(Received: 01/17/2014, Posted: 01/17/2014)



As you may know, the concealed carry law enacted last year ironically includes provisions that will greatly impede your ability to defend yourself against violent criminals. Among these impediments to self defense is a provision allowing private property owners to prohibit concealed firearms on their property. The law requires such property owners to post government-approved "no guns allowed" signs on property entrances.

As implementation of concealed carry goes forward, more and more of these "no guns allowed" signs will be springing up in businesses across Illinois. Although law-abiding firearm owners are offended by such signs, most of us accept that private property owners are free to limit access to their property as they see fit. Nonetheless, the placement of such signs poses some serious public policy implications to those who honor free exercise of basic human rights.

In practical terms, the official "no guns allowed" sign actually declares, "No Self Defense Permitted Beyond this Point." Thus, a property owner who posts a "no guns allowed" sign is telling you point blank, "I don't care if you and your family are in danger, I will not allow you to defend yourself." The net effect of the property-owner's self-righteous indignation is that anyone who enters the posted property unarmed is being set up for violent attack.

The beauty of concealed carry is that only handful of citizens need to be armed in order to protect the greater part of society from harm. This benefit arises out of the fact that would-be criminals are never really sure which citizens around them may be armed. As a result, their criminal urges may be stifled in the interest of not getting shot.

Given the deterrent value of concealed carry, the posting of "no guns allowed" signs openly invites criminals to enter a business to commit mayhem without the fear of facing an armed citizen. Under the concealed carry statute, persons licensed to carry must obey these signs. By their very nature, criminals will not be deterred by a plastic pictogram stuck to a window. Consequently, armed criminals will be absolutely assured that nobody in the establishment is capable of warding off their violent behavior. "No guns allowed" signs give a distinct advantage to those who seek to harm others.

For thugs who may be too shy to perform for an audience, the parking lots of "no guns allowed" establishments would be little more to their liking. It would be a given that anyone leaving such a business would be unarmed and, thus, easy pickings for robbers or rapists. Likewise, these criminals would be free to burglarize cars in the parking lot to harvest guns dutifully left behind by permit holders who enter the antigun business.

All in all, it's distinctly possible that posting a "no guns allowed" sign makes patronizing a business more dangerous now that concealed carry has been passed than it had been to patronize the same store before the passage of concealed carry.

Quite a few people have contacted ISRA headquarters to report businesses that have posted "no guns allowed" signs. Many of the people ask how they should respond to the posting of such signs. Below are our recommendations.

  1. Carrying a concealed firearm in to an establishment bearing an official "no guns allowed" sign is not lawful and should not be attempted.

  2. Business owners who post "no guns allowed" signs consider lawful firearm owners to be social outcasts. Therefore, those businesses should be avoided, but not without first hearing how displeased you are with their decision. We recommend that you ask to see the manager and then politely tell him or her that you are a lawful firearm owner and that you disagree with their position on concealed carry. Advise the manager further that, as long as the offensive sign is posted, you will not spend money at their establishment and that you will tell all your friends to avoid doing business with them as well.

  3. Reward businesses who allow concealed carry by spending money in their establishments.

  4. Remain active in the gun rights movement at a local level.

  5. Join the ISRA.

  6. Donate to the ISRA so that we may carry on the fight to preserve, protect, and enhance gun rights in the state.