It was a sign on a popular campus hangout that brought the owner such blowback from gun lovers, he was forced to change his phone number and have police open his mail. Gun lovers also attacked his restaurant on Yelp and ruined his ratings.
It is a phenomenon familiar to many reporters, bloggers and activists who criticize the “guns-everywhere-all-the-time” agenda. Single-issue gun bullies pile on with Internet attacks on gun critics’ careers and personal lives, even publishing their home addresses in some cases. At NGVAC, both a board member and a senior editor have been attacked by such “law-abiding” gun owners, provoking bans from the major social media organizations but not before the damage was done.
Gun advocates’ wrath, spite and retaliation is instructive for two reasons. First, it is how politicians are coerced into co-signing the gun agenda–they never hear from gun critics with as much emotion, implied reprisals and numbers. Secondly, it is the biggest reason for gun regulation. Gun advocates are the first and last to get violent and get even with those who make them angry. They are the reason road rage incidents result in deaths not dented fenders. They are the reason for the recent Skittles, Popcorn and Loud Music murders. Who can forget gun advocates lying in wait for unarmed anti-gun violence mothers outside of a Texas mall, locked and loaded? What? Should people with hair trigger tempers really be armed?
Illinois’ recent legalization of Concealed Carry presents the same dilemma to business owners as the pub owner who posted “If you are such a loser that you feel a need to carry a gun with you when you go out, I do not want your business” faces. The majority of the public does not want to be in the same room with a “carrier” who may get angry, drunk, mistake someone’s identity, have a accident or decide he is “protecting” us from bad guys like Zimmerman and Dunn. Such carriers chase away the customers the business wants. (That’s why Starbucks “unwelcomed” carriers.)
While gun advocates have a loud bark, an attempt by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to aggregate their buying power and teach ConocoPhillips a lesson for gun regulations by boycotting them proved an embarrassing flop. There are only an estimated one million gun extremists in the US–not enough to hurt ConocoPhillips much less make a restaurant crave their business.
Many Illinois businesses don’t want carriers in their stores and restaurants but also do not want to post signs banning them as the law now requires. Thanks to the NRA and the Illinois State Rifle Association, guns are now welcome in any building (with a few categories of exceptions) that does not post a guns banned sign. But businesses have not spent huge amounts of money beautifying their exteriors only to have an ugly gun decal on their door! Moreover, the very image of a gun causes mental reactions in people, studies have now shown–none of which are good. The sign could also suggest to potential customers, especially tourists, that they are not as safe as they thought if there are so many guns they need to be banned by a sign. Finally, businesses don’t want to invoke the wrath of the gun lunatics who forced the pub owner, mentioned above, to change his phone number.
To those of us who have lost loved ones to gun violence or do not want ourselves and our children to be around guns and gun carriers, the new sign law is as backwards as having a specially marked lane on the highway for sober drivers with all other drivers presumed to be drunk. While screaming they are “victims,” gun lovers have bullied through such extreme laws, a person without a lethal weapon is now considered an exception!
Not all gun owners agree with the “carry everywhere” mentality. Even though chef Sean Brock says he sleeps beside a 9-millimeter handgun every night, he also doesn’t want guns in his restaurants. “It’s a bit strange to me that you think you need to carry a gun when you’re having a cheeseburger,” he says.
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