Carrying Concealed in Non-Permissive Environments

First and foremost, this is not advice, and I am not encouraging anyone to break the law or disobey any ordinances. However, this topic is something that comes up frequently regarding concealed carry into non-permissive environments (read gun-free zones). Should you ignore the business that posts a haphazard sign, carry on a campus that outlaws it, or the movie theatre?

While this comes as a shock to most, criminals typically don’t obey laws, hence being a criminal. This fact is further illustrated by several high-profile shootings that have taken place in these zones. Every school is a gun-free zone, but Columbine and Sandy Hook happened there, like the Aurora movie theatre shooting, which was gun-free, which obviously didn’t stop that incident. Look up the Luby’s restaurant shooting, and the daughters call to her state legislature and higher about watching her dad and mom die because he left his gun in the car based on their sign. I could illustrate dozens of more incidences where this same action was carried out. So, should you, a law-abiding citizen, carry if the sign on the door says not to carry? Legally the answer should be no. If it is private property, such as a business, they have the right to refuse service and ask you to leave, and based on my conversation with a local Sherriff, they can’t push charges in my state if you go with no issues. If you don’t leave, you could get charged with trespassing or criminal trespassing, depending on your state. I personally tend not to support those businesses with my money and encourage others to do the same (I have not shopped at Dicks, Buffalo Wild Wings, and several others in years based on their stances). That said, many states must have the correct signage, and it needs to be on every door in accordance with state standards…know your state. For example, if a homemade sign doesn’t fit the regulation…. technically, you could argue it is invalid. Again, I am not a lawyer.

What about using your firearm should an instance occur? Well, I am sure that I can accept any punishment handed down if it means my family and my life are protected versus being helpless. This fact would ring to the adage “rather be judged by twelve versus carried by six.”. Everyone needs to address what they would be willing to kill/die or potentially be incarcerated for and make their own risk assessment. If you are going to carry in this way, I would highly recommend a deep carry holster such as the Original and Roughneck magnetic holsters offered here to minimize printing. Again, this is NOT legal advice, and I am not responsible for your choices.

What about other areas like schools, government buildings, etc.? When I went to college, we had concealed carry and frequently had some good ol’ boys parking their trucks with their deer rifle in the rack in their truck. Many college campuses have gotten “woke” and prevent the carrying of firearms and threatened being kicked out. Additionally, it is harder as you need to be 21 to carry, leading freshmen through juniors without the ability to carry a concealed handgun. I would look at other means of defense in these situations. As for government buildings, a felony to me is not worth the benefit of a firearm, however as I said, I maximize what I am legally allowed to carry. Assess your own risk tolerance. I would highly recommend you talk with your local authorities, read the laws, and a few books by John Mosby, Massad Ayoob, Jeff Cooper, and others, and make a decision that is right for you and your personal security.

Author: Ian Bolser