Vote With Your Wallet. No, Really.

No Guns No MoneyLots of people talk about supporting gun rights, but what do you really do on a daily basis to support gun rights.  Whether online, at the shooting range, in gun stores or elsewhere, we hear people complaining about things like “gun free zones,” businesses who disallow concealed carry, businesses who support anti-Second Amendment causes, etc.  But how many of those people back up those words with action?

Several years ago Starbucks was thrown into the spotlight of firearms carry policy.  While not exactly a champion of Second Amendment rights, Starbucks described themselves as “carry neutral” and refused to be drawn into a political debate on gun control – rather, they deferred to local, state and federal law. (UPDATE:  This policy has been reversed by CEO Howard Schultz in September 2013)  If concealed or open carry is legally allowed in that area, patrons were welcome to do so.

Somehow, allowing customers to abide by existing laws outraged the always-logical gun control fanatics and warmed the hearts of gun rights proponents.  However, inflation and current coffee prices aside, the saying goes “that and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee.”  Despite the chatter that the situation sparked and goodwill among some in the firearms community, how many people stopped visiting other shops in favor of Starbucks?

Likewise, how many people simply grumble under their breath and grin and bear it when they see “No Concealed Weapons” signs on a business (even if it is legal to carry there) versus shopping elsewhere?  How many people proclaim Second Amendment support while wearing their Levi’s jeans, eating their Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, sending their Hallmark cards and watching TV provided through the Time Warner cable system (all anti-gun companies, by the way)?  There is no shortage of companies who are ardent supporters of gun control and these companies often make large contributions to anti-gun causes that are subsidized by each and every one of their patrons – that’s you, Mr. Levi’s Wearer.

We have a list of anti-gun companies, organizations, celebrities and other entities listed on the GunLink forums that might be helpful for “voting with your wallet.”  There are also other resources available like the Criminal Protection Zone website, a user-populated database of businesses who do not allow lawful CCW on their premises.  You can use the CPZ database to locate CCW-(un)friendly locations or to list ones that you find.  And, yes… there’s an app for that.  The new Gun Free Zone app, available for iOS and Android, allows users to find businesses who prefer banning legally carried firearms over having paying customers.  Knowing which businesses have no-guns-allowed policies is not just useful for voting with your wallet – it also allows you to make an informed decision about whether you and your family are in a place where you have the ability to protect yourself or if you are just another disarmed victim-in-waiting left to the whims of the next violent criminal who disobeys store policy.

The Insult of “No Guns Allowed”

Jeff Knox, Shotgun News contributor and The Firearms Coalition executive, goes further, saying that such store policies aren’t just inconvenient and obtuse but should be viewed as an outright insult to supporters of the rights protected by the Second Amendment:

When a business posts a “No Guns” policy they are making a political statement whether that is their intent or not.  They are also denigrating and insulting lawful gun owners – particularly those who choose to carry.  A “No Guns” sign serves no useful purpose beyond these insults and political posturing because the only people to whom such signs apply are the most conscientious and responsible gun owners.  Criminals and the irresponsible simply ignore the signs and do exactly what they would have done without the signs, except with perhaps a greater sense of security knowing that conscientious, law-abiding gun owners have disarmed or gone somewhere else.

Gun owners and rights supporters who are not angered and offended by these “We Don’t Want Your Kind” signs posted on businesses they frequent are being as thoughtless and insensitive as the businesses themselves.  These “No Guns” signs should elicit the same reaction from gun owners and our friends that “Whites Only” signs did among blacks and civil rights supporters in the 1960’s.  They are a personal insult and an assault on our liberty and anyone who can’t see that is simply choosing not to.

Make a Difference

But what will it take to get that message across to business owners who have this attitude?  It may seem a bit silly to think that a handful of people not shopping at a business would effect change.  Perhaps that would be the case if it is just a handful of people who stop patronizing a business.  However, if the tens of millions of gun owners and countless others who cherish their rights not only stop patronizing the business but also let the the proprietors know why, a very powerful statement could be made.

Merchant Education CardMost businesses, once they have identified an issue that results in lower revenue, will likely take action to fix that issue.  If they see that having a “No Guns” policy is costing them money, they may think twice about trampling on the rights of potential customers.

Keep in mind that you should not be rude when making your reasons for not visiting their business known.  If you are carrying a firearm and the business does not allow firearms on the premises, a polite phone call, email or social media contact can get your point across.  You can also speak with store management in person to get your point across.

One good way of opening the dialog with the management is with informative cards, such as the  Merchant Education CCW Courtesy Cards produced by The Firearms Coalition.  These cards not only let them know that you will be choosing not to patronize their business and why, but they also point out the fact that, in most circumstances, licensed CCW permit holders would be the only people in the store who have undergone a background check.

If responsible gun owners and rights supporters band together and stand up for their principles, there is real hope for changing this type of attitude and reversing some of this rampant demonization of firearms.  Next time you get the chance to Vote With Your Wallet, do it – and let the business know why they’re losing out on your money.

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