Monday, August 22, 2011

Carry Restricted in a Mall of Fear

I've been meaning to post this for quite some time.  Today, I have finally finished writing the incident in a way which I think is fitting for here.  This is purely a personal experience, so there is no source material today.  I hope this anecdote is useful to you, and you are able to benefit from my experience.

As you know, I possess a CCW in my state, and carry constantly.  One evening, I was doing so in a local mall.  Being in one of the more upper-class neighborhoods in the area, I rarely visited it.  As such, (and as is my habit) I checked the doors as I entered.  No signage.  In PA, if there's a sign indicating firearms are not allowed, you leave. If you don't, they are required to ask you to leave. If you don't leave at that point, they can charge you with civil trespassing.  So, no huge risk even if there is a sign posted. 
My fiance (then girlfriend) and I were in one of the kitchen stores when I reached to a high shelf to retrieve an item for her.  My shirt lifted, and one of the employees saw my weapon in my belt.  She just happened to be looking at just the right place she'd need to look to see it. 
As we continued perusing their goods, we were in a corner, to the side and fairly far back in the store.  I was in the midst of a conversation with my girlfriend regarding some item in her hands, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye mall security (unarmed, older gentleman, who I'm pretty sure couldn't fight his way out of a burlap sack, no offense intended toward him, but not the kind of guy who could be effective in stopping any sort of determined criminal), but didn't realize they knew I was armed.  I had in no way been acting suspiciously, so I just assumed he was making his rounds, or coming to socialize.  Next thing I know, he's standing immediately behind me, tense as one could be.  He was polite enough to wait until my girlfriend and I ended the current conversation thread in which we were engaged prior to interrupting. 
Now, I'm not a small person, by any stretch of the imagination.  When he said 'Excuse me, sir,' and I turned to face him, he lost most of the color in his cheeks.  It was all I could do to keep from laughing.  He then said 'I would like to talk with you, would you care to come with me?' 
Not knowing what was going on, and not about to comply with someone who had as yet not identified himself, I opted to go the public route, and said 'We can chat here as well as anywhere.' 
Long story short, he proceeded to tell me that the employee saw my weapon, and he asked why I felt I needed to carry in a peaceful mall.  I responded that it was to keep my girlfriend safe and in one piece, not that it was any of his business thankyouverymuch.  He then said weapons are prohibited, and I asked where the signage is, he said it is in the office, on the top floor, behind the counter.  So, in short, there wasn't a visible public sign, but he attempted to enforce it.  He suggested a compromise that I return my weapon to my car, and continue my shopping.  My answer was that I was not about to do business with any organization which has a complete disregard for the rights and safety of their clients.  I also was not foolish to leave a weapon unattended anywhere, as that is an enormous liability to me.  I looked at my girlfriend, and told her to come out to the car whenever she was ready to leave, and that I'd be waiting for her there. 
The looks she got from all the women in that store were priceless.  The snobish folks who frequent that particular establishment were expecting to see her pull some heat out of her purse, especially as she tends to carry a large purse. 
I eventually wrote them a letter, indicating that I'd be informing all my friends about how poorly I was treated, and how unsafe I would feel shopping in a place like that, and how their policies restrict the freedoms and rights of theirs customers, and that I'd not be doing business with them until they changed their policies.  I also sent a copy of that same letter to the stores in the mall, and the corporate offices of those stores. 
It may not be much, but it's a little chip in their customer base.  Out of curiosity I stopped by while I was in the neighborhood several months later.  The proper signage was added to both sets of doors past which I drove.  Rather than understanding a customer's perspective, they stuck to their ideology of fear.  Now, rather than having an armed, concerned, engaged, aware and alert citizen in their building, willing to step up if the need arises, they are more likely to have the people who ignore such things enter, and act without any others willing to protect the innocent lives and property there. 
Complete and utter disregard for common sense, simple logic, and most importantly, the rights of the American Citizen.


  1. uh, if you choose to leave any establishment with a sign, how do u go to the post office?

  2. I can't tell you the last time I was actually at a post office. I buy stamps elsewhere, if I need them, and I drop things I need to send in blue mail boxes. Anything bigger I ship via UPS.

  3. lol, i forget that the rest of the world uses them so rarely. They don't deliver here, so i have to go to the post office to get my mail.

    You know i've never been a fan of concealed carry, but for very different reasons than the average joe. A. I don't think anyone should conceal a weapon. It seems like you have something to hide. Yes, I know a criminal would hide it but if you're armed anyways, whats the difference? B. Ive never been comfortable with handguns. Their sole purpose is to kill people and i feel like their lack of barrel makes them inaccurate at any distance and more prone to accidents. That being said, i acknowledge what a pain it'd be to carry a rifle around.

  4. Yea, I have the advantage of actually having a postman. Of course, I also get very little by way of paper-mail these days. And the VAST majority of it is sent to the shredder.

    I can understand your reasons for not being a fan of concealed carry, but I'd like to respond briefly to your reasons, for the sake of discussion. :)
    A - It's not hiding as in 'What I'm doing is bad, so I'll do it without being seen,' but rather as in 'This sort of thing can upset people, and I'd rather avoid causing problems that don't need to exist.' It's more-or-less a hat-tip to society. Frankly, I'd FAR rather open carry than conceal carry. It's easier to get to the weapon when it's needed, I don't think culture should frown on it like it seems to do today, etc.
    B - I'd argue strongly that the sole purpose of handguns is to kill people. Very strongly. For carrying every day, and firing thousands of rounds through various handguns, I've never once killed someone with one. I've used them several times to defend life and property, but never once to take a life. If needed, I was willing to do so, but they served a better purpose (defense) without serving that particular purpose. Not to mention the sheer number of shooting competitions, sports, and other activities which use handguns. They are, like so many other things, just a tool to be used.

  5. Angela: I generally wait outside and send my wife in to conduct postal business.

    As for Open Vs. Concealed carry, I do agree with you partially. First I think a defensive firearm is nothing to be ashamed of or something necessitated to be hidden. Also open carry is a nice way to remind the violent criminal element that they have more to fear than just police and the law.

    Still allowing concealed weapons as well makes it quite difficult for the violent element of society to select the lowest hanging fruit for assault and robbery, as just because you don't SEE a gun, doesn't mean there isn't one there.

    Also to exercise not only the right to KEEP but to BEAR arms, one must realize that climate can effect what one wears, and how one wears a gun. I think its uncontainable to demand people in very hot climates like the Texas and Florida summers (where open carry is illegal) to wear enough clothing to both cover and conceal their firearm. Also in very cold climates like say Wisconsin in the dead of winter (where until next year it is illegal to CONCEAL a firearm) its nearly impossible to carry a firearm openly, and depending on weather conditions things like heavy rain, snow, or extreme cold can effect functionality of a firearm.

    As for their "sole purpose is to kill people" I have a large collection of handguns, and I have yet to kill any man or beast with them. Are they defective?

    In a less coy statement I'd point out in the legal boundaries of justifiable homicides of which every state has on the books, why would you consider killing another human being under those narrow legal boundaries (to prevent the loss of life, or extreme harm of an innocent person or persons) how could you consider killing another human a BAD thing?

    Also handguns are relatively poor killing implements, tho they are quite proven at being good fight stoppers and force multipliers.

    lastly I have yet to have left the range with a new shooter who wasn't able to keep all rounds of a defensive-caliber handgun inside an 8" circle at a range of about 30 feet (which statistically is over double the average defensive range...many defensive shootings take place at contact-distances), and I'm a decent shot with a pistol out to a range of 25 yards, and I'm a mediocre shot at best. I know people who are VERY accurate with ultra-small CCW handguns out to 100 yards (which is a range that might be legally questionable for self defense).

    But yeah, rifles are vastly better arms in every way...except one. When I leave the house in the morning I'm NOT expecting trouble, or planning to use a gun, but I understand it is a real possibility. I can carry my handguns all day without any hindrance in my jobs or chores, but still have them available if I need to defend my life and the lives of others. I can't do that with a rifle or a shotgun. Even the smallest and lightest are simply too big and too heavy.

  6. Angela:

    1) I would like to point out that, whether pistols are designed to kill or not, intent is non-transferable.

    2) As others have mentioned, not all killing (or violence) is wrong. One must make the distinction between aggressive violence and defensive violence. The Zero Aggression Principle is probably the best example of this (there's a good explanation of it here).

    3) As Weer'd also mentioned, environment plays a significant factor. It is almost impossible for me to carry openly here in Virginia during the winter, simply because of the clothing I need to wear to stay warm.

    Pistols are what you carry when you don't expect trouble, because it's easy to do so, and a gun you aren't carrying is useless for self-defense.

  7. Weer'd: The environment is a great point. It's a key reason why concealed carry is so important. I should not be required to keep my weapon outside many layers of clothing just so people can see it. If a government authority is going to say that two variations of the same thing are that different legally, they need to provide a method for legal citizens to move from one to the other. Carry permits allow that, and it's one reason why I firmly believe that all states should be 'shall issue' as opposed to 'may issue.'
    The other important factor I didn't even mention is carrying in a vehicle. In various states it varies, but here in PA if you have a weapon in your car, it is considered 'concealed' as it is not visible to passers by on the street or in other vehicles. This means that without a carry permit you are required to separate the firearm from the ammunition. This is typically done by stashing the gun in the trunk, bullets in the glove box. They need to be in two separate 'compartments' of the vehicle. Very much a PITA if you want to open carry legally. Another reason for the need for the ability to 'conceal' your weapon.
    There are a lot of factors, and ideally I'd like to see society migrate to one where carrying openly does not draw attention, but is commonplace. There are movements for that, days when many people will OC, etc. It's a great idea, and I eagerly look forward to the day we don't need to coordinate them anymore!