Friday, March 30, 2007

How to get Malls to Allow CCW

Elyria's Midway Mall Removes "No Guns" Signs
Written by Rich Hardway
Thursday, 22 March 2007

I have been asked to write an account about my experience in changing management’s opinion and policy on posting “No Guns” signs on the doors at Elyria's Midway Mall in Elyria, OH so others might learn from the way I handled the situation.

I was asked by Daniel White, OFCC Director-At-Large, to verify that the Midway Mall had indeed posted signs on the doors as reported by a member in the forums on the OFCC web site. He asked me if I would be willing to talk to someone about their policy if the doors were in fact posted.

I accepted his request on behalf of the members of OFCC and went to the mall that evening after work. I walked the perimeter of the mall to look at each door and indeed all but one was posted. I then went to the office of the mall but found it to be closed because it was after 5:00 PM.

I then decided this was a good thing because it gave me a chance to prepare what I wanted to say to the mall managers. I then went to the information booth where they rent the strollers and wheel chairs to ask who I might be able to talk to about the signs or someone in public relations. The lady handed me a business card for the assistant manager of the mall.

That night at home I developed my plan of action with the power points that I wished to cover in a meeting with him the next morning

The next morning bright and early I went to the mall wearing an OFCC shirt and a large smile on my face. I asked to speak with the gentleman on the card I received the night before. When he came to the counter, I introduced myself and asked him if we could sit down and discuss the mall’s new policy prohibiting legal concealed handguns.

We began our conversation on what OFCC is and represents. Then we began talking about the mall’s reasons for changing their policy and posting of the property. Within a few minutes, he stopped me and said that he wanted to bring in a couple other management members. After a brief introduction to the general manager, Mark, I began all over again. I asked them why they suddenly changed their policy. Mark said that they wanted to create a safer environment for their customers’ shopping experience. I asked them if they truly feel that they had achieved this goal by refusing to allow law-abiding citizens in the mall that had properly and legally obtained a permit from the state of Ohio to carry a concealed handgun. I went on to say that I don’t feel they did. They made a reference to the recent shooting in a Utah mall and that they did not want a similar action in their mall. I fully agreed with them that I also never want to hear or see such a thing in any mall.

I then countered with the facts. The facts are that a deranged teenager went to that mall with a premeditated plan to illegally assault and kill as many victims as he possibly could. If it was not for the fact that an off-duty police officer was dining in that mall at the time, many more innocent people would have become victims at the killer’s hands. The truth is that due to the off duty police officer’s ability to carry a concealed handgun, he was able to cut the rampage short until police arrived and put an end to the carnage. This man saved innocent lives.

I then asked them if they really think that any sign posted at the door of the Utah mall would have stopped the teen from entering that mall on that day with the small arsenal that he had to support his plan of terror. In fact, that mall did have a “No Weapons” policy. John Lott reported on his website and linked to a picture of the actual sign on the doors. You can view the sign by clicking here.

I asked both managers if they had ever read the concealed carry law, as I handed them a copy of it. Then I made the following statement: “People that have a license to carry a concealed firearm issued by the state of Ohio have obtained that license after successfully attending the mandatory class, been fingerprinted by their local Sheriff, and passed a complete background check that the Sheriff has performed.”

When someone has a license you know that that person is someone that has a clean background and has never been convicted of a serious crime. You can not say that about anyone who comes into your mall that has not received a license just off the fact they don’t have a license

Then I told them that people that have a license would do one of two things when they see the sign on the door. They will either return to their car and remove their sidearm, locking it in the trunk before returning to shop or they will do their shopping at a retailer that respects and supports their Second Amendment rights under the law.

Let’s look at Wal-Mart for a moment. I think we can all agree that Wal-Mart is one of the largest retails in the world and they understand the thinking here. They removed their signs and changed their policy to a pro-choice stance and with that they let the American people decide if they want to carry a concealed handgun or not with their license.

Although law-abiding people will honor your request to not bring a weapon into your mall, criminals will ignore your signs and do as they please. Which customers would you prefer do their shopping here?

The Manager was agreeing with what I was saying and he said that the mall would remove the signs and make changes to their policy as well.

Three hours later I received the following e-mail from him.

Mr. Hardway:

Thank you for coming in to see me today and addressing your concerns. After talking with you and considering the facts that you have voiced we have reconsidered our position and have elected to remove the signs prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons. They have all been removed today.

Our intention for posting the signage was an attempt to create a safer environment for our shoppers. However, your points are well taken and thus we have removed the signage.

We hope you and the other members of the O.F.C.C. will continue to consider the Midway Mall a safe place to shop in the future that does value and respect your rights under Federal and State laws. We recognize the fact as pointed out by you that people whom have been issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon are law bidding citizens and that’s the type of shoppers we want in our stores.

Thanks again.

Mark J. Bressler
General Manager
Midway Mall

As OFCC members, we can all make a difference with a polite and understanding voice. The use of diplomacy with education and the truth must be our weapons of choice. The facts are a powerful thing when delivered with respect.

Mr. Hardway is a proud OFCC member that shows what one dedicated individual can achieve. This is his first article for our website.