Don’t Be Too Quick To Boycott That No-Gun Business

Over the last 8 years or so, responsible and legal gun owners across the country have universally been demonized and lumped in with any psychopath or criminal that decides to use a firearm to carry out any crime.  No distinction is made between law abiding citizens living within the God given rights that were afforded to us and protected by our constitution, and the sad souls who have no regard for human life.  Unfortunately, this constant attack has caused many of us in the gun community to grow intolerant or lose patience with uneducated and misinformed people and companies.  Especially when a company or business owner decides to create a ‘no-gun' zone in their private business.  You should check your state law concerning private property and the right of that business owner to prohibit legally possessed firearms in their business.   Additionally understand the various punishments (criminal vs civil) coming from a possible violation.  Even though the laws are different from state to state, our response can be universal.

Every aspect of our lives can easily be connected to the internet.  We all have such a larger reach to people than we did a few short years ago.  Social media like Facebook, allows our individual experience to be shared an incredible number of times, reaching millions.  There are also online petitions like that allow seemingly anyone to start a petition for nearly any reason.  In my opinion, these tools are great when used appropriately.  But it appears that over use of these tools reduces their actual impact or legitimacy.  Social media and petitions are great for drawing awareness to problems, for example a business that prohibits legally possessed firearms.  But we should be careful to not quickly jump to these platforms, or create a petition for a boycott of a store, before fully understanding the situation.

Recently, I saw a post wOpen_Carry_of_a_9mm_Browning_Hi_Power_in_Eagle,_Coloradohere an open carrier was told to leave a well known home improvement store in their state (open carry is legal in that state).  They had shopped there for years, and open carried many times without an issue.  Apparently a new manager told this person they could no longer open carry and that they had to leave.  Hundreds of people read this post and weighed in, immediately calling for a ban of the store and that they would never shop there again.  Out of the many that I read, one post of clarity made its way through.  The person recommended the open carrier, call the corporate office of the store and find out the official policy concerning firearms.  Turns out that the official policy allows open carry, and the open carrier was apologized to and told that the local store manager was incorrect in how they handled the situation.

The reason I mention this, is so often we are quick to become defensive.  Perhaps it is because we are constantly being treated differently, as if we are criminals.  Many large corporations like the store in the above scenario, have corporate policies that may be contrary to the local manager's opinion about prohibiting legally carried firearms on the property.  Small businesses have their individual policies.  Some may have placed a sign up long ago, before realizing how important having legal, responsible gun carrying civilians in their business is, and just never thought about changing the policy.  Perhaps the business has changed ownership and no one ever really addressed the no-gun policy of the prior management or even questioned it.  If you routinely visit a small business that has a policy against legal firearm possession, instead of immediately grabbing your torch and pitchfork, demanding a boycott or blasting them on social media, we would do much better as a gun community to respectfully speak with the management. Perhaps through education we can bring some of these gun fearing store owners over to the side of reality and understand the safety that comes from doing away with such a policy.  The worst thing that can happen if you handle yourself professionally is the manager says “no”.  But the outcome may actually surprise you.  I spoke to one of my students who recently did just this.  He spoke with the owner of a store he normally visited.  He spoke with facts and was professional while presenting the reasons why allowing legally armed citizens in the store would actually be a good thing.   Low and behold, the store changed from a no-gun zone to a store of 2nd amendment freedom, all without negative bashing or boycotts.

I know we are treated differently because of our choice to carry a firearm.  After a while, this can become very disheartening and it can become more difficult to take the high road.  But understanding that much of the belief that a no-gun zone is safer, comes from the media's brainwashing of the public, and ignorance of the facts.  We have to combat the hysteria and ignorance with knowledge and dialogue.  I believe we will get much better responses if we educate business owners.  When, after we have presented a logical argument and the business owner decides to continue to prohibit law abiding citizens the right to cary in their store, it may be the time to refrain from shopping at that business.  If the management goes overboard and is hostile, it may be appropriate and a time to use social media to bring light to the incident.  USA Firearm Training has a great tool that allows anyone to add a business that is a no-gun zone.  This tool is easily accessed and the more of us who add good information, the more we, as a community can know where we are welcome and where we are not.  The database can be accessed here.

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Roamer on August 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I think you are 100% correct in your thought processes and outlook. I could not agree more.

    • Matthew Maruster on August 10, 2016 at 7:36 am

      Glad you agree Roamer. I hope we can change more business’ policies, rather than adding to the list of boycotted businesses.

    • Bruce on December 25, 2021 at 7:49 am

      Private businesses have the right to ban guns. And guess what? When boycotts grow of businesses that ALLOW guns, then we’ll start to see fewer shootings.
      And God didn’t give you the rights to walk around with guns to make up for your inadequacies. “The Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud,’ on the American public,” former chief justice Warren E. Burger said in a 1991 interview.”
      I would never let my kids to enter a house I know has guns, play wiht a kid whose parents I know own guns, or enter a business in a legal carry state that does not ban them.
      People who insist on walking around with guns are losers and deserve to be ostracized.

  2. Eric Racine on August 8, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I feel that gun free businesses are more dangerous than those that are not. I am particularly leery of restaurants of that ilk. In our state the prohibitive signs carry the weight of law, and I have no choice but to respect them or stay out of them. In general, I feel those signs offer a sense of comfort to both the uniformed and the criminal intent on some evil act.

    • Matthew Maruster on August 10, 2016 at 7:34 am

      I totally agree, I think these ‘no gun’ zones make about as much sense as a child who hides under their blanket so the monster can’t get them.

      • Bruce on December 25, 2021 at 7:50 am

        Very intelligent comment.

  3. Brian Spaulding on August 8, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    In Tennessee, if a person leaves their gun in their car in order to patronize an establishment that has posted a “no guns” notice, and is injured by someone with a gun, then that person can sue the business.

    • Matthew Maruster on August 10, 2016 at 7:32 am

      I think that makes total sense.

  4. Ilka Marie on August 10, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Excellent article! Reasonable and polite responses to people who are more often than not simply afraid of the unfamiliar, are the best way to educate and counter the media spread hysteria, which has infected so many of our young people. Thank you again for your article.

    • Matthew Maruster on August 11, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind words. Glad you liked the article 🙂 We definitely have to change the perception of firearms, and educating people has to be a part of that.

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