How to get the signs to come down at "no guns" businesses

By Jim Irvine

I needed to buy a new car. I knew what I wanted; it was just a matter of what dealership to buy from. The one most convenient to me was posted "no guns." So I had planned to buy elsewhere and send them one of our "No Guns = No Money" cards. But I decided it would be much better if I could just talk them into un-posting their business.

I have talked many businesses into removing the "no guns" signs. It's generally easy. I ask for the owner or manager and politely ask them why they posted. Sometimes I ask what effect the signs will have on criminals, on law enforcement, or on other customers.

I don't "tell" them to remove their signs. I ask them questions to get them to think about the effect of posting the signs. No one wants a shootout in their store. No one wants their employees endangered. No one wants to be targeted by a criminal. No one wants to turn away customers.

Sometimes I refer them to our Education Guide lesson, entitled "What business owners need to know about CCW".

Often the problem is a simple misunderstanding. Business owners are required to post a slew of signs. Laws change and the simple solution for the small business owner is to buy signs from a company that supplies "all required signs." When a shipment comes in, the signs go up. Once they understand that there is not a law requiring them to post "no guns" signs, they remove it. Business owners want to attract customers, not send them away.

No matter what the decision, I am always friendly. Even if the sign does not come down immediately, it generally does after they have had a week to think about it. Polite and friendly with a dose of logic will generally carry the day.

Yes, on occasion you find someone who is hostile to any discussion of guns. They are so rabidly anti-gun or hoplophobic that they are afraid to talk about guns. I don't waste my time with them. I simply take my business elsewhere.

Before visiting my dealership, I decided to call and ask for the manager. He was not aware of the offending signs. We chatted for a bit and I came to understand that he was a veteran and quite comfortable with self-defense. He vowed to go remove all the "no guns" signs.

A few days later I gave the outside of the building a good inspection. All those ugly signs had been removed. I introduced myself to the owner and I bought a new van. Any business owner likes customers spending lots of money. Being able to tie that emotion to an action that benefits gun owners is a perfect situation.

I got a great deal on my new vehicle, but more importantly we have another business that is friendly to our cause. I encourage everyone to talk to businesses that are posted. If each of us helps one store understand the issue, we could see thousands more signs come down. And that would make shopping more enjoyable and safer for all of us.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association chairman.

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