There is an interesting post and poll on the Personal Liberty blog asking the question if restaurants should be able to ban or restrict firearms on their premises.
I encourage everyone to go cast their own vote, but I thought I would share with you my perspective on the issue. The short answer is absolutely they should be able to ban firearms if they so choose. They should be able to post a sign and regardless of what state law says or what the 2nd Amendment says they should be able to ban firearms 100% at their establishments.
Those of you that have read my posts in the past know my own position on firearms. Therefore, I will wait the obligatory few minutes while you pick your collective jaws up off the floor if you are totally shocked about my position. Waiting… Waiting…
OK, everyone have their dental work back in place again? Good, let me elaborate. In a true libertarian society the right of private property must be sacrosanct. No negotiation on this point. However the rights of the individual need to be 100% respected as well. It would seem on this particular issue there is an impasse.
I disagree. As the property owner whose rights are sacrosanct they have the right to decide if someone is allowed in that facility with a firearm. However you as the individual whose rights must be respected also have a right to NOT go to that establishment and NOT spend your money there.
They are under no obligation to allow you entry with your firearm and you are under no obligation to come in. You as the individual are also allowed to boycott and make your displeasure known to whomever you would like. They as the property owners are also allowed to make their position known and defend it if they so choose.
In my state it is legal for any business to post no guns and as a CCW holder I am obligated to obey. If I choose to do business with one of these companies I do so according to their rules. However I also have the right to not do business with them and in my personal day to day life I do. I will not, on principle, go into any business that denies me my right to go in armed. Period. This is MY rule and MY right, which I choose to exercise.
Many times I will let the business know that I have or will take my business elsewhere if they choose to maintain this position. I am generally cordial and will ask them some questions as to why or how they came to the conclusion that this was a good idea. In some cases they don’t know why. In other cases they simply did not really think the issue through or have the facts to accurately assess the situation, i.e. that criminals don’t care if the stupid sign is up and only law abiding gun owners will obey those signs. Therefore, it doesn’t “protect” them from crime. If anything it keeps someone who could defend them from being present when a criminal does come in and ignores the sign.
However if at the end of the day they have an ideological position against guns and no matter what facts you present choose to ban guns on their property; in a libertarian society they should be allowed to. I also have the right to make certain choices, which I do.
Now for you people that are screaming you have a right to go here or there AND be armed I offer this. There are certain places in every city where the criminals rule. It is unsafe to go there under just about any circumstances, even if you are armed. You are of course free to go and be armed, but do you really want to? The point is being able to go absolutely anywhere you choose armed while it may be your individual right is it one you ALWAYS choose to exercise under ANY and ALL situations? I would offer no, there are some places that you CHOOSE to not go even if you can go armed.
This situation is not really that different. You are choosing to NOT go to a place because if you must go unarmed the place is fundamentally unsafe. If you were armed you might feel differently, but just like our crime ridden part of town you might not feel safe even if you were armed. The issue isn’t one of being armed or not armed it is about feeling safe under the circumstances. In a place that chooses to ban firearms I don’t feel safe because I know the facts about criminals. I choose to not go and feel unsafe. I am voting with my wallet and I am choosing to tell others about my position (boycotting) and letting them make their own decision.
Remember in a libertarian society your rights only extend to the point at which they infringe on another person’s rights. A private property owner has rights to. You may disagree with their position, but you can’t trample their rights to exercise yours. Simple as that.