NO GUNS Signage
Dealing with them.
Getting rid of them.
(Guns Save Life) – “NO GUNS” signs have popped up like spring mushrooms across Illinois, both at public buildings and at a handful of private, commercial locations. While we know that the signs do nothing to stop bad guys from committing violent crimes, not everyone knows that. In fact, these signs attract violent criminals but not everyone has made that connection.
Some well-meaning, but ill-informed business owners or managers might think the signs are a prudent means to prevent injuries or incidents involving guns. It’s up to us to educate these businesses about the facts surrounding the disarmed victim zones created by these posted notices. In short, many gun owners have gone through considerable time and expense to become a card-carrying good guy primarily because we aren’t big on relying on the compassion of a criminal for our own and our family’s safety.
While there’s little we as gun owners can do about locations prohibited by statute (aside from our work to elect a more pro-gun governor than Pat Quinn), private commercial locations are an entirely different matter.
By informing business owners and store managers of the true effect of their NO GUNS signs, we sometimes succeed in getting them to reconsider their earlier decision and then remove the signs. In other cases, we punish them economically, and after lost revenues, anti-gun business owners may pull the signs down as money talks louder than words.
Or, in the case of at least one Chicagoland business, we’ll simply help drive them out of business.
In any event, NO GUNS = NO MONEY cards are the universal tool, along with a respectful and polite disposition and a firm resolve not to do business with companies which would strip card-carrying good guys of the tools necessary to defend innocent life.
A number of gun rights organizations, including Guns Save Life are now distributing these cards at free or at cost. Get yours today and be ready for when you run into a private business which has posted themselves as higher-risk victimization zones.
What is a compliant sign?
(Illinois State Police) – Owners of any statutorily prohibited area or private property, excluding residences, where the owner prohibits the carrying of firearms must clearly and conspicuously post the Illinois State Police approved sign, in accordance with Firearm Concealed Carry Act, at the entrance of the building, premises or real property. Please refer to Section 65 (Prohibited Areas) of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act for more information on statutory requirements for signage as well as where concealed weapons are prohibited.
Pursuant to Section 65(d) of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, signs must be of a uniform design and the Illinois State Police is responsible for adopting rules for standardized signs. The Illinois State Police has proposed rules which require a white background; no text (except the reference to the Illinois Code 430 ILCS 66/1) or marking within the one-inch area surrounding the graphic design; a depiction of a handgun in black ink with a circle around and diagonal slash across the firearm in red ink; and that the circle be 4 inches in diameter. The sign in its entirety will measure 4 inches x 6 inches.
Only signage that meets the Illinois State Police’s criteria for “NO GUNS” signs carry the force of law in Illinois.
Here are some non-compliant signs (photos from various blogs, forums, etc.):
Things you can do
When you notice a posted business…
When you notice a business posted “NO GUNS” the best and most important thing you can do is to avoid doing business with them. Money talks like little else.
If you are up for it, walk in and present the owner or manager a “No guns = No money” card and explain that their sign prohibits card-carrying good guys like yourself from entering their store and spending money there. At the same time, it does nothing to prohibit the street criminal carrying a gun into their store. Be polite – you’re representing almost two million gun owners in your demeanor.
Even better than presenting a card in person is to do your business at a nearby competitor then return to the posted business and present them a “No guns = No money” card AND the receipt from spending at a competitor. That will speak louder than words. Almost as good (and probably more convenient for you) would be to write a short, one-page letter (see sidebar article) to the business explaining how they lost your business and why you spent at their competitor. Don’t forget to enclose those receipts!
If their sign is non-compliant, you don’t need to tell them. A non-compliant sign does not carry the force of law and if you proudly point out to the business owner that their posting is defective, you may be setting up a carry licensee for a criminal charge at a future time if the business owners later post an approved sign.
Talking with management and owners does make a difference:
Walmart pulled down their “NO GUNS” signage two months ago, in response to an appeal to common sense from gun owners throughout Illinois.
Freedom Oil Company’s President Mike Owens told GunNews that a couple of their corporate stores were posted by unauthorized individuals. As soon as corporate was made aware of the signs, “We took them down as soon as we possibly could.”
Heartland Bank and Trust banks throughout Illinois were posted until the Board of Directors voted to pull the signs down, realizing that licensed good guys weren’t going to be a problem for the bank.
Martin-Sullivan Implement Company’s stores were posted – for a day or two. Now they are sign-free as card-carrying good guys are once again welcome.
Here are a list of a few other locations pulling down signs thanks to education and customer feedback include: The Thelma Keller Convention Center, Effingham; Ernie’s Shell on Milwaukee Ave. Lincolnshire; Maxx’s Dogg House Libertyville; Philly Cheese Steak, in Vernon Hills; Sunset Foods Grocery Stores in Highland Park, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Long Grove and Northbook; Motu Massage, in Libertyville; Re-Max Suburban in Libertyville; Jewel Store in Mundelein; Walgreens in Mundelein on Rt. 60 and Rt 176; Shop-N-Save in Wood River. Fairplay in Worth, Oak Lawn, and Hickory Hills, Taco Bell in Clinton, BP Gas at Rt. 45 & Manteno Road.
Other businesses are a little slower on the uptake:
Writing an effective letter to a business
Like a great culinary dish, a persuasive letter has a certain recipe that should be followed to reproduce good results. At the very least, a sound, reasoned letter will be read by influential people and enter their psyche for future considerations. Coupling a letter with a receipt from their competitor will easily have a synergistic effect bolstering your effort’s impact.
What should you include in the letter:
Note that their business was your first choice to buy goods or services on the particular day when you noticed their “NO GUNS” signage. You can add a sentence or two why they were initially your preferred choice.
Explain how the sign only impacts card-carrying good guys – not the criminal element.
Mention why this is important (pick one or more of these points, or add your own):
* Criminals will seek unarmed victims to attack, so the sign they thought would keep their customers safer is in reality only increasing the risk of violence.
* Every multiple death mass public shooting rampage since the 1950s, except one, has occurred in a designated “No Guns” zone.
* It’s discriminatory against law-abiding good guys, much as a “No Jews” or “No Blacks” signage would be improper and discriminatory against those individuals.
Remind them virtually all of the biggest companies in the USA do not post their stores. Aren’t they interested in emulating the successful business model of the largest, most successful companies in America by not needlessly alienating millions of American gun owners?
Let them know the consequence of their decision to post – you are taking (or have already taken) your business elsewhere, but are open to reconsidering doing business with them should their “NO GUNS” sign come down.
Sign your name and address. Anonymous letters will be ridiculed and then thrown in the trash.
A sample letter
Dear First State Bank:
It was with great pleasure my wife and I purchased a house in Bloomington recently. It’s just a few short blocks from your bank branch.
When I stopped by Friday to open an account, I noticed you had a new “NO GUNS” sign at your entrance. I felt my heart sink. Your sign was telling me my self-defense tools were unwelcome, and as such I was unwelcome.
Criminals will ignore that sign. In fact, it’s likely to attract them as violent criminals certainly prefer unarmed victims. Those impacted by your sign – people like me – are thoroughly background checked and free of mental health issues or criminal convictions. We are literally card-carrying good guys.
Do you know that much about the rest of your customers – or employees, for that matter?
Furthermore, I’m surprised your bank isn’t following the lead of America’s largest banks in not needlessly alienating law-abiding gun owner customers with risky signs that only attract bad guys.
Thanks in advance and we will certainly reconsider opening an account at your facility if those risky “NO GUNS” signs come down, given its proximity to our new home and our positive initial impressions of your facility.
Thanks so much for your time and consideration.
Your name and contact information.
First restaurant in the state to post “No Guns” has gone out-of-business
Keefer’s “no guns” restaurant: NOW CLOSED
(Guns Save Life) – Keefer’s restaurant in Chicago, one of Governor Quinn’s favorite eateries, was featured in a Chicago Tribune story last July after the Illinois General Assembly enacted right-to-carry.
Managing partner Glenn Keefer, supposedly a “supporter” of the Second Amendment, made it a point to post his business banning guns even before the new law took effect, making his restaurant probably the first in Illinois to post “NO GUNS”.
No amount of reasoning or logic changed his mind on the matter so gun owners quietly began to take a pass on his restaurant.
Mr. Keefer’s business declined and in recent weeks, the business closed. New owners have bought the location and are converting it to a seafood restaurant.