Victim zone robberies highlight fallacy of 'no-guns' signs; UDF finally sees the light, but other businesses still posting signs

by Chad D. Baus

Since the day Ohio's concealed carry law was passed in 2004, the battle to educate business owners about the fallacies of posting 'no-guns' signs has waged in earnest.

There have been many victories - some signs were taken down within days or even hours of being posted, after customers had informative conversations with business owners. Other 'no-guns' policies have persisted for years, despite many attempts by their customers to inform them of the truth, or even despite being given proof that criminals don't care about the signs (i.e. armed robberies within their establishments.)

For example, it is the policy of Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank to post signs prohibiting guns in their Ohio branches. Yet we have documented so many armed robberies in Fifth Third branches that one could easily conclude the criminals know exactly where to go to avoid the potential of running into an armed citizen.

Consider the latest example, from a Columbus 10TV article entitled "Gun Fired During 'Bonnie And Clyde' Bank Robbery In Hilliard":

Authorities said a gun was fired Monday morning during a takeover-style bank robbery.

A man and woman held up the Fifth Third Bank, located at 2455 Hilliard Rome Rd., at about 9 a.m., 10TV News reported.

Police said the man fired a shot into the ceiling and then took money out of the teller drawers. The woman took control of employees in offices and made them get on the floor at gunpoint, investigators said.

After putting the money in a tan satchel, the couple left the bank in a gray-colored 4-door Chevrolet with no license plate.

In 2005, Robert Hawk, an FBI spokesman for the Cleveland region, told American Banker Online what gun owners have always known - that the signs make no difference in preventing crime.

"People rob banks primarily for one reason, to get money for drugs or some other addiction," Mr. Hawk said. "They couldn't care less whether or not there was a sign on the door."

That message, and a lot of customer feedback, has finally soaked in to another long-time victim-zone: Ohio-based United Dairy Farmers (UDF) convenience stores.

Sean Maloney, a concealed carry instructor and supporter of Buckeye Firearms Association who is also an NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator (EVC) for Ohio's 8th congressional district, contacted us recently about his successful efforts to get the UDF signs down. Maloney had been working on this with UDF executives for more than a year, and even taught a concealed carry class to members of UDF's upper management so that they could make a determination related to the 'no-guns' signs posted in the UDF chain.

On June 17, Maloney informed our Chairman, Jim Irvine, that "UDF contacted me and informed me that all of the no concealed carry signs will be coming down," Maloney said. "The UDF management that I have been working on this with, went from owning no guns, to each owning multiple guns."

Unfortunately, other businesses are posting signs for the very first time - some because of ignorance about a new state law which will allow CHL-holders to carry in establishments that serve alcohol, and others because they are still receiving 'no-guns' signs in packets of materials from an out-of-state compliance company that leads them to believe the signs were required.

Just as some banks seem oblivious to the fact that criminals don't care about signs, some bar owners seem equally obtuse when it comes to a new law regarding law-abiding CHL-holders carrying in places that serve alcohol, despite proof that the current state ban on all guns in bars is violated daily. For example, from an article entitled "CPD Still Looking For Suspects In Armed Bar Robbery":

Two armed unknown suspects walk into a North Side bar and fire off a round and rob the place and a customer, police say.

Columbus police say that two masked males entered the Oakland Park Bar and Grill 1427 Oakland Park at about 10:52 p.m. July 6, fired a round and then ordered all the people onto the floor.

The two unknown suspects then took the cash register and a customer's purse.

Police are looking for two black males around 5 feet 7 inches tall. They have thin builds.

Officers are also looking for two black females who entered the bar seconds before the incident happened and then left before police arrived.

Just as the FBI spokesperson has noted, these criminals couldn't have cared less about the bar's 'no-guns' signs, and in fact some criminals may choose bars as targets because they know the patrons are defenseless.

Other businesses are being tricked into posting a 'no-guns' sign by out-of-state compliance sign vendors. This has been a known problem since 2005, when it was learned that several workplace/ labor law compliance sign vendors were attempting to profit from fraudulently misleading business-owners in Ohio into believing there is a legal requirement to post 'no-guns' signs.

BFA has recently learned that the practice continues to this day. A business owner in the 740 area code contacted us after receiving had it come in his compliance packet from a vendor by the name of Personnel Concepts. The business owner didn't want the sign to be posted and didn't like being duped into posting it. He has followed up with several of the executives at the Illinois-based Personnel Concepts, but after initial indication that the company might remove the signs from the packets, the business owner has since been given an unequivocable 'no' - the 'no-guns' signs will continue to be sent to unsuspecting Ohio businesses.

And the fight to inform the owners of these victim zones them will go on...

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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