Dear Fellow Survivalist;
I had an interesting conversation with a couple I know a couple of weeks ago. They both carry and have done so for years, having licenses to carry concealed, even though they live in a state that has constitutional carry. We’ve swapped information and stories about carrying for a couple of years now.
What was interesting about this conversation was that they said that they both carry concealed in movie theatres, even though the theatres are clearly posted, with the correct legal notice, as gun free zones. Just to be clear, in the state where they live, there is no prohibition on carrying in theatres, but theatre owners, like other businessmen, can post their place of business as being a no gun zone, as long as they do so in accordance with the signage specifications laid out in the law. In their area, all the theatres seem to have chosen to do so.
That state has tried to balance the rights of the gun owners with those who don’t want guns in their places of business. So, unless the businesses post the right sort of notification, which references the specific law, people with a concealed weapons license can carry. A simple “no guns allowed” sign or the graphic equivalent is not acceptable.
What they’ve done is to make an informed decision to ignore the notification, technically breaking the law and carrying their firearms in a place where it is prohibited. They’ve reasoned that since mass shooters have shot up theatres before, it can happen again; and they don’t want to be unarmed should they be in a theatre where it happens. There’s no metal detector and nobody checking purses at the door to the theatre, so there’s nothing to stop the bad guys from bringing their guns in.
Ok, so what’s the downside of this? I was taught that breaking any concealed carry law would lead to the confiscation of my concealed carry license; but apparent that is not the case. I’m not sure of the specific legalities in this case; but carrying a concealed weapon in those theatres isn’t so much breaking the law as it is more of a civil matter. So, there’s no risk of losing their license. Rather, if they are caught by the law, they would have to pay a $200 fine.
That doesn’t seem like all that big a deal to me. I would be willing to pay that fine, if I knew I was able to protect my family. Granted, I wouldn’t want to pay it every day; but on the very rare chances when I might be caught, yeah, it’s only $200.
I must admit, I’ve carried my pistol into places which were legally posted as well; but in every case, it has been because I didn’t see the posting. The same laws which specify the lettering on the signs say that the signs must be visible when entering the door of the establishment. I’ve seen people put those signs in the craziest places, including on the inside wall, nest to the door, so that you can only see them when leaving. That’s pretty much worthless. If I had gotten caught, I’m pretty sure the law would see things my way, since they didn’t follow the law in posting their property.
So, the question boils down to whether or not it is worth taking that risk. Of course, you would need to check the law in your state, before making that decision. I don’t know what it is there, just what it is here where I live. You obviously wouldn’t want to do anything to put your rights or your license at risk. On the other hand, you don’t want to put your family’s safety at risk either.
The challenging part here is actually within our own minds. We law abiding gun owners tend to obey the law. If the law says “don’t carry” we won’t, although we might grumble at that a bit. It doesn’t matter that the prohibition makes no sense and just reduces the safety for all of us; the law is the law.
On the other hand, I was at an event a few months ago, where the venue wasn’t allowing firearms and had gone as far as to put in metal detectors and had private security checking people as they went in, even though they hadn’t posted that no weapons were allowed, just listed it on a sign of “rules.” The venue manager was a young woman who was rather full of herself; so much so, that she convinced a cop that was on duty there to threaten to arrest me for criminal trespass if I didn’t leave my gun in the car. He was wrong and so was she.
All I was asking was that she follow the law and provide the proper posting. But I wasn’t about to go to jail over it. Rather, I dealt with the situation later, sending a letter to the police chief of that small town, citing the law to him and suggesting that he properly train his officers. So, I won that round; but in a round-about way.
Don’t expect all law enforcement officers to know the law when it comes to carrying. Just make sure that you do. If you’re going to decide to go around the law or even to take a stand; you want to make sure you’re on solid legal footing when you do.
Preparation is the cure for a lot of problems. That’s why I’m always saying to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.