Today I needed to run to Costco to order some contact lenses. I called the store and they said they wouldn't order them over the phone unless I had their Costco AmEx card. So, I strapped on my gun leather and rode on over to Costco, taking a twisting route to avoid all the schools between here and there.
I arrived and showed my Costco card at the door, then proceeded to the Optometry department
. Carol, who I've been doing business with for over 7 years, was helping another customer at the counter. After waiting there for several minutes, a manager came by to approve a refund for the customer. After she walked past me to leave, she stopped about 50 feet away and kept watching me while talking into her radio.
Carol began taking my order and rang me up. As I was reaching for my wallet, a young man in a blue shirt walked up; the following exchange ensued:
Manager: "Excuse me, sir. We see that you're carrying a handgun in our store."
Me: "Yes I am"
Manager: "So you have a license and all that, right?"
Me: "No I don't. There is no license required to carry a gun."
Manager: "You don't have a license?"
Me: "No. There's no license required."
Manager: "Oh, really... Well this is a membership store..."
Me: <Handing him my club card> "Here's my membership card."
Manager: "Well this is private property and we don't allow people to carry guns here."
Me: "Really? Well then I just won't bring it next time I come here.
Manager: "OK, thank you."
I proceeded to pay for my order. As she rang me up, Carol and I had the following conversation:
Carol: "Don't get too excited."
Me: <laughing> "Don't worry, I'm not."
Carol: "So are you a cop or something?"
Me: "Nope, I just carry for protection."
Carol: "I have a son that lives in Idaho; they all carry guns up there."
Me: "Yeah, Costco has a pretty silly policy..."
I then proceeded to the exit with my receipt.
Upon arriving home, I called the store and spoke with assistant general manager Howard. He said the policy is statewide because laws vary by state. I explained that the policy has nothing to do with the law because I had not violated any law. Howard claimed that in prior interactions with local police they have been told that you 'cannot carry a firearm without a license."
I offered to send Howard our OC flyer, telling him I think the policy should be formed on an factual basis and not on the misinformation from the beat cops. I explained that the city attorney and a sargeant at Turlock PD have agreed in the past with my interpretation of the statutes. He agreed to look over it and follow up on it to get clarification of the policy.
He said the policy is for the protection of the customers.
If someone has a weapon theres more potential for an argument to escalate into something dangerous. So they only allow LE and licensees to carry.
I pointed out the flaws to the reasoning: that most people carry pocket knives and other items that could easily be used as weapons. I also pointed out that events such as the Omaha mall shooting prove that the police cannot be relied upon to protect the customers. I explained that both the customers and employees would be much safer if everyone in his store was armed.