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Reader PB sent the above photo of a gun free zone designation he found at the NTEC Center in Frisco, Texas. If you know anything about The Lone Star State’s gun laws, you know that NTEC’s attempt to exclude firearms from their premises fails to comply with the state’s 30.06 signage law. Which means the sign above means precisely diddly squat, legally speaking. Those of us who live in states where ‘no guns allowed’ signs don’t carry the force of law are used to strolling past the Berettas with the slashes through them anyway. Concealed is concealed. But if you live in a place where a properly marked location makes carrying there a felony, do you go in when they get the sign wrong, stow your heater in the car or bypass it altogether?

111 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Carry There Anyway?

  1. I don’t carry on Federal Property because after 8 years in the Corps I have a healthy respect for the impersonal, dick- stomping machine that the government can be. Every place else I’ll carry in.

  2. Fortunately, I don’t live in a state where a business can bring the force of law to bear for mere policy violations. I don’t think ANY state should do this, as it is an inappropriate use of public dollars… What’s next, no red shirts or blue pants? Call the cops, toss them in jail!

    However, it is a well-known fact that concealed permit holders are among the most law-abiding segment of society, even greater than Law Enforcement Officers as a whole, so it would be my suspicion that most permit holder do in fact obey the law.

    I’m sure many will weigh in here on both sides of the issue, but the stats tell a tale.

      • No, the worst thing, depending on your state law, is you go to jail. Here in my state you can loose your carry license for up to if not greater than one year. And, furthermore, you could still be denied it when you re-apply. So follow the law, only carry where you can legally carry.

  3. Since it’s a documented fact that criminals will not enter a building with a sign stating “NO HANDGUNS ALLOWED”… Sheesh(tm).

  4. I generally try to avoid those places, but if I have to go in for whatever reason, I am usually carrying.

  5. If I really need what they offer and cannot find it elsewhere I carry. If I can find an alternative source for the product, even at a higher price, that’s where I buy. I do not do business with anyone tyrannical enough to illegal deny me my rights.

    • That is me, too, with the addition that if they have a metal detector and an armed guard, I won’t go in even if I need to. Duh. But I do NOT stow my gun in the car. If for some reason I really need to go into that particular store, I don’t care if the sign is correct or not, concealed is concealed, if there is no metal detector I will go in, get my business done, and leave. But in 15 years, that has happened about 2-3 times. I’d rather go elsewhere.

  6. Unless I have no other choice, I spend my time any money elsewhere. This is the best opportunity to make an impact. I also leave no gun = no money cards. I am sure there are SA’s that would love to prosecute a gun owner in my state (IL). I leave mine in the car.

      • Yeah, I was gonna say, this is about the same as asking people if they carry without a permit. I doubt anyone cagey enough to do that would talk about it on the net.

        • Unless we live in AZ. 🙂

          The force of law on signs here is pretty much the one unfortunate aspect of gun law living here. Because everything else is so favorable I don’t mind respecting our one dumb law and avoiding places with the signs. But I’d like to see the insta-criminal policy revoked.

        • @sagebrushracer: I’ve carried concealed in Ohio all of my adult life and Ohio didn’t get concealed carry licensing law until 2005. I’ve told that in presentations before groups in person. Some have been politicians and law enforcement/prosecutors. But yeah… I think most would be reluctant to admit something that might be a felony and their silence is likely prudent unless they are completely anonymous.

    • Chris says: “If it’s not a properly posted 30.06 I carry.”
      If it’s not an otherwise prohibited area, so do I.

    • The real question is whether you carry your 30-06, or just a puny 9/.40/.45/.357. Garands and deer rifles are tough to conceal.

  7. I don’t spend my money where I’m not wanted. So no, I wouldn’t enter any such establishment, carrying or not.

    OTOH, I’ve never seen a “no guns” sign in MA.

    • Bass Pro in Foxborough has a “Check all guns” sign as soon as you walk in. The Bass Pro/Cabelas in Colorado and Nebraska has the same sign, but underneath there is another one that says legal concealed carry is ok.
      When I asked the guy at the door in Foxborough why they don’t have a similar sign he replied “Well, this is Massachusetts”

      • I’ve been to that Foxboro Bass Pro dozens of times and never seen that sign. I’ll look for it more closely next time. And FYI, “check your guns” is not the same as “no guns allowed.”

        • I saw a sign once that said “Check your gun” so, to be on the safe side, I checked just to be sure, and my gun was there, still in it’s holster. Check complete!

        • Agreed. Cabela’s has the same sign; I asked the woman behind the counter about it and she said I didn’t need to check my CCW if I wasn’t going to unholster it. And for all the complaints about MA gun laws there is a bright spot…”no guns allowed” signs have no force of law on private property. If you’re truly concealed, walk right in and don’t worry about it.

      • The sign at the Cabelas in Colorado for the firearms check is for people bringing in firearms for repair, trade or sales.

        • That is why it’s there at Bass Pro as well, but the sign says check ALL guns. Didn’t stop me from carrying (concealed is concealed) but it did stop me from spending any money there.

      • Sportsmens Warehouse in Albuquerque has the same sign. I just figure they are talking about guns being brought in to sell or trade. So I OC like I normally do. No one has said one thing as I go about my business while carrying my 1911.

        • Cabela’s in Phoenix has a sign asking people to check their firearms. It also says those concealed carrying to just keep them stowed. Actually it says “licensed concealed carriers” may carry, but since AZ is a constitutional carry state, everyone who is an AZ resident is permitted to carry. So I just walk on in, unless I have a firearm to trade.

      • That sign is for bows and guns necessary for transacting business in the store. The gun in your holster on your hip is not included in that.

  8. Sounds like a police sting operation trying to illicit easy confessions from dumb crooks…

  9. I was just at city hall in my southern cook,co,Illinois town. Yeah they have a “no beretta(or Taurus) sign on the door. No gun but a knife & a pepper blaster on me. However my town is possibly the best of a sorry lot around here…Yes I would deep conceal if I wanted to.

  10. I don’t carry at the post office or courthouse, but everywhere else I do, regardless of any sign I might happen to walk by without seeing.

  11. Id say I carry 99% of the time regardless of the signage.
    If I have a choice between store A with a sign vs store B with no sign. I go to store B everytime.
    Since here in Florida those signs carry basically no weight in other places I tend to ignore them.
    Federal places if they have a check-in. I check my gun(s). The Post Office is a tossup. Depends on my business there at the time. Most times I walk in armed.

    • “The Post Office is a tossup.”

      Well, i think that sign is for the stressed-out postal employees who might ‘go postal’…

      🙂

  12. Sometimes I figure that they aren’t that serious unless they have metal detectors. Hypothetically, anyways.

  13. A certain burger joint here in Phoenix’s sign is a line through a Desert Eagle. I don’t CC a Deagle so I guess I’m fine.

    • Yeah, appears to be popular in Phoenix. A certain chain of pizza joints owned by a ‘Papa’ seems to have a no deagle policy too. It’s quite literally posted at shoe level. Thus when my three year old (who notices and points out every sign in existence) asked about this one, I explained, “It mean no compenesated desert eagle .50 caliber pistols are allowed inside” and proceeded to do my business within.

      True story 🙂

    • I think the same way about the signs with the circle and slash over the Beretta’s 92’s. So I guess as long as you don’t carry a Beretta 92, you’re good to to go. At least, that’s one defense you might use in court.

  14. I will neither confirm nor deny whether people carry concealed handguns into locations with signs prohibiting the carry of revolvers or Beretta handguns.

  15. In Illinois, if a business posts properly posts no-carry properly and you do it it anyway, it’s only a Class B misdemeanor…6 months time or less, $1500 fine or less, and you don’t lose your license or rights (the first time).
    Carry away! Better to risk a slap on the wrist than something much worse. Plus like we always say, concealed means concealed. I like to sit at a booth with my back against a bench and facing the door(s), it makes it that much easier.

  16. I just went into an improperly marked McD’s this morning. I promised my girls hot cakes and daddy wasn’t going to let an uptight and ill informed franchise owner stop me from doing that. I was surprised McD’s had a sign at all, usually the big nationals don’t post. I have noticed improper signage along with properly marked in an inconspicuous location, that chapped the back side.

  17. I generally respect the wishes of the property owner, the only exception being when I get my mail. Rural post office box that is staffed a couple hours a day around noon, I go after work where it’s usually empty.

  18. I don’t carry but I do try to avoid them.

    The only ones I really can’t avoid are work, and the local hospitals all of them.

    I also won’t carry at the post office or federal buildings where it’s banned. I don’t want jail time and I figure I’m a lot more likely to get busted than shot

  19. One of my jobs is as a medical courier and I often schlep very expensive drugs and significant quantities of narcotics. If the only penalty for discovery is possibly being asked to leave, I take that risk. I have never had a delivery to a really prohibited place yet and doubt that I will. Happily and surprisingly many of the clinics and hospitals I go to seem to have been getting rid of their no guns signs (or at least putting them where I don’t see them.)

  20. Such a sign, carrying the weight of law or not, identifies the establishment as an enemy of human rights. I don’t give such degenerates my money, nor grace them with my presence.

    In circumstances where I might be forced into such a place, yes, I carry anyway, but I make sure not to spend any money there, if at all possible.

    I do not give comfort and aid to the enemy if I can in any way avoid doing so.

    • Do you feel the same about establishments that post a “No shirt, no shoes, no service” sign? What about a restaurant that bans breastfeeding, whether by sign or instruction? What about a fine dining restaurant which expels a patron for supposedly obnoxious (and noxious) flatulence?

      Human functions and rights all, so where to draw the line, or why draw a line at all?

      • The no shirt-no shoes sign is a sanitation issue, so I would honor that at a place that sells food, grocery or restaurant. The other two, like an improper 30.06, I’d ignore the sign but minimize my spend. Proper 30.06, I’d honor, only to avoid a potential hassle, but again try to minimize any potential spend.

      • But a “no concealed carry” sign isn’t like a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” sign. It’s more like a “no polka dotted underwear allowed” sign. As long as I’m not pulling down my pants to show it off, it affects nobody but me. That shouldn’t be a Class A Misdemeanor

  21. Short answer yes with a but, no with an if.

    Since I live in essentially something resembling at times the third world, the whole town is a ‘gun free zone’

    I have as much respect for the law in California as the law has for me.

  22. Clinic up here in northwest WA has a FN Five-Seven with a line through it. I have the LCP when on the job so… ignored!

  23. I live in a very anti gun locale, no doubt, compliant or not, your ass is going in cuffs if you violate a no carry zone and get caught. That said given Illinois laws it is impossible to go a week of carrying every day and going anywhere without at least delving into a “questionable’ area of the law that has yet to be settled.

  24. It’s funny, the same POTG who shout that a stupid sign will not prevent a killer from strolling in and opening fire, also feel emboldened to carry right past an illegal sign, confident that no legal consequences will befall them.

    For starters, in Texas anyway, to my knowledge, there’s never been a test case over 30.06 signage specifications. So you don’t really know what would happen in court.

    Second, ignorant, indifferent, and/or malicious cops break the law every day. The expression “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride” exists for a reason. A sign’s questionable legality may mean nothing on the scene.

    Third, these signs are intended to provide effective notification, that is, to provide a means of establishing a presumption that you’ve been notified. Even with an invalid or nonexistent sign, you could otherwise have been provided actual notification ny other means, as via an employee handbook or other agreement they can prove.

    Make your own decisions, but make sure you have the facts to make an informed decision.

  25. I personally like the places that place their anti-gun sign on one entrance, but not on the others. Like malls with pass-through stores into the main mall environment. It’s their fault for not conspicuously placing it at every entry point, not mine 🙂

    • +1 I took the family to see the avengers today and the theater had on non legal sign near the ticket booth and none anywhere else…so Gaston had an enjoyable afternoon at the movies.

  26. Here in SC we have very specific sign requirements. If it doesn’t meet those (and it’s easy to tell) then I’m packing.

  27. In my state the signs don’t carry force of law. The property owners or management can ask you to leave and file a trespass complaint if you don’t comply. So I generally ignore them as I don’t go there much anyway. If it’s federal property where it’s prohibited or local facilities with metal detectors, I won’t risk it.

    • Don’t fret. If your rights ever get loose, there is an adjustment nut under there. Simply use the correct sized wrench and tighten it back up. Maybe use a little Loc-tite to prevent rights loosening in the future.

      • Yeah, that’s important to take care of immediately. Rights, sufficiently loosened, could fall off and be left behind.

  28. Federal buildings? No chance. Everywhere else? It’s not called concealed carry for nothing.

  29. No hard fast rule for me. Jury doody last month, plenty of armed guards. Hopefully one can shoot something other than dogs. Pretty much everywhere else I don’t count on help from others. Translated, I be packing.

  30. Signs have force of law in Illinois, but it has to be a proper sign; 4″x6″, state police approved sign. Fortunately in southern Illinois, there aren’t a lot of places posted. I won’t carry on federal property or where Illinois statute prohibits it. Otherwise, concealed is concealed.

  31. I follow the law. I carry everywhere that I’m not prohibited *by law* to do so. Where I am prohibited *by law*, I do not carry.

    I ignore signs that do not carry the weight of law, or that do not meet statutory requirements.

  32. Depends on my mood. Generally I support property rights and don’t feel like I should play lawyer over the arcane rules about signs. If they don’t want guns, I take them at their word regardless of whether the sign is right. If I don’t recognize their incorrect sign then I would use that fact as a defense if prosecuted.

    But otherwise I would just a kid the place if possible.

      • (Stupid iphone. Last line was supposed to be “avoid the place.”)

        If I am in my home and I ask someone coming into my home to not wear shoes, I fully expect them to take their shoes off. If the owner of a place tells me guns are not welcome, then I don’t bring a gun to his place. I probably wouldn’t come to the place, though.

        But sometimes I have no choice. If the place is a post office, I have to be disarmed and I still have to go there no matter what. Why should I grant a fellow citizen less respect than the government requires? It’s his property and that’s a big thing in my book.

        • @Skyler: But, shoes might damage the flooring or soil it. A better analog would be a prohibition on wearing clothes (except for shoes if you wish). The clothes don’t usually harm anything during a normal visit but one also usually feels vulnerable when naked in a strange place. What is the property owner up to? Does the owner have nefarious reasons for you to be naked? Will you get cold? The same or similar questions could be asked when a property owner wants you disarmed. Does the owner have nefarious reasons for you to be disarmed? Will you face imminent serious bodily harm or death?The typically wearing of clothes makes no difference on the property or owner during your visit to the property. Likewise, the typical carrying of a firearm makes no difference on the property or owner during your visit to the property. However, wearing no clothes might affect you greatly and likewise with being disarmed.

          There might be analogs in the reverse direction. Being naked on a property when the owner wants everyone clothed could be like open carrying since it might offend the owner or the owner might be uncomfortable. However, wearing or not wearing underwear would be like carrying concealed since if one does or does not has no effect on the owner or the property.

          @Elrood IX: My first thought was the same as yours and then I decided to expand it to naked with shoes because some like to go commando.

      • Property rights have nothing to do with, and are not in any way violated by, a hand-held tool carried on your person.

        No, but if “your person” is on their property when they, for whatever reason, don’t want you on their property, THAT is a violation. Doesn’t matter if they don’t want you on because you are carrying a gun, or because they don’t like the cut of your jib.

        You have a right to be armed, but you don’t have a right to be on their property.

        • I agree completely. A private property owner has the right to disallow the presence of my person, but does *not* have the right to disarm me.

  33. Most places I see “no weapons” signs and just laugh. I carry a knife at least you know unless I have to go into the city/state buildings with detectors. I don’t even look for those silly signs so if I happen to violate one the oh well I believe it’s considered trespassing in my state. I can’t read everything on the outside of a building before entering. Seriously I would love to see that study because I’m sure it would consume at least hours of a persons month or maybe even week.

  34. If I *have* to go in there for some reason, yes, I”d carry. As we all know, the sign isn’t legal and they’re counting on the newbies to be too afraid to try and cross the “line”.

  35. Luckily in Kentucky signs do not hold the weight of law so I pretty much carry everywhere that isn’t felonious.

  36. only carry if no force of law and wouldnt put me in an awkward situation with an owner with whom i am acquainted

  37. Interesting question. In KY the signs don’t have force of law so I’m just facing trespassing, so I generally ignore them.

    However I know that the Post Office would be a felony, so I’ve never carried in there. I don’t really want to play around with felonies, you know?

  38. I’m mainly commenting because I want to be the millionth… but ya I follow these rules. Sadly. I’m a college student too, and this is the main place that I want to just say to hell with the law, my rights and safety are more important, but as another comment said it, as a citizen ccw carrier, it’s in my nature to abide.

  39. Signs carry no weight in my State. If there are no metal detectors or body searches, I carry. BTW. that appears to be a Browning Hi Power on the door.

  40. Once when I was a new CCW permit holder I checked my concealed 1911 at the customer service desk at Bass Pro. The Lady just asked if I had a permit, and when I said yes she handed me my gun back and said “nice gun … have a great day!” Now I just walk by those signs. In my state there are no criminal charges for ignoring the signs. If there were, I would do like others have posted and avoid that business if at all possible.

  41. I doubt [for obvious reasons] that there are any statistics about this, but I’ve heard anecdotally for years that there are business who intentionally post signs that don’t meet the statutory requirements [or in states where no signs are valid regardless of what they look like]. The intention is to let those who favor civilian disarmament to enjoy their false sense of security while beefing up /actual/ security by basically letting armed citizens carry within the store with a wink and a nod.

    Anyone else hear stories about this happening? With the state of things today, I think the likelihood of such a thing happening depends on your state’s gun climate. I’ve never gone up and asked a store owner from a store with improper signage [why let them know it’s wrong and risk them fixing it?], so the only source I have is stories from family members who have been armed for much longer than I.

    • I’ve heard similar stories. Usually it’s managers posting in impossible to see places and dragging their heels as long as they can about posting signs that the higher-ups want in place. When an owner does things like intentional improper posts it is akin to someone wearing the Clan robe and hood but claiming not to be a racist. IMHO, an owner ought to be forthright with the patrons and either post or not. This in between nonsense is just trying to play both sides.

  42. I think many out there posting a non-compliant sign is just trying to avoid the anti-gun maffia… They can have their cake and eat it too… They appear to be anti gun and avoid any backlash from the AG crowd while allowing people who actually know the law to CC no problem.

    I find this cowardly and do not respect their lame attempts to impose on my rights. As a result, I try to look for another business to spend my money at. If push comes to shove and there are no options, unless it is a 30.06 sign or a 51% sign I ignore it.

    Besides, if the business was serious about stopping law abiding citizens from coming onto their property, the business owner would follow the law themselves.

  43. The Texas thing makes it easy for me. There is a specific way those signs have to look. If the property follows the law…so do I. If they don’t follow the law then I will notice their “suggestion” and ignore it completely. It is nothing but a business attempting to have it both ways or too lazy/stupid to know the law. Either way…not my problem.

  44. So I’m guessing that the sign is missing a couple of requirements… but it is still posted. I don’t live in Texas so I would never purport to be familiar with their laws. Here in PA if I don’t see a sign, it’s fine. If there is one then I know that they don’t want my business.

  45. If they comply with the law, I’ll comply with the law. So if they can take the time to make a legal sign, I’ll take the time to not give them my business anymore. If they can’t be bothered to get proper signage, I can’t be bothered to go back to my car and stow the gun. As far as I’m aware, I’ve not been made when carrying. Most people aren’t looking for it. Whether they have incorrect signage or no signage at all, if they spot that I’m carrying and ask me to leave, I’ll leave.

  46. I’m not sure if the signs have the force of law in Louisiana (anyone know?), but I try to avoid businesses that display this kind of attitude towards my 2A right
    I’m at a hospital now with my wife (don’t ask me if there is signage)
    I will NOT give up my right to protect her in the parking lot, when we leave
    GOD bless America

  47. Here in WA, private property signs have no legal bearing, and I don’t even notice them unless someone else pointed them out to me. If the property owner notices I’m carrying and objects, I’ll leave to avoid trespass but that’s really unlikely since I’ve been CCW’ing for a while and know how to conceal a firearm. My anti-gun sister-in-law didn’t believe that I was carrying at home a few months back. I drew it and she jumped a foot saying, “Where the f*** did that come from?”

    WA law does say that you can’t carry into the no-under-21 area of an establishment that serves alcohol, but this almost never has any effect on me since I don’t drink and don’t go to bars. I don’t carry in federally controlled areas (passport office was the last one I needed to go into) and I’m careful to follow the rules around schools (I have school-age kids, so this is the most frequent annoyance of being a legal CCW holder). Federal felonies don’t sound like my kind of fun.

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