Employers have many options with respect to guns, and the decision to bar or welcome them into a business should not be made lightly.
To make crafting your small business' policy on firearms easier, you should be aware of your legal rights with regard to welcoming or turning away gun carriers. Fox Business reports that some business owners are even promoting events like "Second Amendment Wednesday," attempting to lure in patrons with guns.
But before you start offering 50 percent off for carrying a .45, check out these three legal considerations for your business' stance on guns:
1. Private Business? You Can Probably Prohibit Firearms.
If having guns in your place of business is not something you're comfortable with, you can probably prohibit them at your business. Although each state varies as to the rights of business owners to refuse legally permitted weapons, the vast majority are explicit in allowing private businesses to choose whether or not to allow guns.
Some states, like Georgia, have laws that say certain businesses will be considered gun-friendly unless that business chooses to "opt-out." Texas' concealed carry laws allow employers to restrict employees from bringing firearms to the workplace, and these laws likely include the right to exclude customers who are packing heat.
2. Be Careful With Signs.
Whether you want to welcome concealed-carry patrons or warn them of your policy against firearms, you should be careful about how you post such a notice. Wisconsin law requires that any business which relies on a sign for notice have a sign at least "5 inches by 7 inches" and state the restriction on carrying a firearm. Some states like Illinois may even release a state-sanctioned sign which complies with state law.
Even if you want to allow guns at your business, make sure whatever sign you post is conspicuous, easy to read, and potentially in graphical form so that all readers can understand it.
3. Promotions for Gun Carriers?
If you want to cash in on the part of your customer base that loves carrying a weapon, you may offer promotions to those with legal guns. Fox Business reports that some businesses that encourage pro-gun patrons have been burned when these customers bring in illegal guns. Be clear in any concealed-carry coupon that your business will not serve or honor discounts for any carrier of an illegal weapon.
Don't feel pressured to allow or prohibit guns from your small business; the law in most states supports an employer's right to choose.
- Why Your Workplace Needs a Gun Policy (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Are Guns Allowed in Movie Theaters? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Starbucks CEO to Customers: Leave Guns at Home (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Consult with an experienced business attorney about your options (FindLaw)