A very timely subject. Thanks for bringing it up!
About twenty years ago when Texas first passed their concealed carry
law, a jewelry supply house in Dallas sent a notice out to all of
their local customers stating that firearms were prohibited on their
premises. They posted a very prominent sign on their door saying
that “This business is a gun-free zone”. Along with many others (I
found out later), I expressed my dismay and concern that although
they had every right in the world to make such a policy (and that I
would honor it), such a sign and policy, especially in a jewelry
business, could easily be seen as an open invitation to bad guys with
ill intent. It essentially said to them - “Come on in! Bring your
guns, you won’t find any armed opposition here!” The company changed
it’s policy very shortly thereafter.
There are a lot of statistics around that people on both sides can
bring into the discussion to bolster their position, but one
statistic that doesn’t exist is how many crimes have been prevented
or thwarted by the mere presence of a firearm. I own a retail
jewelry store in which I do quite a bit of engraving. Because I do
firearm engraving for hire, I am required to have a Federal Firearms
License (FFL). Any business that does any work on a serial numbered
part of a firearm for money is required to have this license.
There is no doubt in my mind that having that license and the other
posters required by the ATF prominently displayed on the wall has
prevented at least two armed robberies. I know this because in two
separate incidents, shortly after casing our store, bad guys held
someone else up very nearby. One was at knife point just two doors
down at a consignment dress shop in our own shopping center, the
other about a hundred yards away at another jewelry store. In that
one, shots were fired but nothing was stolen and no one was hurt.
The bad guys were arrested several hours later and released the next
morning. Gee, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. And so safe and
There may have been many more incidents avoided in my shop that I’ll
never know about, armed robberies occur pretty often around here. One
recent occurrence in a nearby coin shop ended in the untimely death
of the perpetrator. Fortunately, no one else was hurt. In another
early morning incident a couple blocks away from my store, the
manager of a Burger King was shot by a perpetrator after the robbery
had already been completed. The manager did everything by the book,
the bad guy just decided on his way out that the manager needed to
die. So he shot him in the back as he lay face-down on the floor
looking the other way, just as the bad guy had instructed. A police
officer I know surmised that it may have been part of a gang
initiation. It seems that some people can see a blue letter “C” in
the Burger King logo and interpret it as meaning “Crips territory”.
This is what things are coming to. The cops in my neighborhood are
fast, but not nearly as fast as a 9mm hollow point. So I have decided
to be my own first line of defense. Some of my employees are also
well trained and those that wish to carry have my permission, as long
as they are properly licensed to do so. We also do periodic in-store
firearm, defense and security training, given by certified firearm
instructors and law enforcement trainers.
I agree wholeheartedly with the OP. Rights bring with them
responsibilities. If you wish to exercise your Second Amendment right
to bear arms, you must also bear the responsibility of doing so with
100% safety for everyone around you. Training is an absolute
necessity. Not just once in a while, but several times a year.
Shooting and handling firearms, just like engraving, playing a
musical instrument or wax carving is a perishable skill. And the
training should be given by a qualified firearms instructor, not
just by Uncle Bob who has a couple of handguns and a big backyard.
Make no mistake. Deciding to carry a firearm or even just having one
within arms-reach at your shop is no small decision. If you decide to
do so, you need to know what you are doing with it, and maybe even
more importantly, you must be willing to use it if the need arises.
My Drill Sergeant in Basic Training told us that “if you point a
firearm at someone, you better be ready, willing and able to pull the
trigger. If you’re not, better leave it right where it is, because it
might just get you killed if you bring it out without the intent of
Maybe it’s a little cliche, but my opinion about my own carrying of a
firearm can be summed up by the movie quote - “I’d rather have a gun
and not need it, than need a gun and not have it.”