The Truth about Concealed Carry and Business
by Chad D. Baus
After failing to scare business lobbyists into the fight in 2003, and after loosing in the legislative arena just weeks ago, gun ban lobbyists are now hoping to convince business owners to discriminate against employees and customers who choose to obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL) for self-protection, as witnessed in the Jan. 26 letter to Crain's Cleveland Business magazine from "Million" Mom March president Lori O'Neill.
O'Neill states that with passage of HB12, "Ohio employers have an additional burden to deal with" - "armed employees and customers entering their work zones." But as families of victims of two recent Ohio public shootings at Case Western Reserve University and Watkins Motor Lines trucking company are painfully aware, there is no new burden at issue. With or without this law, there will always be instances of persons bringing firearms into public places. Sadly, in our state's past, the persons who did so nearly always meant to do others harm, and cared nothing for signs, company policies, or legal prohibitions.
While it is true that www.OhioCCW.org will list the names of businesses that ban guns, this does not represent a "threatening or noisy" boycott, as O'Neill suggests. The purpose of the list to inform CHL-holders about which businesses to stay away from when armed. We certainly don’t want people to unknowingly violate the law.
Click on the "Read More..." link below.
Still, businesses concerned about repercussions from posting discriminatory signs should keep this in mind: Zogby International has just released a survey, in which they polled voters nationwide on issues that included concealed carry laws. According to the results, voters "overwhelming favor these self-protection laws by a margin of 79% to 18%. Right-to-Carry drew better than 70% support in every demographic group, with even non-gun owners indicating their backing by 73% to 23%." Rather than risking repercussions from CHL-holders alone, business owners should realize that in posting a discriminatory prohibition, they will only be serving a small, vocal minority.
O'Neill is known for claiming that there is no evidence that concealed carry laws reduce crime. Business owners who want the truth should call their counterparts in Michigan. According to the FBI, crime there has dropped 10.5% in the two years since passage of concealed carry (Ohio's rate went up 5% in the same period), and Michigan's per capita crime rate has dropped below Ohio's for the first time in 40 years.
Business owners who have questions about liability issues should call the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Jeff Alan, Director of Legislative Education in the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, told OFCC last year that in the 7 years since the law was passed in that state, the Chamber hasn't had a single report of a business having troubles for allowing employees and customers to leave firearms in their personal vehicles on company property. What's more, he said, there is no history of any litigation on the issue. These facts are even more striking when we observe that Kentucky's law does not give KY businesses the blanket immunity that Ohio's law now does.
If, despite all these facts, business owners still feel threatened by warnings that HB12 does not offer enough immunity from liability, should they allow firearms on their property, they must also realize that this same immunity clause recognizes the potential for liability if they prevent a law-abiding citizen the right to self-defense while traveling to and from, or while inside, their place of business. Consider this: Upon passage of Tennessee's concealed carry law in 1995, the Captain D's restaurant chain made a decision to ban CHL-holders from their restaurants. Rather than posting discriminatory signs, which they feared would drive away business, the chain obtained a liquor-by-the-drink permit, and placed beer buckets in their front windows. They did NOT place their new product on the menu! After a series of extremely violent robberies and murders of employees in several fast-food stores (which became known in the media as "the Captain D's murders", the restaurant chain quietly removed their beer buckets.
The record from other states is clear: if Ohio's business leaders will simply ignore these hysterics and let this new law work, madmen will never again enjoy the luxury of walking into workplaces with assurance that their intended victims are defenseless.