Bar and restaurant owners in Columbus, Ohio, are refusing to allow people to carry their guns into their businesses, despite a new state law that allows gun owners to carry their weapons as long as they don’t drink alcohol. Some businesses are using signs and door stickers to turn away people with guns, the Columbus Dispatch
reports and say they’re within their rights to enforce a weapon-free zone.
“We just want people feeling comfortable bringing their families here,” said Amy Baldner, general manager of Jake’s Restaurant in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Some gun owners are letting Baldner and other club managers know that they’re offended by the new signs, put up after legislation passed in August, and plan to spend their money in more gun-friendly businesses.
“We’ve had some very angry people, and they actually leave,” said Baldner, who doesn’t care about losing those gun-toters’ business. “Someone who is carrying a gun is someone who should be level-headed. And if something that small bothers them, maybe they shouldn’t be carrying a gun.”
Ohioans for Concealed Carry, an advocacy group that maintains a database of businesses that ban weapons, says Columbus alone has 300 establishments with signs banning guns, despite the laws. The group’s members provide information for the database and hand out cards declaring, “No guns = No $.”
“They are free to post if they wish to, but we won’t necessarily patronize them,” said group coordinator Doug Deeken. “In this economy, if the small businesses are willing to turn away cash-paying customers, I find that a little odd.”
Deeken says criminals will ignore the signs or target businesses that have the signs because they’ll think those establishments are defenseless.
“That gun-buster sign is not a magic shield that repels thugs,” he said. “The thugs are going to come in anyway.”
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