(UNDATED) - The owner of a gun store wants to let people know which stores don't want you to carry guns into their establishments, even if you can do so legally.
"This is basically just to educate people who are gun enthusiasts to let them know which establishments have said 'we don't want you in here," said Steve Ellis, CEO of Top Guns in Terre Haute.
Ellis started a Facebook page entitled 'No Guns = No Money' on August 22. It allows people to post information on businesses that bar people from carrying guns in their stores, even if they are licensed to do so.
Ellis got the idea after watching gun control groups such as Moms Demand Action - which was started by Shannon Watts of Zionsville - hold campaigns to get large businesses to ban people from openly carrying guns in their stores. Target and Starbucks were two of the businesses singled out by the group, and it is currently pressing Kroger to ban open carry at all its grocery stores.
Ellis believes that if you support the 2nd Amendment, you shouldn't be shopping in stores that don't want your guns, though they may be legal.
"By doing that, what you are saying is that you are okay with that policy," Ellis said.
The Facebook page already has around 3,100 likes and currently lists more than 40 businesses that have some sort of gun ban, though as a small business owner himself, Ellis says he is not trying to tell others how to run their businesses.
"It's their store - they should have the right to run it as they see fit. But at the same time, when we see these (no guns allowed) signs up, I think some of these establishments don't realize is that they are putting up a policy that only impacts those that are willing to follow that policy," Ellis said. "People who are willing to follow the rules cannot have a firearm to defend themselves, their loved ones or maybe even a stranger. But those who are out to do ill will to begin with, obviously, this rule is not going to apply to them."
Ellis does not advocate openly carrying guns in public if you are licensed to do so. He thinks that makes the carrier a target, be it for gun control advocates or for someone trying to pull off a crime in a public place. He also doesn't believe people who support his campaign should be confrontational with stores who bar guns.
"I don't want the firearms community to say 'well, I'm going to go into the store anyway. I want them to say 'we're going to oblige you. We're not going to give you the money that we've worked hard for. We are not going to support your line of thinking."
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