|Photo by Bill Boylan, 2013 Rally at the Capital|
Newtown Action Alliance Urges All Newtown Business Owners to Ban Guns in their Establishments
Open Letter to All Business Owners in Newtown
Newtown, CT- On January 6th, a customer shopping at Caraluzzi’s in Bethel was concerned upon seeing another customer openly carrying a handgun. After this incident, some Newtown residents called for a boycott until Caraluzzi’s bans firearms in its stores. Last week, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Representative Elizabeth Esty called on the Connecticut Food Association to ban open carry of guns in retail stores.
There are no federal laws restricting open carry of firearms and, with the gun lobby’s influence, more than 40 states now allow open carry. In Connecticut, there are no state statutes that prohibit open carry of handguns for someone with a valid pistol permit, and no permit is required to openly carry a long gun. The law, with few exceptions (such as police officers on duty), prohibits carrying firearms on school or General Assembly property, loaded handguns in vehicles, and handguns where barred by law or a property owner. Supermarkets, food retailers, restaurants and other private establishments in Connecticut have the legal authority to ban firearms from their premises.
Last year, when Texas approved its controversial open carry law to allow handgun license holders to carry their handguns openly, numerous private business owners including H.E.B. (the largest private company in the state of Texas) and Trader Joe’s stood up and banned open carry in their stores.
Many U.S. companies have created policies to ban all guns in their establishments nationwide. These include Safeway, Chuck-E-Cheese, Ikea, Sonic, Whole Foods, Costco, Buffalo Wildwings, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, California Pizza Kitchen, AMC Theaters, Disney World, and Toys-R-Us.
Contrary to the rhetoric from the gun lobby, more guns do not create a safer society. A 2014 Stanford research study reaffirmed that right-to-carry laws are linked to an increase in violent crimes. Research demonstrates that states with higher gun ownership have higher rates of gun deaths. Americans are 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by a gun than those from other developed nations. Nearly 100,000 Americans have died from guns and guns have injured nearly 250,000 more since Newtown. Gun violence is a public health and safety issue.
After the Sandy Hook tragedy, the gun violence prevention movement is stronger than ever. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 125 gun safety laws have been passed in 41 states since that time. We now have comprehensive background check laws in 18 states. While we fight for more legislative changes, a broad coalition of advocates, responsible gun owners, civic organizations, faith groups, celebrities and corporations must work together to change the gun culture to end gun violence.
The Newtown community in particular requires increased sensitivity, love, and compassion from local business owners, as there are many in our community who continue to suffer from PTSD. We strongly recommend that all business owners in Newtown join our movement to create a safer and less intimidating environment for our children and families by banning all guns in their establishments.
CCDL president Scott Wilson responds:
“The press release from the Newtown Action Alliance (Feb 3rd) in which they request ‘all business owners’ in Newtown ban the lawful carry of firearms into their establishments is a flat-out wrong course of action. This is an insane request for a couple of reasons. The first of which is that anyone who is carrying a firearm legally has been background checked on multiple levels and should be entitled to be able to protect themselves. The second reason should be a reminder to the people in Newtown that if there were armed people in Sandy Hook at the time of the massacre, it may have been stopped in its tracks, or might have never happened at all. To have the mindset that people should not ever be armed is utter madness and insanity. It’s an open invitation for slaughter”.
“I really hope that business owners and the like understand that police cannot be everywhere, and that most mass murders happen in places where guns are banned outright. The Newtown Action Alliance is deliberately trying to put innocent people in real danger. They need to understand that applications for pistol permits in Newtown increased after what happened in Sandy Hook. People want to have the ability to protect themselves and not have to cower in fear and left pleading for their lives to a madman”.
In addition to Scott’s comments, let me add this. One of President Obama’s Executive Orders following Sandy Hook was to give the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) $10 million to study gun violence. When the study came out, it received little media attention, and was virtually ignored by groups like Newtown Action Alliance. Perhaps because the study President Obama commissioned found that:
- Armed citizens are less likely to be injured by an attacker
- Defensive uses of guns are common
- Mass shootings and accidental firearm deaths account for a small fraction of gun-related deaths, and both are declining
- “Interventions” (i.e, gun control) such as background checks, so-called assault rifle bans and gun-free zones produce “mixed” results
- Gun buyback/turn-in programs are “ineffective” in reducing crime
- Stolen guns and retail/gun show purchases account for very little crime
- The vast majority of gun-related deaths are not homicides, but suicides
I will also point out that a recent Pew Research study shows that homicide rates have decreased 50% in the last 20 years, while firearm ownership is at historic highs. The study also found New Hampshire one of the “safest places on the planet”. NH has minimal gun-control laws. No permit is needed to purchase a gun. As a matter of fact, no permit is required to openly carry a firearm in public. A (easily obtained for $10) permit is only needed to conceal a firearm. Many other states with what NAA considers lax and inadequate gun control laws like Vermont and Maine are almost equally safe. But people like NAA will continue to peddle fear and emotions; because when the facts are not on your side, what else is there to do?
One last thing for the business owners of Newtown and elsewhere. While nobody intent on committing a crime or causing harm is going to see a “No Guns Allowed” sign on the door and go elsewhere, your law-abiding customers will.
We’ve made the decision to protect ourselves and our loved ones. We won’t NOT carry a gun the day we shop in your store; we will simply not shop in your store. We have expended considerable time, effort and money to be able to legally carry a firearm; we won’t give that up because your store is a mile closer or a few cents cheaper.