The First Rule of Gun Store Safety

If you’re reading this article, you most likely know, or at least have heard, the four rules of firearm safety. Treat every gun as if it’s loaded. Never point a gun at something you don’t want to destroy. Always identify your target and what’s behind it. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire. We would all do well to commit those to memory. However, there’s another rule that most people don’t know about until they work in a gun store or at a gun range. It’s about gun store safety, or how to act in a gun store.

What Do We Sell In Gun Stores?

It’s not a trick question. On the shelves, we sell guns, ammo, training, and accessories. Most of the accessories and all the training revolve around one thing: safety. In our minds, we sell safety, defense, and protection. The first of those is safety. Safety first. If it’s not safe, it’s not fun.

We have to be keenly aware at all times about safety, safety, safety. If something goes wrong in a place where there are lots of guns, and literally bullets flying, nothing good will come of it. We like our business, and we’d like to stay in business, so we make darn sure we focus on gun store safety first.

How Do We Sell?

Generally, any gun store sells guns by having good inventory, reasonable prices, and knowledgeable staff. We add another ingredient, and that is simply to be nice. Our core values are Clean, Family Friendly, and Knowledgeable. Being nice comes under “Family Friendly” for the most part. We’ve found that just being nice and having a conversation with every customer works.

Another tool of most, if not all gun stores, is putting the guns in the customer’s hands, and letting them feel the product. It’s a big deal, and most shooters will tell you that one of the biggest reasons they bought the guns they’ve bought is how the guns feel in their hands. So, we purposely and expressly put guns in people’s hands.

We also sell by being knowledgeable about gun safety, mainly those four rules I just mentioned, as well as gun STORE safety.

The First Rule of Gun STORE Safety

Yes, there’s another rule to know. Most customers abide by it without even knowing it. Most new gun owners are still a little intimidated or scared or otherwise cautious, so they do this without thinking about it or – more importantly – without knowing why. Here’s the first rule of gun STORE safety:

Never draw / unholster your weapon in the store.
Gun Store Safety

That rule applies to our patrons and our employees. As an employee of SharpShooters, who has earned the privilege of carrying in store, if you ever unholster your weapon without cause, you are fired on the spot. “Cause” is an imminent threat to life in the store. That’s the only cause.

For customers and patrons, we have several signs in our parking lot that read, “All firearms must be unloaded and cased prior to entry.” To most visitors, that’s abundantly clear. “Unloaded” means just that, unloaded: no mag and no round in the chamber. “Cased” means “in a case”, meaning a gun case.

Now, believe it or not, here’s where this rule of gun store safety actually gets murky.

Georgia Law on “Case” and “Unloaded”

Concerning the carrying of a firearm, Georgia code O.C.G.A. 16-11-126 (2010) reads as follows.

(c) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry any handgun provided that it is enclosed in a case and unloaded.

Clear, right? Not so fast. Define “case.” Now define “unloaded.” If you used the word “holster” for a definition of case, you could be correct, at least in the eyes of Georgia law as interpreted and currently enforced. And, if you said “none in the chamber” for “unloaded”, you could also be correct.

When we put those together, we get “holstered and no round in the chamber.” It’s a common concealed carry question: “Do you prefer to carry with a round chambered or not?” Everyone has their preference; however, Georgia law does not address that specific issue. Therefore, if you’re carrying with no round chambered, you’re legally carrying concealed in Georgia. Furthermore, if your “case” is your holster, you are also legally carrying concealed in Georgia.

I’ll add here that this Georgia statute is not about carrying “concealed” at all. It’s about carrying a weapon, period.

So Why Can’t You Unholster a Gun in the Store?

That’s the question that comes up frequently when people either (a) don’t read the signs in the parking lot or (b) don’t quite understand the nuances of gun store safety. Here’s the answer as simply as I can put it.

We don’t know you or your intentions, so if you pull your gun, we have to assume your intentions are bad.

That’s the bad reason. “Bad”, meaning if you are bad and want to do bad things, then it’ll be bad, for lots of reasons for lots of people.

The other important reason is something that most people just think, “Aw, man, that’ll never happen to me.” For entertainment purposes, follow @gun on Instagram. There are other sources, but Gun will show you a lot of very simple videos about gun related accidents like this one, this one, this one, or this one. None of these resulted in harm to any person, but all of them could very easily have turned out really, really bad.

The point is, accidents happen, whether you’re a dope smoking idiot, or the most careful marksman in the world. Accidents can happen to anyone at any time. When a firearm is in a case – even a holster! – and completely unloaded, no mags or rounds in the chamber, accidents are far, far less likely. And, when your gun is in its case and unloaded, we can be more comfortable with your intentions.

How to Bring a Gun into a Gun Store

We’re not trying to trick you up here. We’re trying to make it simple. We want you to come into the store. Here’s how.

Make sure your gun is unloaded and put it in a gun case. And since WE brought it up, when we say “unloaded”, we mean no magazines and no round in the chamber. And, when we say “case”, we mean a gun case. And, yes, that can mean a proper holster.

What it does NOT mean is for you to take the gun OUT of the holster. If there’s a reason for your gun to come out of the case or holster in the store, we will do that for you.

Because we like our business and we want to stay in business, and we want you to come back and shoot at our range and shop at our store several times a week and whenever it rains or is too unbearably hot to go outside. Either one suits us just fine. ūüôā

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