“No Guns Allowed” Signs

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. Nothing in this content constitutes legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice on this matter, retain a licensed, competent attorney in your relevant jurisdiction.

You are a concealed carry permit holder and you are carrying. You walk up to a convenience store entrance and on the door is a sign reading “No Guns Allowed”. What do you do? Do you enter? Do you go back to your car and leave your gun in your car? Do you leave and go somewhere else? As a law-abiding gun owner and 2nd Amendment patriot, I vote for patronizing another establishment…a business more gun-friendly, but this is your call, not mine.

Under Pennsylvania law, it is not a crime if you continue to enter the establishment, despite their sign. However, if they discover you are carrying, they may ask you to leave, and that is certainly within their right…their rules. If you leave, store your gun in your car and return to the establishment, it probably won’t be a further problem with store personnel. If you remain, you are now committing trespass.

If you decide, on the other hand, to be defiant and argue with store personnel, you may be arrested for defiant trespass.

When establishments, such as convenience stores and restaurants, have “No Guns Allowed” signs on the door, they are inferring to customers that those establishments themselves are providing security, whatever is necessary for the situation. If a violent crime is committed or attempted, they will handle it. But what if they don’t?

If a convenience store has a “No Guns Allowed” sign, the store owners/management are inferring they will handle the correct level of security.

Just because they have a sign on the door that may not absolve them from any further legal action. Let’s suppose you honor their request and leave your gun in your car. While you are in the back of the store shopping for a gallon of milk, you hear a commotion in the front of the store. You turn in that direction and notice a gun-wielding thug has entered the store and has his gun pointed at the clerk. Here’s the kicker. If you had been allowed to carry, you may have been able to stop the attack. But as of now, your only protection is to throw the gallon of milk at the attacker, and hope your aim is that of an MLB pitcher. But alas, because you followed their rules and did not carry your gun into the store, the thug shot the clerk before cleaning out the register.

Do you, as a traumatized customer, have any recourse with the convenience store owner? Perhaps, and this is where a qualified attorney can provide the proper legal advice. It may be construed that the convenience store was negligent in providing ample security, in that just posting a sign on the door may not be enough. But practically speaking, what purpose will you achieve if you go after the convenience store owner civilly? Is it because you were really traumatized watching the clerk get shot when you may have been able to help, or is it to send a message to the gun-fearing liberal store owner that their sign prevented you and other law abiding gun owners from rendering aid to the clerk?

Therefore, the best course of action which provides the least hassle is to patronize another establishment more friendly to law-abiding gun owners.

“No Guns Allowed” Signs