This Is Why Businesses Insist On Gun-Free Zones

gun-free zonesIn the wake of the recent theater shooting here in Lafayette, the usual gun fanatics have come out of the woodwork to claim the shooter chose the Grand 16 because it is part of a number of “gun-free zones.” Gov. Bobby Jindal, ever the opportunist, quickly came out and said that now was not the time to talk about gun laws, before announcing his opposition to “gun-free zones” one week later on CNN.

Like the gun fanatics he panders to, Bobby Jindal argues that the Second Amendment is possibly more important than private property rights, and that more guns in a dark and crowded theater is somehow a good idea.

Republican presidential hopeful Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.) said that people should be allowed to carry guns wherever they are, including movie theaters, one week after a gunman killed two people in a theater in his home state.

“I’m a big believer that where you are legally allowed to be, you should be able to have your Second Amendment rights as well,” he said Wednesday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“There are private property rights issues, I understand that. Somebody has a right to say what they want to do with their private property, but I think the fewer restrictions on law abiding citizens, the better for them and the better for our country.” (Source)

There has been a push over the last couple of years since the Sandy Hook school massacre and the rise of Open Carry Texas to allow guns in more and more places, with gun activists making it a point to openly carry firearms in places like Starbucks or Chipotle. As a result, many businesses have had to declare their properties to be “gun-free zones” in order to stop their stores from becoming gun nut rally spots. Corporations like Target have been dragged into the open carry gun debate, and they’re not too happy about it. Gun activists have also been successful in changing laws in a number of states, allowing for fewer restrictions on who is qualified to carry a gun, and where they can take that weapon.

While gun activists argue that “gun-free zones” are an invitation to criminals and that more guns in more places in the hands of more people is the answer, businesses don’t see it that way.

“It’s hard to imagine that the general counsel or anyone connected with managing the affairs of a large organization would accept a risk that could be so readily eliminated by the posting of ‘No Guns’ signs,” says Elliot Fineman, CEO of NGVAC. “Contrary to the gun rights’ characterization of ‘gun-free’ zones as dangerous and attractive to mass shooters, every major U.S. corporation bans guns in their headquarters—and gun violence there is rare to nonexistent.”

Currently five states including Kansas have passed laws that do not require permits and training for carriers and nine more have proposed legislation to do so.

“Given the analysis of the Kansas law, national and regional chains would be well advised to post ‘No Guns’ allowed signs,” said Fineman. (Source)

Businesses do not want weapons openly displayed, nor do they want a firefight breaking out between robbers and armed customers because of the legal implications. If a bystander were to be wounded or killed as a result of someone trying to play the hero over a few hundred dollars of cash in the register which would be written off as an operating loss anyhow, that company could be sued for millions of dollars and potentially have to declare bankruptcy. As someone who has worked in loss prevention, I can tell you that no store wants an individual, especially an untrained one, to turn their business into a shooting gallery which would result in it being shut down for the day or even days.

People who claim that “gun-free zones” are less safe have argued that prohibiting customers from carrying weapons that they could use to defend themselves should an incident occur could open up the business to a lawsuit. However, as far as I have been able to find, nobody has ever successfully litigated that in court. Just as a business has the right to dictate a dress code for employees or customers, they also have the right to tell people not to bring guns on their property.

If you feel that you are unsafe in a place that is a “gun-free zone,” you have the choice not to do business with them and go somewhere that doesn’t mind you toting your weapon around. For these companies, it’s not about ideology, it’s simply about protecting their bottom line.


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