The Virtue of Selfishness

When the framers were drafting the Declaration of Independence, they initially wanted the famous second paragraph to read “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and property.”

They quickly realized that this wording opened them up to losing their own property if the right to tangible objects was including in the wording.  Instead, they recognized that they were only really endowed with the PURSUIT of happiness.  They understood the importance of personal property and that no one else had a right to their labors or the results of that labor.  Thomas Jefferson said, “That, on the principle of a communion of property, small societies may exist in habits of virtue, order, industry, and peace, and consequently in a state of as much happiness as Heaven has been pleased to deal out to imperfect humanity, I can readily conceive, and indeed, have seen its proofs in various small societies which have been constituted on that principle. But I do not feel authorized to conclude from these that an extended society, like that of the United States or of an individual State, could be governed happily on the same principle.”

You may ask why I bring that up.


There has been a lot of talk lately about taking black powder (BP) pistols into businesses with 30.06 or “no guns” signs.  Some believe that since BP pistols are not considered “firearms” under state and federal law, they shouldn’t be banned anywhere.  While this is perfectly fine in most public properties, like city halls and other venues, this is not true for private businesses.

Hopefully, everyone agrees that people have the right to run their businesses as they see fit with only minimal intrusion by the government to ensure health and safety (though, even that is questionable).  And we all agree that you and I have the right to self defense and part of that right includes the right to keep and bear arms to ensure it.  So, what happens when our right to self defense bumps into a businesses right to “govern” their own property.

In her book “The Virtue of Selfishness,” Ayn Rand said, “The end does not justify the means. No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others.”

As gun owners, this is some that we need to be cognizant of.  Our rights end where others begin.  For example, I have a fundamental right to travel unmolested by government forces.  I’ve successfully fought many a speeding ticket arguing this and pointing to Supreme Court precedent that recognizes this right that is protected under the 9th Amendment. However, if my speeding causes an accident or I run someone else off the road, I’ve now interfered with their right to travel.  I don’t have a right to do that.

Similarly, as gun owners, we do not have the right to force a property owner to allow us to carry on their property. Our rights end at the property boundary of another.

If you are asked to leave because you are carrying a firearm or a BP pistol, you must leave or you are trespassing (Texas Penal Code 30.05).  If this doesn’t sit well with you, the easy answer is just not to patronize that business…or carry concealed.  But, please do not try and force them to allow you to carry in the store.  Don’t make a scene and don’t get upset. Simply thank them for their time and tell them why you will no longer be shopping or eating there.


31 thoughts on “The Virtue of Selfishness

  1. chris hall

    no not unless they are made libel for my self defense equal or greater than i can provide for myself. this is like saying if you are black or gay you can find some business that wants your business. no firearms and self defense are civil liberties that can NOT be infringed on. if a business wants to limit entry they must become a private club.

    1. OCTexas Post author

      You are correct. Businesses that do not allow you to protect yourself by allow you to carry a firearm assume the risk and responsibility for your safety.

  2. chris hall

    I’m very disappointed to hear you even entertain this line of thought. My right doesn’t infringe on another’s. Now it is your turn to explain why a business can’t wack you on the head and make you a slave. Under your description of private property once you enter the property you give up your rights.

    1. OCTexas Post author

      Because whacking you in the head and making you a slave violates your rights to liberty. I didn’t say you give up all your rights; only that that interfere with another’s rights.

      1. chris hall

        what right is my being armed violate of the business owners? This is like asking you to leave because you have a WWJD shirt on. I guess a burka might be a danger in that you can’t identify a perp. But, how can my gun violate another’s rights while sitting in my holster or slung on my back?

      2. OCTexas Post author

        Patronizing an establishment is a CHOICE you make. You don’t have to go there. You don’t have to buy their products, eat their food, browse their shelves, or enjoy their air conditioning. When you enter a business – much like when you enter a military installation – you agree to abide their rules. You come on my property and I have the right to decide how people may use it. It’s that simple. – CJ

      3. chris hall

        No, not if you are a “public” business. Give up your tax permit close your doors and take memberships. Even then you maybe forced to allow certain groups. You know it and every lawyer knows this hell even Hooters and the women’s only clubs know this. You are allowed only very very select reasons for banning someone from a public business. Ever hear clubs having a dress code? Ever notice that it is only enforced on guys? Not the ladies? This is like saying you can ban someone for being fat. If you are dumb enough to say why, you are dumb enough to be sued for it.

        Being in Business is a CHOICE you made to make money. You didn’t do it for a social cause. You don’t get to choose your clients. A public business has CHOSEN to give up the right to bar individuals “just because”.

        Here prove me wrong. Ban individuals from your group, make a post that do to an individuals religious preference your group will now ban military combatants that follow the Muslim religion. You can’t and you know it! Ban blacks, Gays. Mexicans…..Greeks, Italians….Indians.

        You would be shut down.

        This is true for each and every civil liberty.

        My right to be armed and my right to self defense is my civil liberty.

      4. OCTexas Post author

        Just because you can be shut down for banning certain kinds of people from shopping at your business doesn’t mean it’s right. True liberty and capitalism means that one has the right to refuse business to anyone. Period. If I only want to service Hispanic midgets I should be able to. If I don’t like rich, white men, I should be able to refuse service. THAT is true liberty.

      5. chris hall

        See, That is what I was getting at. The civil rights Act took away property owners rights to choose who can or can not use a business. If the right to carry openly will be won it must be by using the current laws. The current law says a civil liberty trumps private property rights. We have to use the law as it stands. Greg Abbot has already proven that a private property owner can’t ban a firearm in your locked private vehicle. The obvious progression is My person. Since I’m not carrying my firearm to protect my car, cell phone or wallet, I’m carrying my weapon to protect ME.

  3. John Greer

    Property owners have the right to ask anybody to leave no matter the reason. Also businesses have the right to deny service. We should respect them and make the decision whether or not that is the business we need to be spending our hard earned money at!!!

  4. Robert Holden

    How about a simple matter of being respectful to your fellow man. While it may be legal. If Someone has a business and chooses not to allow fire arms. They have the right to make rules for their own business. You have the right not to shop there, or leave your weapon in the car. Your battle is with the government that wishes to suppress your rights. Not your fellow man that wants nothing more than to run a business. Its about respect for your fellow man. Something we are sorely lacking in this day and age!!

    1. chris hall

      but, what about respecting my rights? Why do I need to give up my right so they can have a business? I can’t throw muslims or blacks out of my gun shop I will lose my license. Muslims are active military combatants and blacks statistically have much higher crime rates. I can refuse service and blame it on the government. I can not however violate anyone’s civil rights.

  5. Gary Lankford

    Certainly, a person has the right to not be offended on there own property, whether by some action, or some speech on the part of some visitor. Whether it be smoking, littering, swearing or carrying a gun, the will of the owner should prevail in any dispute on his own property. Naturally, he may not deprive you of your rights, but he may require you to express them elsewhere than on his property.

    1. chris hall

      No, If I’m a white supremacist and I refuse service to blacks because they are 3/5’s of a person do I get to bar them? The point is once you become a public entity a tax paying state allowed business you lose the right to be offended for certain reasons. You can’t bar someone for their manner of dress. My firearm is part of my manner of dress as easily as if it was a purse, fanny pack or t-shirt. If for example I wore a skirt to HEB can they bar me from entering? How about if I was female and wore pants instead of a skirt? If a business owner chooses to throw someone out, it must be because: They want to and don’t list the reason.

      If as a business owner you can be offended that easily you won’t be in business long. Smoking is state regulated…..can a business owner allow smoking? When was the last time you heard of someone being asked to leave for swearing? If they ask you to leave because you are black? is that legal? Gay? Armed? Face it once you open a public business you are required to follow a whole list of rules. If the state says you can’t bar armed individuals, You really think that there would be more than a handful that would close?

  6. Robert Holden

    Chris for whatever reason your either ignoring or not getting the point of the article and comments made after it. No one is saying you cannot exercise the right to carry your gun in a business. We are talking about respecting the wishes of the business owner. No one is disputing the legal right. We are talking about flaunting that right in the face of another law abiding business owner. Its a matter of respect, not law. Texas may be different. But in most states you have the right to refuse service to anyone at anytime. Your not even required to explain why.

    This battle is difficult enough to protect your rights. Why make it more difficult by trying to flaunt your right in the face of a private citizen who may or may not agree with you, but just wants to run a business and make money.

    I think this is a simple enough topic. While you may continue to wish to argue the subject. It wont be with me. Ive done the best explaining I can.

    1. chris hall

      No, What I said is a private property owner engaged in business, Has to follow the civil rights act. True private property is different from a business. If a person is being belligerent or aggressive then they can be forced to leave. If you want to win open carry State wide you must use current law. Not beg for your rights. I own a business. I sell firearms. If I refuse to sell to a person with tattoos and looks like a gang banger everyone will be all for it. If I refuse to sell to a burka clad Muslim no one would fault me for not completing the sale. If I refuse to sell to gays or women Then I could be sued. The thing is I can be sued for all of these.

      Can you drive to work with your gun in your car locked inside? Yes, Can you be fired? Sure. If they say it was for a legal firearm locked in your car, though you have the right to sue. Why would that be? That gun in that car is useless for self defense. Since I’m not carrying that weapon to protect the car Shouldn’t that mean it is for my self protection. That is a civil liberty. It makes the carrying of arms a protected class.

      The only way to win this is to use the laws as they stand!

      1. carrie

        my issue is i am a bartender…there are fights…i can not carry a weapon or even keep a rifle at work…i close…alone at two am and i think that the law against any establishment that serves alcohol should have stipulations…guess ill be buying a tazer this afternoon at academy

    1. carrie

      again…my issue is…there was a fight at my work on sunday because i refused service to someone who asked me for drugs so in turn i was called a b**** w**** c*** thats fine but then he got violent and a friend stepped in and laid him out…i am 115 pounds that guy could have hurt me if i was alone…but because the establishment sells alcohol i cannot bring a firearm in…i am not fearful but i also will not tolerate foolishness…need to check on tazer laws zzzzzzap!

      1. carrie

        And to clarify…i told him there were no drugs he then asked for a drink…and yes i refused service because he gave me good reason…period.

  7. Kenneth (Ken) Allen Gerhard Lukasik

    I totally agree with not infringing upon other persons rights, no one is allowed on my property without my permission.

    The other issue, in the question of what our founding fathers declared, not the pursuit of happiness, but the pursuit of property. I think that was changed years later so the states could tax real property and to have the ability to take our land if we do not pay the taxes.

  8. Phillip Shurtleff Politics Page

    I’m going to side with Chris Hall here for the most part. The statement: ” No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others” is equally valid to both sides of a conflict. The customer’s rights don’t trump the business owner’s and the business owner’s doesn’t trump the customer’s. Property ownership doesn’t convey absolute despotic control. As my real estate classes taught; there are a number of governmental controls over private land, including one’s private residence that limit or direct how the land is used. Zoning laws, deed restrictions, Home Owner’s Associations, etc…. The valid laws stop the property owner from negatively affecting other people even though they aren’t even on his land. Rules over appearance protect other people’s property values, noise restrictions protect other peoples right to quiet enjoyment, junk and lawn maintenance prevent vermin infestations that invade surround properties, etc……

    The statement that one’s person’s rights end where another person’s begins is a false statement denying the equality of the customer to the owner. The business owner’s right choose clientele doesn’t override the clientele’s right to life and the right to self defense that goes with it, hence the right to carry. Rights overlap and don’t always neatly end where another’s begins. It is true that my rights must be respected in balance with another person’s rights. The right of a business owner to be particular over who he serves doesn’t out weigh my right to life.

    I too, am self employed. I consider my handy man home repair business to be a “vital” business, meaning like a grocery store, health care business, and counseling, those denied the service suffer unreasonably and unjustly. I don’t judge my customer based on their political views. As long as everything is reasonably within the bounds of the law I will fix their home as they see fit to pay me. I refuse my service based only on the ability to pay and the applicability of my skills. The simplistic statement that they can do business elsewhere denies that it’s possible that all business are denying to serve as well. OCTexas is unwittingly supporting a Jim Crow society against gun owners. The goal of the Brady Campaign, since they’re such a failure through proper political channels, is to deny gun owners the ability to live by getting businesses to refuse to serve them food, health care, a safe home to live in and so forth. Just as the Jim Crow laws violated the black american, claiming that property ownership is an absolute trump to all other rights is a violation of other people’s rights and cannot be tolerated particularly with vital businesses.

    Star Bucks stood up for the right of all law abiding people to be respected as a customer regardless of their ideologically based actions. If you’re complying with the law, you too shall be served an over-priced cup of coffee. They have no desire to support or opposed political issues not directly affecting their business and to serve everyone equally. They actually just want to be left out of politics altogether. Their publicity started when the Brady Campaign demanded that they refuse services to those legally carrying handguns. Not wanting any part of the “Jim Crow” gun law efforts they simply refused to refuse service to anyone obeying the law. A group of open carry folks took this as a support for gun rights and made Star Bucks a focal point much to Star Bucks’ discontent. Just pay too much for coffee and leave them out of it.

    I do agree with OCTexas that in any confrontation we gun carriers need to be polite, well spoken, well versed in the law, and to act in a way that makes the other guy look bad. Don’t flunk the attitude test. Those that carry black powder pistols here in Texas have misread the law. While it is true that a black powder firearm manufactured on or before 1899 and doesn’t use rim or center fire ammunition, or any replica of such, is exempted from firearm regulations and laws by being legally defined as not a firearm, even though it obviously is, the law prohibiting the open carry of handguns specifically says handguns and not handguns that are firearms. The law doesn’t define black powder pistols as not being handguns. So, at least technically, black powder handguns in Texas are illegal to open carry because they are handguns and handguns, not firearms, are prohibited from being openly carried. It’s important to know the nuance of the law and also how it’s reflected in case law.

    1. Richard

      I must have read a different letter from the Starbucks CEO. The one I read made it abundantly clear that people carrying firearms either openly or concealed, even though in compliance with local laws, we’re not welcome at Starbucks. That letter constitutes actual notice, even in the absence of a 30.06 sign, such as to invoke criminal trespass. Like it or not, your options are to not patronize Starbucks or not to carry in their establishment.


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