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Thread: No open carry in Gander Mtn or Sportsman's Warehouse

  1. #1
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    I was in Roanoke today and stopped by the newly opened Gander Mountain which has a big sign prohibiting loaded weapons EXCEPT for permit holders. I walked in and explained that I was a permit holder, but that I was open carrying today. The lady referred me to customer service who said that "for customer safety" I would have to conceal or unload.

    I left.

    Went back down the road to Sportsman's Warehouse where the policy expressly says "long guns must be unloaded and locked open, handguns must be unloaded IF THEY ARE TO BE UNHOLSTERED." I didn't plan to unholster, so I figured I was fine, but...again, walked in, went to customer service where I was told the exact same thing: "Conceal it or unload it." I actually was mad at this point and asked "why" in a less than pleased tone and got "for everyone's safety" in response.

    I flipped my shirt over my gun and asked how that was safer. The guy at customer service just laughed and shrugged.

    I left.

    Went to Valley View Mall where it's at least posted clearly that they don't want ANY guns.

    All and all frustrating day since both policies in front of both "shooting" stores
    clearly exempted me by way of either holding a permit or the fact that I didn't intend to unholster.

    I was looking for a specific pair of sunglasses, too. $200...oh well, it was cloudy, so there was no urgent need for shades today

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    Hey. Had the same problem at the Gander Mountain in Winchester. I left and have not returned. There prices suck anyway and I would much rather support my local gunshop.

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Doesnt surprise me......

    I have other issues with Gander Mountain and I'm not very happy with them right now.


    James Reynolds

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    I just find it strange that I can walk around downtown Blacksburg (a decidedly anti-gun atmosphere seems to pervade the area) and not have the slightest bit of trouble walking into jewlrey stores, clothing stores, etc...and then I go to two large SELLERS OF GUNS and I can't carry?

    At the same time I'm wrestling internally with where to draw the proverbial line. Do I just conceal when I go in there and not worry about it? Do I make a stink and write letters and avoid the places? Perhaps find some middle ground? (Buy from them only what I can't find somewhere else?)

    My girlfriend was mad at me for being mad and leaving. She couldn't understand why I couldn't just put the gun in the car and walk back in...her friend in the backseat commended me on fighting the principal of it and the conversation ceased

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    SaltH2OHokie wrote:
    I was in Roanoke today and stopped by the newly opened Gander Mountain which has a big sign prohibiting loaded weapons EXCEPT for permit holders. I walked in and explained that I was a permit holder, but that I was open carrying today. The lady referred me to customer service who said that "for customer safety" I would have to conceal or unload.

    I left.

    Went back down the road to Sportsman's Warehouse where the policy expressly says "long guns must be unloaded and locked open, handguns must be unloaded IF THEY ARE TO BE UNHOLSTERED." I didn't plan to unholster, so I figured I was fine, but...again, walked in, went to customer service where I was told the exact same thing: "Conceal it or unload it." I actually was mad at this point and asked "why" in a less than pleased tone and got "for everyone's safety" in response.

    I flipped my shirt over my gun and asked how that was safer. The guy at customer service just laughed and shrugged.

    I left.

    Went to Valley View Mall where it's at least posted clearly that they don't want ANY guns.

    All and all frustrating day since both policies in front of both "shooting" stores
    clearly exempted me by way of either holding a permit or the fact that I didn't intend to unholster.

    I was looking for a specific pair of sunglasses, too. $200...oh well, it was cloudy, so there was no urgent need for shades today
    Dumb question:

    Why ask permission?

    Corporate America trains these idiots "how to say no" through countless policies & other corporate drivel.

    Just go "shopping" next time and see what happens.. If you are approached then it's noteworthly.



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    Why did I ask? I don't feel it's a dumb question and I have a friend who open carries (and lives his life in general) with that sort of idea (just do it...let them stop you). I reckon that's just not the kind of guy I am. I don't really like being told I'm doing something wrong, nor do I like doing something wrong. It's their store, they set the rules. I can just chose not the shop there as a response. I did find it funny though that the lady who "greets" you in Gander Mountain didn't know what to say when I pointed at my .45 and asked how that factored into their policy. She just led me to Customer Service.

    I considered just going in and shopping as normal, but trespassing doesn't sound like a good thing and the way their sign read, the policy was a bit unclear as to whether I was welcome...so I asked.

    [The above response isn't meant to sound like a smart arse, but the internet doesn't allow for conveying tone very well.]

    -Ryan

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    SaltH2OHokie wrote:
    Why did I ask? I don't feel it's a dumb question and I have a friend who open carries (and lives his life in general) with that sort of idea (just do it...let them stop you). I reckon that's just not the kind of guy I am. I don't really like being told I'm doing something wrong, nor do I like doing something wrong. It's their store, they set the rules. I can just chose not the shop there as a response. I did find it funny though that the lady who "greets" you in Gander Mountain didn't know what to say when I pointed at my .45 and asked how that factored into their policy. She just led me to Customer Service.

    I considered just going in and shopping as normal, but trespassing doesn't sound like a good thing and the way their sign read, the policy was a bit unclear as to whether I was welcome...so I asked.

    [The above response isn't meant to sound like a smart arse, but the internet doesn't allow for conveying tone very well.]

    -Ryan
    Ryan - don't take psmartin's comment personally. I think if he took a sec to expand on his initial comment, it would go something like this: "the majority of the people you may ask at these establishments will tell you it is "against store policy" regardless of whether it is or isn't.....sometimes they may be telling you the truth....sometimes they may be asserting their personal views into the "store policy". I am not a lawyer but in order to receive a trespassing charge in Virginiaat such establishment, you would have to be asked to leave and then refuse (which none of us would do when asked by an agent of the store). I'm sure they'll be a post after this one from LEO229 telling me I'm wrong but I've yet to see any caselaw proving this issue incorrect. Welcome to opencarry!

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    Thank you for the welcome. I'm new to the website and have been physically open carrying less than a year, so I'm new to both... This would be the first time I've been told to either remove the gun or remove myself.

    I recognize that nothing was meant by the question. I answered more than was asked. My direct answer to the question would be that their signs left it fuzzy in my mind whether I was in the clear to carry there or not, and I erred on the side of "feeling comfy that they want me here." Turns out they didn't.

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    I have witnessed people OC-ing at the GM in Fredericksburg. Their prices on new guns aren't any good, but have seen good deals on used ones there.

    I think the best thing to do is just not ask about their policy. When confronted about something unexpected, and forced to make a split second decision, people tend to give what they think is the safest answer. For most people, that would involve not allowing the carrying of a firearms, or, the strictest possible rules for carrying.

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    SaltH2OHokie wrote:
    Thank you for the welcome. I'm new to the website and have been physically open carrying less than a year, so I'm new to both... This would be the first time I've been told to either remove the gun or remove myself.

    I recognize that nothing was meant by the question. I answered more than was asked. My direct answer to the question would be that their signs left it fuzzy in my mind whether I was in the clear to carry there or not, and I erred on the side of "feeling comfy that they want me here." Turns out they didn't.
    I'll throw in a couple of things as usual, The "PERMIT" system is becoming dangerous in Va. It's being used more and more as a back door to permitted firearms ownership.

    I do not have a permit anymore. I got a permit in the 70's when they were almost impossible to get. There was no renewal, you had to reapply every year. You also had to list all the guns you owned and the serial numbers.

    In the mid eighty's, I decided I was not going to ask permission to do something I had a perfect right to do anyway. I haven't looked bak since. With the shall issue permits though, we see more companies saying "permit holders only" More laws that allow "Permit holders only" It's a sneaky way to have ALL gunowners registered.

    Places like Gander Mountain need to know that ALL CITIZENS have the right to carry. If not, their profits suffer.

    I also had other issues with Gander Mountain here, just like Proshooter. I received this email after a particularly nasty email I sent them.

    Good Afternoon –

    I was wondering if I could get your address – Rich Hiegel (the store manager) would like to send you a gift card and a letter apologizing for the service that you have received in past.

    Thanks

    Pam Davis
    >>>>>>>>>>>>&g t;>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>
    Thank you for your response Pam. While I have no problem with giving my address, a gift card would be a futile effort on your part and a shallow acceptance on my part. The problems in the store go beyond what I described and to be honest, I have a certain amount of down home loyalty to Green tops anda goodrelationship with Bass Pro, Throw in Midway, etc on the internet, and I see no reason to spend money with people who infuriate me. That's not to say that I don't get irate withGT and BPfrom time to time, but I have never said I won't set foot in the store again. I will say though, that the Gunsmith in the store is it's shining glory. Nice fellow, knowledgeable and helpful. Give him the pot bellied ex cop's job and the store may regain it's reputation. Again, Thank yoiu for responding

    [size=>>>>>>>>>>>& gt;>>>>>>>>>>>&gt ;>>>>>>>>>>>>& gt;>>>>>>>>>>>&gt ;>][/size]
    You need to let them know that you will support companies that support us and shun the ones that don't.




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    Don't worry, before I posted here the first thing I did was write an email to all three places that I visited today explaining why I wouldn't be back. The mall is already on the VCDL's unfriendly list and I wasn't planning on going there at all, but with the little lady and her friend I had my hands tied. I hope for responses with some clarification as to why I wasn't welcome, but I'm not holding my breath.


    If I don't see a timely response to the emails I'll have to lick a stamp and see where that gets me.

    Thing is, with big corporations like that, I don't see how I'm doing anything but just to ask them to change or clarify such policies...but I reckon no one ever accomplished anything by saying it couldn't be done.

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    I never ask permission to enter some place that is generally open to the public because I am carrying a sidearm. Bass Pro Shops in Hampton, for example, has some sign asking people to check their weapons at the customer service desk, chp holders exempted. I have a suspicion this sign is referencing those who are bringing weapons into the store for reasons other than personal defense, and by chp holders exempted they are referring to those who are carrying for self defense. If I was to walk to customer service though and ask, "Hi, I do not have a chp, but can I open carry?" I'd be willing to bet he'd say no, because the sign specifically says "chp holders...", even though I do not believe I am violating the spirit of their policy.

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    Too bad about Sportsman's Warehouse, ours has the same sign (unloaded if you plan to remove it from the holster) and I have OCed in there half a dozen times without incident. Maybe contact corporate?

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    I also avoid specifically asking about policy or asking permission. Anytime I have, I've gotten bad attitude or outright lies, or both. Unless an establishment is conspicuously posted with a gunbuster sign, my policy is " proceed until apprehended", since its always easier to ask forgiveness than permission. I think I've only once been told to leave a place for OC'ing, but that's partly because most people are so "lost in space" they don't even see that I am carrying. I'd probably have to wear a turban and carry an AK before most people would really notice.

    Maybe I'll try that next time....... :what:

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    Dutch Uncle wrote:
    I also avoid specifically asking about policy or asking permission. Anytime I have, I've gotten bad attitude or outright lies, or both. Unless an establishment is conspicuously posted with a gunbuster sign, my policy is " proceed until apprehended", since its always easier to ask forgiveness than permission. I think I've only once been told to leave a place for OC'ing, but that's partly because most people are so "lost in space" they don't even see that I am carrying. I'd probably have to wear a turban and carry an AK before most people would really notice.

    Maybe I'll try that next time....... :what:
    And you have to consider the misinformation of people who should know as well. Even STORE MANAGERS don't know the chain's policy on firearms - they think they are banned - we have seen it over and over.

    When the store manager doesn't know, how would a lowly kid making $7.50/hr.

    Even that being the case, how are the signs posted? Are the "no guns" signs hidden like malls hide theirs? Are they out in the open with a big red dash through the gun?

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    bayboy42 wrote:
    SaltH2OHokie wrote:
    Why did I ask? I don't feel it's a dumb question and I have a friend who open carries (and lives his life in general) with that sort of idea (just do it...let them stop you). I reckon that's just not the kind of guy I am. I don't really like being told I'm doing something wrong, nor do I like doing something wrong. It's their store, they set the rules. I can just chose not the shop there as a response. I did find it funny though that the lady who "greets" you in Gander Mountain didn't know what to say when I pointed at my .45 and asked how that factored into their policy. She just led me to Customer Service.

    I considered just going in and shopping as normal, but trespassing doesn't sound like a good thing and the way their sign read, the policy was a bit unclear as to whether I was welcome...so I asked.

    [The above response isn't meant to sound like a smart arse, but the internet doesn't allow for conveying tone very well.]

    -Ryan
    Ryan - don't take psmartin's comment personally. I think if he took a sec to expand on his initial comment, it would go something like this: "the majority of the people you may ask at these establishments will tell you it is "against store policy" regardless of whether it is or isn't.....sometimes they may be telling you the truth....sometimes they may be asserting their personal views into the "store policy". I am not a lawyer but in order to receive a trespassing charge in Virginiaat such establishment, you would have to be asked to leave and then refuse (which none of us would do when asked by an agent of the store). I'm sure they'll be a post after this one from LEO229 telling me I'm wrong but I've yet to see any caselaw proving this issue incorrect. Welcome to opencarry!
    Thanks for reading my mind and expanding on that for me.. (no, really, you said it better an I would have.. it was late last night!).

    I work in the backoffice of a retail establishment, and I know firsthand the level of "village idiots" that are at most customer service desks or front counters. The people willing for work for the wages and tolerate the abuse given by thepublic usually mean they are the least-informed/least-intelligent on the average.

    LEO229 might be "technically correct" in some way(ie: I am not a lawyer), but in practice, if we want to ban someone from the store (usually after shoplifting or being detained by the police for something related to conduct), we literally tell them to leave as they are now "trespassing" and that's usually the end of it.

    In the "real world" a clean-cut person with money-to-spend is NOT going to be asked to leave under threat of "trespass" unless the store manager is a complete idiot(ie: Walmart, and any of the "big-big-big" stores that don't understand that happy customers spend money, angry customers shop elsewhere)

    If you are asked to leave a store, be sure to ask for the persons name & title, they might back-down on the spot, or at least you'll have solid information for a formal complaint letter.

    The best thing we can do is promote open-carry with our wallets. Patronize businesses who don't make stupid policies, and politely complain to businesses with stupid policies.

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    VCDL's position is that as long as the store allows carry, either open only, concealed only, or either, they are not anti-gun.

    If I don't see a sign on the door, I never ask if I can carry. Never. Asking forces the store employee or manager to make a conscious decision to give you special permission, and the results of that mostly is 'no,' even if there isn't a policy against it (as was stated above).

    When carrying in enclosed malls or outdoor malls with their own security guards, I carry concealed always. Also at movie theaters. Everywhere else, I just carry how it suits me that day.

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    I've been to a few small gun stores that have signs that state that firearms must be unloaded before entering. Upon questioning the sign and expressing my consternation they have explained that they are referring to firearms being brought in for reasons other than self-defense. They don't want an AD/ND when checking out a scope or looking at holsters. As one put it, "If it ain't leavin' your holster it ain't a problem." FWIW, From other things I have read in forums about Gander Mtn, it seems that is their intent as well.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    SaltH2OHokie wrote:
    Went back down the road to Sportsman's Warehouse where the policy expressly says "long guns must be unloaded and locked open, handguns must be unloaded IF THEY ARE TO BE UNHOLSTERED."
    When stopped you could have stated that you read the policy and are in complete complience with it. Have a nice day - and move on.

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    Got an email response from Sportsman's Warehouse's manager explaining that he was sorry and he had some informing to do amongst his employees and that I was welcome to open carry. They only ask that you unload if you're trying on holsters or accesories...understandable.

    Works for me.

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    SaltH2OHokie wrote:
    Got an email response from Sportsman's Warehouse's manager explaining that he was sorry and he had some informing to do amongst his employees and that I was welcome to open carry. They only ask that you unload if you're trying on holsters or accesories...understandable.

    Works for me.
    OK, great, that is what SW's VP told me is their policy last year so looks like problem solved!

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    SaltH2OHokie wrote:
    Went back down the road to Sportsman's Warehouse where the policy expressly says "long guns must be unloaded and locked open, handguns must be unloaded IF THEY ARE TO BE UNHOLSTERED."
    I guess that means that if you need to use your handgun to defend yourself while you're in SW, you have to unload it before you draw. Not sure how you'd actually do that
    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington

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    And here's a quick response from Sportsmen's Warehouse's VP Matt French to me today within minutes of becoming aware of the alleged problem:

    --

    Good Evening Mike:

    I hope all is well with you. I have a message into our store manager right now on this matter. As you recall our policy is as you note below – “Open Carry” is okay by Sportsman's Warehouse provided it is legal in the jurisdiction. If a customer wants to try out a holster we ask that they not use their loaded sidearm; of course we are happy to let them try the holster with one of our display handguns. We will generally have a close match…

    . . .

    You may post my reply if needed to “smooth” this issue…

    Cheers.

    Matt French

    Vice President Hunting Operations

    Sportsman's Warehouse



    Life Member NRA

    Member NSSF and NAFR

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    I'm actually very impressed with Sportsman's Warehouse's response. The manager replied to email promptly, cordially and with the response I was hoping for.

    Gander Mountain hasn't responded. That being said, I couldn't find a direct email to the Gander Mountain manager, but I did for Sportsman's Warehouse.


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