When you operate a business, things are done differently than how you would do them in your capacity as a citizen. I just thought that I would throw in a few thoughts of mine on this debate to bring everything in perspective.
First I will say, these are my own thoughts on the matter. And this is not an official OCT stance. I personally have a 2-sided view on this issue with reasonable thoughts to both side.
There are three different levels of private property:
1– Closed to the public ~ This would be your Home or your farm/car/boat/backyard/attic/etc. These spaces are truly private property. It includes anything you own that the public may not have access to without your permission. DON’T confuse #1 Private property with #2 or#3. Things change when you are running a business, especially a Large corporation.
2. Limited access to public ~ This would be defined as exactly what its listed as: Limited access to the public. A “my way or the highway” stance is acceptable in this kind of business. Normally this kind of business/area/event would be a private club, a private store, a private group, or a paid membership store (like SAMS Club for instance). Basically a place/area/store that “allows the public” to enter/join/use its products or services as long as you agree to follow the rules that are set. Sometimes, those rules say no weapons and you have the choice to accept those rules or not join.
3. Private property that is open to the general public. [public (private) property] ~ Normally, these places allow just about anyone in – a sort of open door policy – although they are technically private property. By “open door policy, I’m referring to places like Wal-Mart, Starbucks, and just about any retail outlet and restaurant.
A business cannot be both #3 and #2; either you are open to All the public, or you are going to (legally) impose restrictions on what you “want” to be allowed to happen in your store. Its either Black or White; Left/right; up/down; one or the other.
When a private business adopts a firearms policy that states, “We follow all fed/State/local laws” that is super! That is the only way a #3 business can operate! They truly are an open to the public business.
It will be rare for us to find a large corporation that will state, “yep you can pack your guns in our stores cause its legal.” That puts them in a legal pinch. But, when they state, “we follow all fed/state/local laws,” they are inadvertently saying “yes you can. but we are not going to say that because we don’t want a lawsuit from the anti-gunners.” These businesses are truly a #3 business.
Then we have the problem of the “I want my cake and eat it too” syndrome. For this example, I am going to pick on HEB.
Sadly HEB says “No Firearms in store.” That is fine. They are private property and can make that choice. BUT, they claim to be a #3 business and conduct business like a #2. So why don’t they become a Private club like say, SAMS club? Or Cosco? Then they can make up rules and you can follow if you want to be there? However, the reality is that they won’t because they want to double-dip.
“We want everybody’s money but we want to dictate how you use the store/services.” Let that sink in a minute.
“We want everybody’s money but we want to dictate how you use the store/services.”
So are they truly “open to the public”? No they are not! They are claiming to be open to the public, but want to impose restrictions on the public’s rights that are lawful. Again, these are businesses that want to impose restrictions – not just on lawful activities, but constitutionally protected rights. They are a private club period. They have no forethought on your right to protect yourself from harm and do not provide any security to supplement your “loss” of security. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that businesses that refuse to allow you to carry your weapon onto their premises are legally required to ensure your safety. So, if you are robbed in a store that bans firearms, you can sue the business for failing to provide protection. And that is a Cold…Hard…Fact.
Again…..They have no forethought on your right to protect yourself from harm and do not provide any security to supplement your loss of security.
“We want your money. And we own the joint. So we can make any rules we want to if you want to shop here.” ~HEB
“But we are open to all the public and serve our communities” ~HEB
People can scream “ PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS!” all day/night. And that’s fine. I yell it loudly too. Be a #2 business. Don’t for a second claim that you are “open to all of the public” type 3 business, if you are not.
In conclusion, these are my personal thoughts on the matter and I am just trying to bring a few things into perspective.
Disclaimer: I am referring in this post to Large corporations only. Small Businesses are #2 by default because they are not usually governed and heavily regulated by federal laws because of the small business status. They are typically not financially strong enough to handle a $30m-$50m dollar civil rights lawsuits and $150k daily fines from non-compliance for discrimination etc. Don’t come in the comments and tell me “I own my small business and I can do what I want to.” I already know that. You are a small business that cannot financially handle a [BIG] lawsuit. Therefore you don’t have to worry about the issues I brought up above.