Guns in businesses?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — After pictures of mothers with assault rifles walking through the aisles surfaced online, Target came under fire for allowing people to bring weapons into stores. Now, after a month of controversy, the retail giant’s CEO has announced the store is asking people to leave their weapons in their cars.

In a statement today, he said target wants a safe and inviting environment for its shoppers and employees. That the store does not sell firearms or ammunition and the company will abide by all local gun laws.

Here in Alabama, we have an open conceal law, meaning you don’t need a permit to carry a gun in public. However, business and property owners do still have some ways of keeping you from carrying weapons into their home or place of business.

For example the Jefferson County Courthouse. For anyone who’s ever renewed their tags, they’ve come across a sign that says knives, guns and weapons prohibited. So just like in the Target situation, if you want to go inside you have to leave your weapon in your car or at home. But when WIAT 42 News checked around town we were surprised as to where you can bring your gun. You might be too.

What do Fresh Market, DSW Shoes, a coffee shop and this strip of bars are have in common? All of these different types of businesses allow guns to be openly carried inside.

“That doesn’t make me feel good at all,” says shopper Briana Burgess. “I’m completely against that. I don’t think that should be legal whatsoever.”

But it is. And after the passing of Senate Bill 286 last year, it gave gun owners even more rights for open carry.

“I think it’s a little bit crazy to be walking around carrying weapons provocatively,” says a gun owner named Jason. “I think it’s no big deal otherwise. I mean I’m all for rights, but at the same time, I think it should be limited.”

But its really not.

Literally if it doesn’t say somewhere on the business firearms prohibited, you can bring in a weapon and you don’t even have to hide it. Some people who spoke with WIAT 42 News said that doesn’t make them feel very safe.

“There’s no way I would feel safer knowing people could carry guns in the store,” says Briana. “I mean that doesn’t even make any sense to me.”

But it makes sense to some, many in fact, who feel safer knowing they are carrying a gun. On the flip side, some say there should be more accountability on just who can own a gun as well as education to prevent the type of flashy behavior seen at Target stores in Texas.

“I don’t think people should be walking around carrying weapons just to show they have a weapon,” says Jason. “But it doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to carry it. It doesn’t have to be a provocative action. It doesn’t have to be in Starbucks.”

When doing a quick search of businesses around Birmingham, very few non-government buildings had a no-firearms sign posted. One that did was the Waffle House in Five Points.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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