm, that means you have passed some sort of licensing, background check, or qualification process to do so. However, no guns here. We prefer to live with our heads in the sand on this whole gun issue. We hope that nothing bad ever happens here and that no armed robber, active shooter, or mass attacker ever darkens our door. In fact, we hope our sign keeps him out. Besides, you might scare our customers if they find out you’re armed.”
A Responsible CCW Holder’s Take on the No Guns Allowed Signs
A couple things: most CCW holders I know go to great lengths to make certain no one ever discovers they are carrying a hidden, holstered gun. We buy the best holsters. We even buy specific clothing to keep our guns covered and not “imprinted” in all weathers and seasons. That way, no one will ever know we are armed.
In my cop experience, most street hoods didn’t carry guns in holsters (professional crooks do, however). Most dumb bad guys carried their guns jammed in their waistbands or in their jacket pockets. While I didn’t or wouldn’t bet my life on the premise that people with guns in real holsters were not bad guys, I have usually found this to be true. If I see a glimpse of a holster under a jacket or shirt, I’m sizing that person up most often as a cop (and I can spot them a mile away) or a responsible CCW holder.
I like to do business with shops or offices that have sign version number two. It suggests they see me as a responsible CCW holder or gun owner. They don’t view me as a Coca-Cola Cowboy or some wannabe Rambo, ready to solve all the world’s crime and violence problems with a gun. I appreciate their gesture of respect that I and my concealed-carry brothers and sisters, when we follow the law and use good judgment, deserve.
Here Are Your Options:
1. Comply with Those Signs When and Where it’s Legally Necessary to Do So
Don’t start a confrontation if the law is not on your side. You should already know you can’t bring your gun into the airport, jail or prison, courthouse, state or federal building, or any other facility that prohibits it by statute. Be a good citizen, and don’t get yourself arrested for stubbornness or stupidity.
2 Ignore them, Which is What I Do
Completely and safely conceal your gun and go about your business in the business establishment. It is a store’s right– as a private entity – to ban people from bringing guns into the business. I get it. It’s their store or facility.
There is also a hair-splitting difference: some national chains and local businesses ban exposed firearms and some ban all firearms. The people I’ve met who want to come into a store or restaurant with an exposed weapon are usually trying to make some kind of political statement.
To me, the political statement you’re making is: You’re freaking people out! Seeing visible guns, even in more gun-friendly counties or states, can be jarring for other customers. This is especially true if they aren’t gun-friendly. Instead, always stay concealed and keep the emotional temperature down on this issue.
3. Speak to the Store Manager, or Better Yet, the Owner
Set an appointment to speak with someone in charge, either by telephone or face to face. Don’t bother talking with an employee about the issue. Employees either don’t care, feel too scared to address it, or don’t have the power to do anything.
4. Start a Social Media Discussion
The topic of no gun is great to discuss with your like-minded Facebook friends. You can share experiences of what happened to you, where, and why.
Recently, the police chief of Conroe, Texas went to a medical appointment in plain clothes. He had his gun, badge, and handcuffs on his belt and his ID card around his neck. The establishment asked him to leave the doctor’s office because of his exposed gun. This incident made FoxNews.com and points to the challenges even legal lawmen face on this no-guns-allowed issue.
These incidents open up discussions in social media which bring about the awareness of responsible gun owners and lawmakers.
5. Organize a Boycott
If an establishment has treated you rudely and asked you to leave because you were CCW, consider the Go-Nuclear option. Get loud and proud about the problem and organize a boycott of that store or business. Small groups can have a big impact (as our Declaration of Independence suggests) on the success or failure of a business.
Use social media, word of mouth, or even the involvement of the news media on the issue. If your being CCW turns into a confrontation that you didn’t start, vote with your wallet. Don’t shop there and encourage others to do the same.
Munitions Law Group – Cheshire DeBrosse, P.C. shows a video on carrying concealed in business establishments with posted no guns allowed signs:
No guns allowed sign law vary from state to state. Ohio no gun sign law bans guns in schools and safety zones. Chicago no guns sign is prevalent considering their stricter gun laws. But, do no gun signs have the force of law in Illinois? That is a question for another day. For now, what we can do is adhere to these laws, help make changes where we see fit, be a responsible gun owner, and encourage others to be, too.
Have you encountered any discrimination because you’re carrying a handgun or other weapons in public? What do you think yourself of no guns allowed signs? Let us know about your no guns experiences in the comments section below.
Contact Steve Albrecht at [email protected] or on Twitter @DrSteveAlbrecht
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 23, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.