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No trespassing sign (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

There are two schools of thought regarding firearms-oriented warning signs. First, they work. If burglars see a sign like this one, they’ll chose an easier target. Second, they don’t work. A ballistically threatening sign signals a home invader that there are valuable guns on the property. If the bad guys have their eyes on the prize, they’ll either wait until the armed homeowner leaves or . . . they won’t. If they don’t, they’re likely to come in guns-a-blazing. How great is that? Still, this one’s clever, no?

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    • Robert F snapped that pic at Best of the West range. When I first saw that sign, I had a hearty minute long chortle over it.

    • If you can afford it , install visible and non visible cameras with a sign that says , ‘ Chances are , I’m watching you right now ‘ . This works because with todays technology you can watch your house from your office miles away or in my case , 20 minutes away , in a tiny box on the corner of your computer screen . If you can’t afford it maybe you can put up same signage with fake cameras , and if you can’t afford that then you better have a good gun safe after you let the thief know you have an AR in your house .

  1. I’m a fan of a variation…

    “If you are found here tonight, you will be found here in the morning.” With an image of staring down the barrel of a revolver.

    Just leave out the revolver and let them imagine the possibilities.

    Getting beaten to death with a golf club is a lot more brutal than being shot…

    What SD3 said…

    • “If you are found here tonight, you will be found here in the morning.”

      Reminds me of the bar scene in A Bronx Tale. “Now, yous can’t leave.”

  2. What was that advice we got in another post about not making aggressive-type statements in connection with a DGU? Think it might have some application here?

  3. If I had a large amount of property I lived on, (10+ acres fenced) My would read; “NO TRESPASSING, Violators will be shot, survivors will be arrested.” As far as this topic goes, it’s 50/50. More will stay away, however I think those that attack will come in guns a blazing. Just my 2 cents worth.

    • Legally the sign might be an issue. It also might make you a target for people looking to steal guns. I doubt it though. The sign does not really let a burglar know weather you have a 50k gun collection. A single high point that’s always on your body or a cynical sense of humor and no guns but a cool
      As far as making criminals come in guns blazing no way. No criminal that is thinking that rationally would rob a house where they think somebody is armed. The people who generally rob armed victimns do it by accident, they are too high to think or they are badass muthas with balls of steel. The later of which will be sticking up jewelry stores or armored cars, not robbing a home which might have merch that fences for 1000 bucks.

      • I agree; the burglar can’t know whether you have enough arms of a suitable type to make the risk acceptable. Nor does he know how secure your arms might be.

        Perhaps you have just a 12-gage shotgun leaning against the bedstead. How valuable or useful is that to him? He’s looking for handgun(s). Perhaps your bedstead gun is out-and-about on your hip and the rest of your handgun collection is in a safe bolted to the floor. If you are explicitly/implicitly advertising that you have guns then you must have seriously considered the risk that your sign will attract the attention of a gun burglar. Are you really that imprudent as to not secure your guns against such a burglary?

        I would be more concerned about what the prosecutor would try to make of your sign in the even that he tries to make a case against you (in the absence of a Castle-Doctrine law or notwithstanding such a law). The cuter you think your sign is the more chum the prosecutor has to throw into the jury box.

        I have seen commercial premises signs that read something like: “Warning – Secured by Acme Alarm Co. Armed Response”. The overt implication is that the alarm service will dispatch armed guards. May be faster than the cops; or not; or, merely a bluff. The subtle implication is that the homeowner is prepared to respond immediately. I have a hard time imagining how the prosecutor would be able to frame such a text as indicating malicious intentions to kill or injure a trespasser. The homeowner-defendant can simply say that his intention is to forewarn an intruder of his intention to defend hearth-and-home (as upheld by Heller).

        I wonder if the objections expressed against signage emerge from a sense of queasiness about coming out-of-the-closet as both a gun-owner and as someone willing to use violence to defend his home. ‘What will my neighbors think of me? They might not know I have guns – that’s just as well. Or, those that know understand me to use them merely for sport.’

        I get this – in some cases. I read an account of a son who gave his mother a gun to keep in her apartment where the landlord and neighbors were hoplophobes. Why should an elderly widow subject herself to the oppression of a landlord’s eviction notice and neighbors’ gossip. However, most of us ought to consider whether we have the testicular fortitude to man-up to such challenges.

        An NRA sticker on the car; a sign on the house; a T-shirt. These are all things that most of us can do to promote the positive image of civilian arms ownership to the public. It’s really hard to defend the 2A in the public square if most of the 45% of gun-owning householders remain in their closets.

        • If you have the sticker on your car, make sure you drive well and are courteous – to the point of deference. Whenever someone cuts me off, my first thought is always “those are always causing problems!”

          • Yes, absolutely.

            If I put any group’s sticker on my car (seriously considering the Oddfellows” then absolutely I’m subtly associating my appearance and behavior to the members of that group.

            It’s a wise idea to drive safely and courteously and to behave in public in a civil manner. That, for its own sake. Doubly so if I’m bearing the colors of any organization I wish to promote.

            And, it is precisely for this reason that I am concerned with some intemperate rhetoric I find on these pages associating objectionable sentiments to the community of the PotG. I occasionally wonder whether these folks are Anti’s trolling for bad publicity for gun rights; but then I realize that almost all of these comments are sincere.

      • If I were a thief and came up on your porch under pretense to scout you out and saw this sign I would watch you for a week or so to learn yours and other family members routine , if you had one , and simply break in when you aren’t home and steal your AR and what ever other weapon I might find , unless you keep them locked away in a well made gun vault in which case I would pee on your bed and leave with your laptop .

        • Admittedly, your comment is amusing. Nevertheless, it prompts 2’nd and 3’rd order thinking; a habit of analysis that we PotG ought to be good at (while the Progressives don’t understand at all).

          To a great extent we all play a probability game where we do nothing to protect ourselves from very low probability events (hurricanes in Arizona), more to protect ourselves from low probability events (tornados in Oklahoma) and so forth. The majority of the population is getting by just fine without carrying a gun; but, many of us do carry (at least some of the time.)

          OK, we can’t make our homes as secure as Ft. Knox. However, we can take marginal efforts to improve our security marginally. There are devices (e.g., to substantially re-inforce a door-jam. 3M has a product to substantially re-inforce window glass. There are decorative iron bars for windows that appear to be wood framing that divide a window into multiple window-panes. Lights, Video cameras and recorders.

          If-as-and-when each of us raises the “anti” for a burglar to break into our own homes there are 2 long-term effects:
          1. – burglars will give-up on our houses (which they perceive or discover to be up-armored) and target our less-well protected neighbors; and,
          2. – our neighbors will be induced to keep up with the Joneses (i.e., PotG) and up-armor their houses.

          Rince and repeat. As the phenomena operates cyclically – everyone taking another measure or two each year to up-armor – burglars will find it increasingly troublesome to pursue their chosen profession.

          Burglary is probably a sort of “gate-way” crime. A “yoot” does not roll-out-of-bed one morning and decide to become an armed robber or murderer. More likely, his first uncontrollable impulse is to take a car he finds with a key in the ignition on a joy-ride; or, steal some property left unattended. Next escalating step may be burglary, followed by strong-armed robbery, then armed robbery. Ultimately, his inhibitions against rape or homicide drop below the threshold of serving as a restraint.

          As society raises the barriers to crime (removing keys from cars, locking doors, storing stuff in locked buildings or behind fences, improving doors, locks, windows, alarms, etc.) the number of yoots who reach violent crime is apt to be reduced.

          In any case, each of us must ask ourselves how much we are willing to do to protect our stuff. Some of us are so lazy that we will leave our guns on display in open cases and not bother to lock our doors.

    • All of these anecdotes are hillarious. If its a legit DGU, then you wont get prosecuted even if you hang a funny sign……BUT you will be sued. The tricky part is convincing the jury that the joke is funny so you dont have your wages garnished and your house and car repoed.

      • The status of “legit DGU” is decided by the PA, after being influenced by the media and popular opinion in the area. You can rest assured, that those signs may be used to show that you had some premeditation or predisposition to violence if the PA’s office wants to charge you. Lawsuit will be the least of your worries.

        • Well, out here on the sunny oppressive left coast we have pleanty of legit DGU’s and a very rare minority of those get prosecuted…. Usually the ones that get prosecuted are “legit DGU’s” … If you get my meaning…. The “legit” ones (or so their lawers assert) usually involve a police chase, gangbangers, stolen weapons, drugs, etc….. That sucks that you have to worry about that where you live.. Maybe you should move to California where its safe to be a gun owner! 😛

    • I don’t think trespassing on one’s land is justification to kill people. Breaking into one’s home, perhaps, but not wandering onto their property if they own any sizable amount of land, and especially if there are not fences and warning signs are not reasonably impossible to miss or misinterpret. If someone shot me because I accidentally strayed onto their land or because I entered their land to communicate with them or for another legitimate purpose I would consider them murderous. I am not putting up a sign that I am just waiting for people to cross an invisible line so that I can murder them, because I would not do that. Now, if it’s something like a military or prison installation and there are huge fences a trespasser would have to break through and they’re obviously up to no good, that may be different and it may be justified to shoot to stop in that circumstance. But I’ve had people tell me to get off of their land for walking a few yards to the side of a public road in the afternoon, with no sign or fence in sight. I wasn’t even aware I was walking on someone’s property, I was just walking on the grass next to a road. I guess I may have technically been a trespasser, but there was no moral or legal grounds to kill me for it. Where there are no fences, inadvertent and benign trespassing is common.

      • 99.99% of the time I’d agree with you. Yet I’m reminded of a news story from a state over from me where an old land owner with 100+ acres had folks build an off-roader circuit/course on his land, this despite posting everywhere and asking them nicely to leave, they kept on coming back. The cops were I guess treating it as a civil thing, the “organizers” were even selling tickets. In that case if I were on a jury I wouldn’t of had a problem with a few off roaders dropping off from sudden open chest syndrome.

        Now I should add the guy was living with the fear of being sued when one of those folks snapped a neck, plus the general idea of folks just doing as they please on his own property.

        • You might acquit. How do you explain to the old duffer that his particular jury would do so?
          What do you imagine rhetoric such as yours does to the image of the PotG?

          An overwhelming majority of non-gun owners object to the use of lethal force in defense of property (in other words, in cases other than the defense of innocent life or limb). I’m not necessarily convinced of the wisdom of this dividing line; but, the fact is, it exists (from my perception).

          (I wonder, for example, how to deal with the following hypothetical. I recruit a gang of retired professional football players. Dress them in nice suits and ties. Give them a script. They routinely attack armored-car drivers making their rounds. The tell the drivers: ‘We are here to rob you, not to kill or seriously injure you. We will use strong-arm tactics to restrain you and take your money. Having been fully appraised of our intentions to rob you of property without threatening your life-or-limb, you are NOT entitled to respond with lethal force. If you do you will face homicide charges.’ Does society have a satisfactory response to this form of racketeering?)

          Apart from very rare occurrences – and perhaps my hypothetical – does such rhetoric serve our objectives of promoting the use of keeping and bearing arms? Or, does it make our cause appear unsympathetic?

  4. The less people know about my guns, the better. I’ve had friends who’ve had their motorcycles stolen or their doors kicked in the minute they left home. I don’t make myself a target.

  5. Some of these signs are comical, but as always if involved in a DGU the prosecutor will takethings out of context as eevidence against you. A fence, a dog, and an ADT sign do a lot more for deterrence.

    • Add a light tied to a motion sensor installed out of easy reach and you are absolutely golden. Those 4 items will prevent 99.9% of all home break-ins.

    • Depends on if you’re charged with a crime in the first place.
      Best case is to not put yourself in a situation where there may be grey area on you DGU, ala Zimmerman.

      • Zimmerman was in a grey area? Lolwut? I guess it was so grey the cops declined to charge him.

        The media added in a lot of grey that wasn’t there, and got him charged.The grey lasted until the trial began, and then disappeared again.

        • Unwise, but not grey.
          Plus it doesn’t hurt that he’s been the poster-boy for irresponsible gun owner since then.

  6. I used to live in a remote area where my nearest neighbor had a sign along his property line that read “No Trespassing. Violators will be shot on sight”. Not only is such action illegal, but even if you are justified in defending yourself, the local DA may take an extremely dim view of your attitude, and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. Why make matters worse for yourself than they already are in a potential deadly force encounter?

  7. I like it. Any criminal that ignores the sign has the intent to do bodily harm to the people there and lethal force is justified.
    No double standards put the DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.

  8. While I do agree with the logic that most have offered to be discreet, to answer your question: Hell yes, that is very clever and should give unwanted quests something to consider. I might just have to get me one of those.

  9. I had a LEO tell my concealed carry class that a loud barking dog and a sign revealing that an alarm system was active on the property were the best legal ways to keep robbers away from your home without too many dramas. He stated that his experience in the local area was that burglars would avoid such a dwelling at all costs, other places were easier and less hassle.
    He went on to advise NOT to place “beware of the dog” signs on the windows, apparently his experience is that having a dog requiring a warning to people was a bad thing and could cause drama. It all depends on the state laws and attitudes at the local DA office.

    Again, each state and DA has different rules, opinions and laws. I have both a dog and an alarm sign as my overt warnings, thankfully I can afford the vet bills, feed the dog and pay the alarm bills.

    It is my belief that warning signs detailing your plan or options do nothing more than provide a liberal DA, judge and/or jury ample ammunition for your trial and a nail gun by which to seal your fate. I do not believe in giving a prior warning to anyone of my intended actions except what is required by the laws in my state.

    And finally, I firmly believe that telling anyone outside of the family that the occupants of the house are armed and have weapons to be personal information that is NONE of their business.

    • There is amother reason not put a beware of dog sign on your property and it had nothing to do with a DGU. The sign says you knowingly have a vicious dog on your property so when your little Yorkie nips a neighbor you are going to pay big time. It is always better to put a simple no trespassing sign up with no threats of punitive action on your part.

      About the farthest I would go is “This house has nothing worth dying for in it.” It is suitably ambiguous.

  10. Make a sign of a machine gunner’s range card with the PDF (Principal Direction of Fire) down your driveway and FPF (Final Protective Fire) across the front of your property, and put a note “You are at 100 meters.”

  11. I like the one that says; “Warning: You are entering guarded land. No warning shots will be fired.”

    And the one that says; “WARNING!!!

    Ring Bell. Wait. Advance with your Hands Up. Stay on path, avoid mines. We lost three customers last week. We can’t afford to lose you. No sales tax.”

  12. Meh, the law’s the law and people’s prejudices are their prejudices. This kind of thing might hurt, or might even help, depending on the grand jurors and/or trial jurors. Would it make the difference? Seriously doubtful.

    I’d certainly be eager to see anyone’s research citing cases, though, where jurors communicated post-trial that such signs, shirts, bumper stickers, ammo trademarks, etc., had any consequential impact on their verdict.

    • I had some anti neighbors to whom I told that in case of civil disturbance I would put out sign pointing to their saying “THEY HAVE BETTER STUFF AND ARE UNARMED.” Needless to say they didn’t see the humor in that.

  13. No signs, I have a dog, an alarm and can defend myself and family with whatever force is necessary. Why give anyone a warning?

  14. Better to old school. Wrought iron fence with impaled heads on spike points along fence. Gives a clear and defined warning by providing concrete examples.

    /sarc for the lawyer set

  15. NO…tell bad guys I got guns? BTW I had a “discussion” with a friend who is pro-gun but woefully uninformed. He insisted that you had to rack yer shotgun and it would scare the bad guy off. Because an old cop said so-and I couldn’t possibly know more than a cop. I informed him it is possible to jam or fail to seat a round under pressure. One in the chamber on safe (in a safe place). He then proceeded to tell me he keeps his shotgun unloaded and would have no problem in a home invasion-DUH. Maybe a sign IS better for him…

  16. Nah, operational security rules all. Be grey, unassuming, and bland. Go loud with extreme violence if that doesn’t work.

    Surprise is lovely.

  17. Door mat that reads “come back with a warrant” and then yrd markers (10,20,30, etc) in red paint, sorta like at a driving range. Subtle

  18. This is the sign you put on your neighbors yard about 100 yds. away. Let them figure out where it’s coming from.

  19. Gun sign humor is great! But how is it different if the sign says “guard dog” and the invader is bitten? The DA or civil suite will say you have a vicious dog. Society is changing where personal responsibility is going away, as well as the 1st amendment.

  20. My theory is that criminals aren’t looking for obstacles, which is why they are often armed. Predators have to overpower their victims or they risk injury and an end to their crime spree.

    Yes a sign may signal that the home has guns to steal, but the risk of an armed resident between them and minor gains is significant. Even if the criminals are armed, entering the house of an armed owner represents unwanted possibilities. If they go in guns blazing there is a chance they’d miss or that there would be return fire. They’d risk death while attempting murder before gaining anything.

    Elevating the bar for how brazen or stupid the intruder has to be means lowering the number of contestants.

  21. An attorney would absolutely love that sign in a civil suit. In a criminal case, a liberal prosecutor would find a way to lump that sign into the same category as premeditated murder or menacing.

    • But that statement “. . . your life” could be framed by the prosecutor as the expression of a pre-formed intent to kill. Moreover, it conveys to your neighbors an inclination to use violence with lethal intent even in the possible absence of a lethal threat to you or your family.

      • For sure, which is why I don’t have that sign hanging on my house. I saw it at a gun store in Northern Florida and I liked the simplicity.

  22. I have a 25m M16 zero target next to the “No Trespassing” sign in my front window. It has 4 in the chest and 2 in the head. I actually had a police officer who stopped by mention that it was a great warning sign. I tell friends who ask it’s a multilingual sign reading “You will not wake up in the emergency room.”

  23. I prefer mine.

    You, as a member of the degenerate criminal fraternity that exists in this area, will be happy to know that we do in fact call the local constabulary and our cameras do not record inside while we are present. However by the time a dapper deputy or a competent constable do arrive.
    It’s our words against a f**** corpses.

    Thing about criminals is a lot can’t read, those that can, may not and those wanting a fix will take their chances regardless, it only really matters how a prosecutor interprets the sign.

    There are indeed professionals but those folks will wait to make sure you are gone, determine if there are cameras or guard dogs and will know whether your neighbor has nicer things or not. A sign does little for that type.

  24. Putting up signs assumes the criminal can actually read, so why bother? They already know stealing is wrong, so they have no one to blame and there is no real surprise when they get ventilated.

    • A sign is – I think – primarily a matter of PR. For better or for worse.

      Let’s assume – for the exploration of an alternate train of thought – that signs have a negligible effect on criminals. Now, then, who is affected by signs? No one? Or, our neighbors?

      Well, then if no one (we care about) is affected then we can each do as we please; decorate our homes with signs, etc.; or not.

      Conversely, if signs send a message to our neighbors then what message might it be useful to send?

      1. – I am armed; you may not be. In that case, who is more vulnerable to a burglary or home invasion?
      2. – I am a hostal person inclined to vindictive violence. Join me or oppose me as you choose.

      If mine is the only house in the neighborhood with a sign then #1 will have little effect. As the number of signed houses in the neighborhood approaches 50% the impact of #1 begins to approach critical mass. More and more neighbors will begin to feel compelled to consider their increasing vulnerability. Indeed, some who would not actually arm themselves would be tempted to put a sign on their houses. Eventually, all the neighbors in the community begin to accept that a substantial portion of the houses have signs and probably have guns. And, signs with or without guns are normal. The entire community is safer because criminals might avoid our neighborhood and go elsewhere. (Whether the actually do avoid the neighborhood is irrelevant). Social utility is recognized to exist in the right to keep arms (and erect signs).

      If PotG could achieve the benefits of #1 but without the hazard of #2, it might be worth-while.

  25. Live a number of years in NYC. About 1/2 the people had a gun in the house.

    I learned to appreciate the virtues of annonimity.

  26. No way, terrible idea. This just advertises that you have something worth stealing while you are away – and burglars aren’t stupid. I had my house burgled in the 10 minutes I went to the Jack in the Box up the street – they were obviously casing the house and knew exactly when I left, but not when I’d be back. It was my normal “night shift” departure time, the only difference was it was actually my day off.

    A sign like that deters nothing when they know you aren’t home.

  27. For the same reason I don’t have gun stickers on my car, or wear gun clothing, my guns are my own business. I like to decided who I allow to know about them and in what context. In the case of self defense, I prefer to make it a surprise. I think signs like this invite unwanted attention and may potentially indicate malicious intent under the right set of circumstance. There are almost no civilian circumstances where shooting someone from long range with a scoped rifle can be justified as self defense.

    The impression this sign gives me, is that this person is looking for an excuse to shoot people.

  28. Residential burglaries (i.e. no one home) are way more common than home invasion robberies (i.e. people home to defend their property).

    If a burglar is convinced no one is home, no sign referring to your guns or marksmanship skills will deter him.

    • I take your factual statements to be valid. That said, they don’t really inform the decision to post an appropriate sign.

      So, suppose my exposure is: 67% burglary; and, 33% home invasion. I’m far more concerned about doing anything that might reduce the likelihood that a home invader will decide to attack my home. So, should I consider a sign?

      Arguably, the downside is that I might attract a burglar who is casing my home. My sign might motivate him past the tipping point to choose my home vs. another where there is no sign. I can deal with this. I can keep my guns in safes or well hidden.

      I have to net the benefits of mitigating the risk which I judge to have far more severe consequences vs. exacerbating the risk which I judge to have lower consequences.

      And, these considerations need to be added to the desire to promote the RKBA.

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