Is It Ever Okay For A Gun Store Or Range Owner To Refuse Business?

Range etiquette

There is currently a literal ton of stress in the country right now. A lot of it stems from the “gun-control” debate. There are three sides to this story. One side states that the laws of this country were written to allow the citizens of America the ability of self-defense with a firearm. On the other side of the coin are those who believe that guns aren't needed, therefore nobody should have one.
And yet, there are people somewhere in the middle claiming that while they don't feel as though they need a firearm for self-defense, each person has the right to decide for themselves.
With the wedge ever growing wider between us, it's a common sight and sound to hear of someone in the gun industry, at a gun-store or range, to refuse business to people they don't know.
In fact, that happened to one of my personal friends, just today—which is why we're going to talk about it, right now.
Navigating that minefield is tricky, and each business needs to tread lightly in this area. Personally speaking, I'm all for refusing business to whomever you want. After all, if you put your own blood, sweat, and tears into it, you should have the right to choose who you serve.

In fact, the gun industry is one of the only places where it's the government is okay with your refusal of service. However, I want to point out here that you won't have the right to tell someone of another race that they cannot use your facility or buy a gun based on that reason alone. But if you believe that they will commit a crime—like a straw purchase—you have every right to refuse.
In fact, if you don't refuse them, it could come back to bite you in the rear-end later on.
The same goes true for someone you feel may be a safety concern on your range. For example, there is a local (Pennsylvania) pay by the hour range where two people have committed suicide since they've opened only a handful of years ago.

That's asinine…and preventable. But, you need to do it the right way. Here are a few ideas I've had:
1) Start a conversation with the people who want your services. You can tell a lot about someone just by talking to them. If they start to give off bad vibes, they're in a hurry to “just buy a gun” from you, or their lingo isn't jiving, it's an indicator that you need to do more digging. It could also be an indicator that someone needs more training, however. If that's the case, you need to be prepared to at least give a rundown on guns and the basic safety rules, and point them toward a qualified instructor.
2) Some states require mandatory training in order to get their carry permit. If you're in one of those states, ask them if they've gone through the training yet. If so, ask about certain parts of it. If they don't know any answers, they were either sleeping or aren't telling you the truth. It isn't necessarily a bad thing if they haven't gone through it because they may be testing the waters so to speak. If this is the case, do more digging.
3) You could make it your policy to see two forms of ID—if legal in your area—when someone wants to become a member of your range. Some gun ranges have formal classes you have to take to make sure you aren't nuts. Others force you to have a sponsor who's already a member. But, if you could ask for their driver's license and their carry permit or firearm owner identification card, it's a good indicator that you're dealing with with someone legit. You can't do this for when someone is buying a gun from you unless local laws say its okay.
4) If you smell a fake, don't be nasty about it. My friend told me that the guy who refused his biz today was extremely rude without ever getting to know who he was. You can cite safety reasons as a concern not to serve someone at a range. Until they learn their way around a gun, they can't shoot there. Apologies, and move on.

Sound Off Gun Carriers! How does your range handle new people. Do they require something extra? Or, do they let whoever wants to shoot, come in? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if I'm way off base here, let me know. I don't claim to know everything, nor do I own a gun shop or range.

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