Skip to comments.Minnesota CCW: Gun signs: eyesores, windfalls
Posted on 06/06/2003 2:03:14 PM PDT by jdege
BY CASEY SELIX
They're big, bold and some complain downright ugly, but they're bringing in a few bucks for local sign makers in a tepid economy.
Minnesota's new conceal-and-carry gun law requires businesses and other establishments to post signs at all entrances if they don't want gun-toting people roaming the halls.
But not just any old sign will do. The law says the sign must be at least 187 square inches in area, the black typeface must be Arial (which looks like this: Arial) and 1½ inches in height, and the background must be a bright, contrasting color. The sign must say: "(Name of establishment) bans guns in these premises."
Area sign makers say they're dealing with hundreds of inquiries and producing some sizable orders since the posting requirement went into effect late last month. Though the new commerce is a welcome bonus in a slow economy, sign makers don't expect a long-term bonanza.
"It's certainly been pennies from heaven for us, but it isn't going to fund my retirement," said Tom Trutna, owner of SigntificGraphics in Eagan.
Depending on the quality of the sign material and the quantity ordered, prices can range from $6 to nearly $50 apiece, according to the sign makers interviewed for this story. Typical profits on signs are double or more the makers' costs, said one sign maker.
Trutna recently sent out a "blast fax" to 400 members of the Northern Dakota County Chamber of Commerce to advise that his firm could quickly produce customized signs. Signtific's first order came from Northwest Airlines, he said.
A couple of pesky issues keep surfacing in customer inquiries, Trutna and others said.
"Frankly, when these signs are laid out to the letter of the law, they're ugly and alarming," Trutna said. "I've got people saying, 'Geez, I want to post something, but I don't want it to be big, gaudy and fear-inducing.' "
David Goldstein, a partner at the Faegre & Benson law firm who has conducted seminars on the conceal-and-carry law, said businesses are understandably concerned about the aesthetics.
"That's been a big complaint, and it's not a trivial complaint," Goldstein said. "A lot of businesses spend a lot of money to create an atmosphere. They pay to have fancy signs. They pay image and branding consultants. So, they're upset about having to stick something like this in the middle of a carefully crafted lobby or customer space that is dictated to them by the Legislature."
Trutna said the ugliness issue and the fear factor could be keeping some businesses from posting the signs.
Others aren't taking any chances.
The Woodbury Operations Center of State Farm Insuranceordered 40 signs to post at the center and at its claims and field agency offices throughout the state, said spokeswoman Anne Obst.
"We've always had this (weapons ban) policy at State Farm, but we posted the signs to be in compliance with the new state law," Obst said.
State Farm's order delivered a nice boost to the Sign-A-Rama franchise in Maplewood, said owner Bob Siegel. In the past two weeks, his small company has taken 200 orders for conceal-and-carry signs from customers ranging from a Laundromat to State Farm.
"It's gravy-type work," Siegel said. "It's not going to put you over the top, but any time you pick up a couple extra thousand in a month, that's nice."
Davin Brandt, general manager of Budget Sign-Graphics in St. Paul, started alerting customers last month that the company had developed a couple of black-on-white formats.
The business, on Territorial Road near Highway 280, also just erected this week an eye-catching banner declaring that conceal-and-carry signs are available there. The small firm has fielded 200 inquiries and landed several orders.
The bulk of Budget's orders so far are for aluminum signs that can be affixed to building exteriors, Brandt said. He strongly advises customers to stick with the basic black-on-white format and message.
Some customers like to soften the tone of the sign, he said. One recently added a mannerly message below its ban: "Thank you for respecting our wishes. It's the law."
Attorney Goldstein said he doesn't expect any "sign police" to go after businesses that use a wrong typeface, color or size for the conceal-and-carry bans. Even so, the sign subject could come up in a trespass case, he said.
"The only person likely to raise that issue is someone who is an activist in favor of the law who is looking to broaden or establish their rights," he said.
For more information on complying with the conceal-and-carry law, go to www.faegre.com/articles/article_960.asp.
'Geez, I want to post something, but I don't want it to be big, gaudy and fear-inducing.'
If being able to see the sign is all that's going to stand between my being a law-abiding citizen and a criminal, it's damned-well going to be something I can't miss.
If an establishment doesn't want you packing on THEIR premises, they should be able to tell you any way they wish.
Of course. However, if they wish to use the force of government to enforce their wishes, they need to inform you in a way that a reasonable person can understand. It would be unreasonable for them to post a sign in size 10 type 1"x2" down at the lower left corner of the door, and then be able to sue you for defending yourself on their property, because they had forbidden the carrying of guns there.
The sign is just claifying what would certainly become an issue in law after the fact.
What is so stupid about this is that all of these places could be visited by people legally carrying guns before this law, and no one raised a fuss.
Because they claim to be worried about guns in their establishment, why aren't they lobbying the government to prevent police officers with guns from being there?
If someone doesn't want law abiding citizens exercising their Rights (in a discrete manner) in their PUBLIC establishment, they should either close their business, or lock the doors and only do business over the internet.
The signs that businesses post banning guns are no more moral than those signs banning blacks 40 years ago.
Wouldn't it be funny if CCW holders went into these businesses, and filled their cart with thousands of dollars of products, only to tell the business "no deal" once they realized the store was anti-gun?
But if they open up their doors and let anyone walk in, they have to expect anyone to walk in. If they mean anyone but permit holders, they have an obligation to tell them.
The hysteria among the people that lean toward political brainlessness has been truly breathtaking. I think the new law has caused most of the editorial staff at the Minneapolis Star and Tribune to swoon.
The law has been in effect for about eight days now, and I haven't seen a single stiff that we can attribute to its passage. For that matter I haven't seen a single stiff at all in the last eight days.
Seriously, I wonder how many days need to pass before a few of these fruit loops state that their fears might have just been a tiny bit overblown.
Read my original post...I said: "If an establishment doesn't want you packing on THEIR premises, they should be able to tell you any way they wish. "
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