Almost nothing makes me as angry as seeing a business put a sign on their door prohibiting licensed defensive firearms on their property. However, let me be clear, I think that any business should have the right to prohibit whatever they choose. It's just that they are telling me, very clearly, that they don't trust me and don't want my patronage. Most of the time, these folks are using their business to express their political opinions. Well, fine, I will express my opinion with my billfold by refusing to share what's in it with this establishment.
I suspect that we lawful gun carriers are not being as vocal in this regard as we should be. We should take the time, in a polite way, to let them know why they are losing our business. Local gun clubs can let businesses know that a whole group of their potential customers are boycotting them because of their position on lawful carry. In my own little community, I have actually seen this work and some signs have come down.
However, suppose that you are out with a group of friends, or business associates, and you discover that the chosen restaurant has a “No Guns” sign on their door. Certainly, if your group is like-minded, you can simply agree to go to another restaurant. And then, of course, someone in your group should call the establishment tomorrow and let them know why you canceled your reservation.
But what do you do if there are people in your group that you don't want to know that you are armed? You may not know them well enough to share this information with them. Or their views may be such that you simply don't want the hassle and argument that you know would be coming if they knew that you were carrying.
Of course, the best path of action is to call ahead, anonymously if necessary, and ask about the firearms policy. This gives you time to establish a new plan or to just come up with an excuse as to why you can't join the group this evening. This sort of dilemma is also one of the reasons that I try to take my own vehicle with me whenever possible. This way, I can always make some excuse, go back to the car, and discreetly stash my gun. If you run out of ideas for good excuses to avoid entering the business, you might just have to cowboy up and tell your associates why you are not going in with them.
There are some who will tell you that, if you are following the first rule of concealed carry – that is that the gun is actually and properly concealed – you should just go on into the business because no one will be the wiser. I am absolutely opposed to this approach and think it could be one of the biggest mistakes that you have ever made. Let me tell you why.
Standing out there on the sidewalk, staring at that stupid sign, you are still an honest citizen who has no real apology to make to anyone. Once you walk through that door, you are a criminal. But the judge who hears your case is not going to take your opinion on that business’ decision into consideration, nor is he or she likely to allow that opinion into testimony. You can certainly expect the same attitude from the officer who puts the handcuffs on you.
Being an adult is about abiding by laws that we don't personally agree with. We don't put ourselves in the best light and we don't put our fellow NRA members in the best light by flagrantly violating the law. Your choice between a jail cell and an argument with friends or co-workers should be an easy one to make.
When we put on a defensive handgun we are obligated to act in a lawful, adult manner. And that, my friends, is something that we should never forget.