Here in Colorado, you see two types of signs when it comes to guns. The first is predictable, the second humorous. It’s most common here to see no guns 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.”
No Guns Signs | How Do You Deal With Them
I saw the first sign at 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 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 adult. 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 when you see a no guns sign in a business you want or need to patronize:
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 a courthouse, jail or prison, airport, 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.
Ignore them, which is what I do.
Completely and safely conceal your gun and go about your business in the business. 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.
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.
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.
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 on 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 a business with a posted no carry sign:
Recently, the police chief of Conroe, Texas went to a medical appointment in plainclothes. 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.
Have you encountered any discrimination because you’re a carrying a handgun or other weapons in public? Let us know about your no guns expereinces in the comments section below.
Contact Steve Albrecht at [email protected] or on Twitter @DrSteveAlbrecht