They are popping up all across the country, little stickers on the front doors of businesses, restaurants and retail outlets informing concealed carry holders that they are not welcome to carry their legal firearm inside. But if you are a concealed carry holder you should ignore these attempts to curtail your rights. If you are legally armed, feel absolutely free to enter and patronize those stores with your firearm no matter what these anti-Constitution store owners want.
First of all, these stores have no right whatever to tell you that you aren’t allowed to observe your Second Amendment rights inside their establishments. No mere shop owner has the capability or the right to prevent Americans from enjoying their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.
This may sound like a contradiction for many conservatives. After all, most conservatives and gun owners are very supportive of rights in general and the right of private property owners to do what they want on their own property is no less important than our Second Amendment rights. So, how can conservatives and gun owners on one hand claim to support private property rights yet on the other feel it perfectly OK to tell the owner of that property that they cannot ban a CC carrier’s gun inside?
For one thing, the ship has sailed on the claim that owners of private property have free reign to do anything they want on their property. The Supreme Court has repeatedly, for instance, told business owners that they cannot discriminate against patrons based on their sex, race, creed et al. The law states that a mere store owner cannot hamper people’s civil and Constitutional rights just because they have private property rights. One right, in other words, does not trump all–or any single–other rights.
Therefore, it is perfectly logical to state that if a store cannot refuse to serve a gay or a person of a particular race or religion because this refusal violates their Constitutional rights, then a store owner cannot act to prevent a patron from observing their Second Amendment rights, either.
But, some may still be stuck on the whole idea that a private business has certain rights to say what they want allowed on their own premises. Here a quote from Thomas Jefferson reveals why a business has no right to summarily remove a patron’s Second Amendment rights.
In his Report on Navigation of the Mississippi, 1792, Thomas Jefferson wrote the following: “It is a principle that the right to a thing gives a right to the means without which it could not be used, that is to say, that the means follow their end.”
In other words, if a shop owner says he isn’t curtailing your Second Amendment rights by just keeping you from carrying in his shop, he is not correct. For telling someone they cannot have the tools (the gun, in this case) to observe their right then they are essentially barred from having those rights. This, incidentally, is a good argument against ammunition restrictions, too.
There is also a safety issue to consider. The whole reason that every state in the union has enacted concealed carry laws was to give citizens the means to prevent crime. A cc holder carrying his gun is just as much for the safety of those around him as it is for himself. If a store, then, is telling patrons not to carry their firearms, that store is inviting criminals to prey upon their patrons.
Here it is apropos to note that a restaurant in Durham, North Carolina was recently robbed at gunpoint even though it had its little “no guns” signs on its front door. Note that the sign only prevented legal, law-abiding citizens the right to protect themselves. It didn’t stop any crime–in fact it may have invited it.
Then there is the whole point of a concealed carry license holder carrying a concealed weapon. A concealed weapon is not visible to those around the carrier. Therefore, if no one else even knows you are carrying, this cannot possibly hurt the store. This means a shop owner’s whining about your gun is nothing else but a political act and his political ideology does not trump your legal right to carry.
Speaking of legality, if the state says you are legally allowed to carry your firearm, how is it that a shop owner imagines he has the right to trump even state law?
Many store owners, though, are telling gun owners that this is no big deal. An easy solution, they say, is that gun owners should just leave their guns in their cars. This is an entirely dangerous thing to do. Leaving a gun unattended in a car invites break ins and theft. If my car gets broken into and my gun stolen while I am in Starbucks shouldn’t the coffee shop be held liable? After all, they insisted I leave my gun in may car before I went in for some coffee, didn’t they?
In the end, gun owners who are legally carrying their firearms should feel free to ignore these little no gun signs. These signs do not hold any legal restrictions over your right to carry. Certainly as a gun owner you may realize that these businesses are telling you that they do not want your business and you may just refuse to spend your money with them. But if you don’t care what these shop owners think and you like their wares, then feel free to ignore their powerless little signs and patronize them with your gun.
So, yes, dear store owner. Your little sign means nothing to me. It has no force of law and your little sign cannot trump my Constitutional rights. I will ignore your sign and carry my gun into your establishment whether you like it or not.