Would you shop or eat where guns are openly carried?

This may come as some surprise, but the number of states that allow people to openly carry firearms way outnumber those that do not.

The states where you cannot walk around openly carrying a gun are California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas.  In some states, such as Texas, the law does not explicitly prohibit the open carrying of long guns in public, but some urban areas either restrict or ban the practice.

So what does this mean to you? Advocates of open carry laws say a gun on the hip of a law-abiding citizen puts them in prime position to set bad guys on their heels if ever the need arises. Opponents say it is hard to sort bad guys from good guys. And then there is the concern about random and accidental shootings.

When it comes to places of business, the customer has to make a choice whether to patronize a locale that allows open carry weapons. Target today banned weapons from its stores nationwide in response to concerns of safety. CEO John Mulligan, in a statement to the public, said:

“We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members.
This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.”

Anti open carry advocates were quick to applaud Target’s decision. Sen. Michael Blumenthal, D-CT, stopped by a Target store in North Haven, CT. After purchasing his favorite candy, he said, “Today, I shopped at Target because it’s doing the right thing on guns. Target knows that allowing customers to carry guns in its stores is not consistent with providing parents and their children with a safe and secure place to shop.”

But then there are businesses that embrace the concept of open carry and advocate it as a brand. Such is the case at Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado. All nine of the servers at the restaurant pack heat as they serve orders to diners. On the wall, posted alongside copies of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, is a sign declaring that those inside are still “proudly clinging to my guns and Bible.”