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Should Private Businesses Be Able To Ban Concealed Carry on Their Property?

We know these signs do nothing to protect law-abiding people. So why are they so prevalent?

Our great republic has diversity across its 50 States. But a commonality across the States that gun owners are sure to notice are signs. Specifically, signs at businesses that state something like ‘no weapons allowed.'

I don't want to rehash the same old topic of how utterly ridiculous these signs are. Anyone with the least bit of common sense knows that putting up a sign like this makes no one the least bit safer. Well, I take that back. These signs do embolden criminals who see unarmed people in these ‘gun free zones' ‘criminal protection zones' as soft targets. So yeah, criminals are absolutely safer in these locations … way to go business owner.

People can deny these obvious truths, heck people still argue the Earth is flat. But a lot of business owners aren't part of the Flat Earth Society. So why do they put these signs up, and is it even legal to ban legal law abiding concealed carriers?

Why Post These Ridiculous Signs in the First Place?

1. Ignorance of the law –

Business owners concern themselves with liability. And rightfully so! They often draw a parallel between the person who slips on a wet floor, and the person who is accidentally shot with a firearm. They fear a civil suit from both. But this correlation is inaccurate.

Many states have laws protecting business owners from such lawsuits. Even States that don't have specific laws, still require the injured person show how the business was somehow negligent. I can see the business owner's negligence if they fail to warn customers of a slippery wet floor …

… but do people honestly believe a business owner is liable for ANY injury sustained on their property? Is the store owner liable if one customer punches another and injures their hand? Of course not!

2. Misunderstanding of guns –

This goes without saying. Some people have a real fear of guns. They believe merely being near a gun puts them in some sort of peril. This causes them to apply their personal belief that guns are dangerous and bad.

3. State-sponsored prohibition-

States require business owners post certain information for their employees. Some of the materials come directly from that State's Labor Department. Several states (including the one in which I reside) include no gun policy signage with these materials. This creates a situation where a business owner may believe they MUST have such a policy. Or maybe a store owner is too lazy to change it or just wants to err on the side of caution.

Chart comparing the major firearms insurance companies

Misunderstanding of the law causes some owners to enact no gun policies.

Is it Legal?

This is the argument that I find intriguing. I may upset many of you but before I present the legality of it all, I'll tell you my opinion.

Private business owners should be free to choose if they allow weapons inside their business or not.

I feel such a policy is stupid for all the reasons already stated, but I also believe the State should not dictate who or what the private business owner must allow into their store. With some narrow exceptions …

There are federal and state level laws that do regulate this very thing. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it a Federal crime to discriminate. Other legislation would follow, creating ‘protected classes.' These include:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • national origin
  • age
  • sex (sexual orientation)
  • familial status
  • citizenship
  • pregnancy
  • disability
  • veteran
  • genetic information

States are free to create additional protected classes, and many have done so.

But you see firearm owners is not a protected class. Several states have unsuccessfully attempted to label firearm owners as a protected class, so business owners may lawfully discriminate or refuse service to armed customers.

The constitution protects the rights of the individual from the government, not another private individual.

What about my Constitutional Rights?

I do understand the bill of rights. The Second Amendment and the Heller decision have affirmed that we have the right to keep and bear arms. Not merely for hunting, or solely inside our home, but for our protection. This does, in fact, extend outside of our home.

However, the Bill of Rights protects the individual from the Government, not other private citizens. So private business owners can limit constitutional rights on private property. It makes sense right?

Wearing a Nazi swastika armband is protected speech under the First Amendment. Someone wearing one while walking on a public street cannot be arrested. But, a private business owner can certainly refuse service to the person wearing the armband.

Want to compare USCCA, US Law Shield, NRA Carry Guard, and the rest? Here's a chart.

This is exactly why private business owners should have a say on who and what they allow into their businesses. Imagine if the owner of a bakery, who happened to be a Holocaust survivor was forced to allow Nazis to gather in his store.

But Here is my Issue!

My issue is not the fact that armed people can be barred service in privately owned businesses (although it's stupid). My issue is with how the violation is criminalized.

The law varies from state to state. The violation in some states is a criminal charge, in other a civil charge.

Some states place the burden of proof on the prosecution to show the gun owner should have reasonably seen the sign.

In some states it's worse! Absent some extenuating condition, the assumption is that the gun owner knows the store policy. No verbal notification, or refusal to leave is necessary. This turns law-abiding citizens into criminals.

Think back to the dude with the swastika armband. Say he walks into the business that prohibits Nazis inside the store. By simply walking in the store, he/she wouldn't be arrested. Only after being told the policy and asked to leave would a trespassing charge be pursued.

Why should this be different for a citizen who is simply doing something that is also a protected right? You know, carrying a firearm for personal protection.

These laws unfairly criminalize otherwise law-abiding citizens.

And I'll give you this to ponder: Many states allow places funded with taxpayer money to prohibit law-abiding concealed carriers. Zoos and libraries commonly are funded with your tax dollars. Yet many of these places have clearly posted no weapon signs. Isn't it wrong to have to pay for something, and be excluded from enjoying it?

What to Do?

  • vote- You can't complain if you are not part of the process.
  • stay informed in your state's representatives stances on gun issues- Vote out those who would legislate away your gun rights.
  • join activist groups- Join a national gun advocacy group that fights for gun owner's rights. There are also local groups whose goal is to lobby the state for your legal gun rights.

You have to be engaged in the shaping of your state's gun laws.

Sound off and let us know how you feel about your state's law regarding armed citizens on private property.

Stay safe and God bless.

Who offers the best insurance when you pull the trigger in self-defense? Find out here!


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8 Responses to Should Private Businesses Be Able To Ban Concealed Carry on Their Property?

  1. Darkwing September 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    If a business does not want me to come into their business armed, then I do not go to that business. People should vote or voice an opinion with their dollars. PLUS you tell the manager that you are going to tell every one not to go to these business

  2. Harry Frank September 29, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    Couldn’t disagree more. If a neighbor doesn’t want me to come into his house with muddy shoes, I take my shoes off. If one of our local business doesn’t want me to come in with my handgun, I leave it in the car. Courtesy and respect for others vs. my rights? No contest. To do otherwise would be as childish and petulant as exercising freedom of speech with insult and obscenity.

    • Sam June 25, 2018 at 6:19 pm #

      Criminals will not take off there muddy shoes if they are robbing your house. Just like no gun signs tell crooks that here are free targets. No gins mean no safety for you, me or our families. I have walked away from businesses for not allowing me to protect my family.

  3. Darrell October 1, 2017 at 8:40 am #

    Should Private Businesses Be Able To Ban Concealed Carry on Their Property? Definitely YES!! Private Property RIGHTS!! But YOU can also tell the business owner, that because of his action you and ALL of your friends will take their business elsewhere, AND you will be sure that everyone YOU knows KNOWS the business policy of providing a ‘gun free killing zone’ to the criminal element.

  4. Warren March 21, 2018 at 12:30 pm #

    I suggested to my state representative the following:

    Special tax/penalty for businesses that are gun free zones (money to go to schools for firearms training) or to a fund to compensate victims of gun free zones.

    Not sure if it made his list of things to do.

  5. Dean March 21, 2018 at 3:14 pm #

    Private property. The owner controls the premises. Up to the owner along with any liability that might come from ownership of property. It isn’t a law so it is no crime unless told to leave and refusing to do so at which point it becomes trespassing.

  6. Denis June 25, 2018 at 12:06 am #

    It is pretty simple :

    1) Despite the misinformation and “fake news” from the gun lobby, GFZs are dramatically safer than non GFZ. For example. Australia’s gun controls effectively made 95% of the population living in GFZs. Since then there hasnt been a single mass shooting in a GFZ – NOT ONE in 20 years for 95% of the population !

    Conversely the 5% has had two mass shootings (in 20 years). I could post stats from countries and jurisdictions all over the world (including USA) – but at the end of the day – the business owners should be free to accept the evidence.

    2) It is a business decision . Again I have published data on this showing that for businesses that arent gun specific they are likely to be better off with such a rule.

    • Matthew Maruster June 26, 2018 at 8:57 am #

      I don’t think Australia’s gun controls would have been nearly as effective if they simply posted ‘no gun’ signs around the country. I imagine that prohibition and confiscation of firearms had more of an effect than signage. So you are actually getting off topic in comparing a private business putting up a sign in hopes it makes bad guys not bring guns into their store, and a country effectively eliminating access to firearms across the board.

      I have to disagree with you on the GFZ’s being safer than non-GFZ’s. I would encourage you to look at the locations of active shootings in the last 10 years. You will find that it shows that premise to be incorrect. You could also extrapolate the fallacy of the GFZ being safe, by looking at areas like Detroit which in essence are GFZ’s. It hasn’t curbed the criminality of gang members using firearms.

      On a positive note, I do agree that store owners should have the right to prohibit firearms on their property. Until such a time that gun owners become a protected class like any of the other protected classes.

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