Business owners approach open carry law differently, many wait and see Dec 2012

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Business owners have the right to control the presence of guns on their premises and it appears many are treading carefully since the open carry law went into effect Nov. 1.

Photo - Stickers on the front door of Casa De Los Milagros Mexican Restaurant and Cantina in Oklahoma City communicate the establishment's firearms policy. PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND - PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND
Stickers on the front door of Casa De Los Milagros Mexican Restaurant and Cantina in Oklahoma City communicate the establishment's firearms policy. PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND - PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND
Signs banning, or welcoming, legal firearms are not widespread. Business owners face a difficult decision: if they ban firearms, will they alienate pro-gun customers? But if they allow them, will customers become uncomfortable if someone comes in carrying a gun?

Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma is one example of a business that posted signs banning guns at its retail stores after open carry became law. Chief Executive Chris Daniels explained the move was made to protect its employees, many of whom are disabled and could become anxious about the presence of a gun in the store.

A customer contacted Daniels last week to complain about the policy and the inconvenience he faced returning to his vehicle to store his firearm. But, Daniels said, after he explained the company's position, the customer understood and asked if there was anything he could do to help.

Daniels said the company is open to revising its policy but officials believed they needed to take a quick stance before it became an issue.

“We thought we needed to get a hold of it quickly until we could gather some more information,” Daniels said.

On the other end of the spectrum, customers entering Casa De Los Milagros Mexican Restaurant and Cantina encounter two signs on the door. The first reads “Your legal carry firearm is welcome here!” and shows a handgun with a red heart around it. The other reads “Nothing on this property is worth your life!” The signs were created by crimeseen.com, an Edmond-based security company.

During a busy lunch hour this week, it didn't appear any customers were openly carrying a gun at the restaurant. A manager on-site declined to comment on the signs and the owners didn't return a message left by The Oklahoman.

At the Warren Theatres in Moore, a list of the company's rules is etched into the exterior glass doors. The top one prohibits open carry. Patrons legally carrying a concealed handgun, however, are permitted.

The Warren Theatres and Casa De Los Milagros were two of several businesses contacted that declined to discuss their policy for this report.

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