"No firearms" signs on private property in WA.

This is a discussion on "No firearms" signs on private property in WA. within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a question that has probably already been covered before, but I can't find it anywhere. Some businesses where I live in Washington State ...

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Thread: "No firearms" signs on private property in WA.

  1. #1
    New Member Array wildfire adn's Avatar
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    "No firearms" signs on private property in WA.

    I have a question that has probably already been covered before, but I can't find it anywhere. Some businesses where I live in Washington State have signs posted on the doors into the building that state you can't have firearms on the property, and/or show a picture of a pistol with a cross through it. I can't find a firearms law that says you can not bring a concealed pistol onto private property, and I am almost positive there isn't one. What I am wondering is if you could be arrested for tresspass just for entering a building with one of these signs posted. Up until today I had thought that the business owner or an employee had to ask you to leave before the police would do anything. Today though, after a discussion with some family members who also carry concealed, I am wondering if just entering a building with a sign posted, knowing that the owners don't want you to have a firearm would be a crime. Any information and sources where that information was found would be helpful.
    Also, the Criminal trespass law I found for WA states "A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building." and "A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises of another under circumstances not constituting criminal trespass in the first degree." So I guess part of the question is what "unlawfully entering" means and if that applies to "no firearms" signs.

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  3. #2
    Member Array Steve201's Avatar
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    you might wanna call your local police with this one or the city attorney's office and ask them..personally if I have a concieled weapon and nobody can see it..then who is gonna know...but if they do discover it..I'll walk out of the building...they have every right to post a sign stating no firearms...then don't let them know or put your gun up before entering...

    Steve

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    Member Array hdawson's Avatar
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    Cool

    I respect property owners rights just like I hope people respect mine. Please don't give the anti-gun crowd more reasons to attempt to restrict our rights to carry.

    It IS their property.

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    Member Array RugerSP101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildfire adn View Post
    I have a question that has probably already been covered before, but I can't find it anywhere. Some businesses where I live in Washington State have signs posted on the doors into the building that state you can't have firearms on the property, and/or show a picture of a pistol with a cross through it. I can't find a firearms law that says you can not bring a concealed pistol onto private property, and I am almost positive there isn't one. What I am wondering is if you could be arrested for tresspass just for entering a building with one of these signs posted. Up until today I had thought that the business owner or an employee had to ask you to leave before the police would do anything. Today though, after a discussion with some family members who also carry concealed, I am wondering if just entering a building with a sign posted, knowing that the owners don't want you to have a firearm would be a crime. Any information and sources where that information was found would be helpful.
    Also, the Criminal trespass law I found for WA states "A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building." and "A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises of another under circumstances not constituting criminal trespass in the first degree." So I guess part of the question is what "unlawfully entering" means and if that applies to "no firearms" signs.
    If its posted then dont take a gun in.
    Why go out of your way to provoke a problem ?

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    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    If I enter your place of business with my sidearm it will remain in its holster on my hip unless needed. My mere possession of a firearm does not infringe on your right to life or liberty, I t will not affect your ability to make money that day, and It will not drive your customers away (I never advocated the open display of a firearm in a Criminal Protection Zone).

    The rule (and any such like it) is illogical because the criminals aren’t going to follow it anyway. As such i am under no obligation to follow it

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Our Atty General's opinion has been made clear, although the person may not have the legally required sign up (which can be a criminal charge here), but if they have any sign... it's clear they do not want guns there and you can be hit with a trespassing charge.

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    Also, the Criminal trespass law I found for WA states "A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building."
    That law is pretty vague, but...

    There is no law against carrying a gun into X store and there is no law against carrying a gun past a no guns sign (jails, courthouses, etc specifically listed are excluded, of course). Therefore it is not "unlawful" to carry there. The trespass law is generally reserved for instances that don't quite meet the "burglary" standard. When they ask you to leave, you must at that point.

    Free internet advice is worth as much as you pay for it, though. Checking with your local prosecutor's office for specific information is your best bet.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

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    Member Array swatspyder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildfire adn View Post
    I have a question that has probably already been covered before, but I can't find it anywhere. Some businesses where I live in Washington State have signs posted on the doors into the building that state you can't have firearms on the property, and/or show a picture of a pistol with a cross through it. I can't find a firearms law that says you can not bring a concealed pistol onto private property, and I am almost positive there isn't one. What I am wondering is if you could be arrested for tresspass just for entering a building with one of these signs posted. Up until today I had thought that the business owner or an employee had to ask you to leave before the police would do anything. Today though, after a discussion with some family members who also carry concealed, I am wondering if just entering a building with a sign posted, knowing that the owners don't want you to have a firearm would be a crime. Any information and sources where that information was found would be helpful.
    Also, the Criminal trespass law I found for WA states "A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building." and "A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises of another under circumstances not constituting criminal trespass in the first degree." So I guess part of the question is what "unlawfully entering" means and if that applies to "no firearms" signs.
    Go to Washington - Stories From The States - OpenCarry.org - Discussion Forum

    You will find a lot of information on WA law.

    Private property signs have no legal backing. The only thing an employee of that business can do is trespass you if they see the gun on your person. (This means leave if asked and just go somewhere gun friendly) Otherwise, conceal and go about your business.

    Concealed means concealed.

  10. #9
    Member Array kmbrcstm2's Avatar
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    We have a 'no firearms' sign at my place of employment. The reason management decided to put up the sign in the first place is because we had an issue with what appeared to be an armed security guard in our store. He was not wearing any kind of badge, was decked out in 5-11 tactical gear and open carrying a firearm. Our customers began to get nervous and one of them approached management and asked if they should leave because they thought a SWAT team was setting up in our store. We lost customers because of the tacticool ninja and when we approached him to ask if he was a LEO he got an immediate attitude and became overly defensive; essentially making the situation worse.

    The sign was in the window the next day. Just keep it concealed and if someone asks you about it be polite and professional.
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    Distinguished Member Array jumpwing's Avatar
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    Bottom line: You are NOT guilty of criminal trespass simply by entering with a holstered firearm. The key word here is "criminal."

    You must be asked to leave and then refuse to do so for a criminal trespass charge.

    If you go into a no-gun business and your firearm is spotted by an employee, you can expect to be approached by someone and asked to leave (at best) or they will let you go about your business while they wait for the cops to show up. Once the cops get there, you will be asked to leave and escorted off the premises, but there won't be any criminal charges.

    A criminal charge means you must be breaking an actual law, not a store policy. There are no laws pertaining to carrying a firearm into a private business, but there are laws about not leaving when directed to do so.

    Open carry in a store with a clearly posted no-gun sign is just creating a problem where one doesn't exist, and gives the whole group a bad name.
    "The flock sleep peaceably in their pasture at night because Sheepdogs stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
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    Member Array Hubadub's Avatar
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    When I approach a building and see a sign that says "No Firearms" I do one of two things.I either leave or I go back to the car and secure my firearm.It doesn`t matter to me what the law says about it,if it`s private property,I feel that I must respect the wishes of the owner.If it`s a business,I`ll find someone else to trade with.If it`s a private dwelling,I wouldn`t dream of entering it armed without the owner`s knowledge and permission.
    My child is a Honor Student at Camp Polk Correctional Facility.

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    Re Private Property and "rights"

    The question of the original post comes up frequently, and inevitably someone responds that "it's private property, and the owner can do as he wants." Within the context of this discussion, that usually means he can post a no-guns sign. A lot of folks also chime in that "I respect the rights of the property owner."

    I respect the rights of property owners, too. But where things get murky is when you have a retail establishment which by its nature is open to the public at large. Wal-Mart (or Sears or Gap or Ace Hardware or Mega-plex movie theaters... you get the point) does not specifically invite individuals to enter their store and thereby "filter" who gets to shop there. Their doors are open to the public.

    Because of their "public" nature, retail establishments are not allowed to discriminate who they let in, based on religion or skin color or gender. This is entirely different from a property owner who only invites left-handed purple Buddhists to his property and posts signs prohibiting everyone else.

    The point I'm raising may be a rarefied one, but fundamentally there is a huge difference between the "rights" of a property owner (e.g., a farmer) who neither invites nor expects the public on his property, and the "rights" of a storekeeper whose business existence relies on his door being open to the public.

    Realistically, it's probably best to respect the wishes of "public" places that post no-guns signs. However, I long for the day when discrimination against a Constitutionally-protected right is considered as abhorrent and illegal as discrimination based on race, creed or color.
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    Member Array RugerSP101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hubadub View Post
    When I approach a building and see a sign that says "No Firearms" I do one of two things.I either leave or I go back to the car and secure my firearm.It doesn`t matter to me what the law says about it,if it`s private property,I feel that I must respect the wishes of the owner.If it`s a business,I`ll find someone else to trade with.If it`s a private dwelling,I wouldn`t dream of entering it armed without the owner`s knowledge and permission.
    Agreed.
    Why give our hard earned money to idiots who dont want us in their store ?

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    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    First let me say that I respect the rights of private property owner’s to dictate who can and can not carry a fire arm on their personal property.

    WRT property that is open to the public my take on this has always been that the property owner’s rights end when they infringe my right to self defense. If I am carrying a concealed firearm in Wal-Mart I’m not doing any real, measurable damage to Wal-Mart INC. Because of that I don’t recognize their right to disarm me. I carry my firearm I conduct my business and no one’s the wiser or harmed. I don’t see the issue.

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    Member Array M203Sniper's Avatar
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    there is no law against carrying a gun past a no guns sign (jails, courthouses, etc specifically listed are excluded, of course). Therefore it is not "unlawful" to carry there. The trespass law is generally reserved for instances that don't quite meet the "burglary" standard. When they ask you to leave, you must at that point.
    However, I long for the day when discrimination against a Constitutionally-protected right is considered as abhorrent and illegal as discrimination based on race, creed or color.
    Quote Originally Posted by Treo View Post
    ... the property owner’s rights end when they infringe my right to self defense. If I am carrying a concealed firearm in Wal-Mart I’m not doing any real, measurable damage to Wal-Mart INC. Because of that I don’t recognize their right to disarm me. I carry my firearm I conduct my business and no one’s the wiser or harmed. I don’t see the issue.
    Totally +1.

    Handgunlaw.us is a good resource to start with.
    "Words can be as lethal as bullets; Choose them carefully, Aim them well & Use them sparingly."

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