Open Carry Gun Debates Create Dilemmas for Small Business Owners
In the wake of a string of major shootings over the past few years, the issue of gun control and what constitutes an appropriate level of restriction has been at the forefront of national discussion. On the frontlines of the argument are business owners, either for or against gun control, who have been brought into the thick of things by open carry advocates who earlier this year made news by rallying at, and subsequently getting banned from Chipotle restaurants. While Chipotle is a chain restaurant, business owners in states where firearm laws allow for open carry are in the midst of an environment where unless they make their preferences known they may have firearms within their business, brought in by gun carrying customers. Adding to the complexity of the issue is the polarizing nature of the debate, such that either by openly supporting or going against open carry laws, businesses may alienate segments of their markets in ways that can be detrimental to their business’s health.
Whether for or against open carry, business owners must think carefully about how their choices effect their customers, their neighborhoods and ultimately the country at large. Small businesses represent not only a major force in the US economy, but also a major voice in the shaping of policy. How small businesses choose to handle the prospect of firearms in their locations can have far reaching implications, and therefore business owners should be actively aware of the implications of their actions and how their decisions can effect those around them.
Photo Credit to Steve Mays on Flickr