Since open carry is legal in Tennessee I exercise that right quite often and tonight was no different. I was dressed in jeans, a golf shirt and openly carrying my Glock 27 strong-side with a spare mag on the left next to my CrackBerry. After dinner, my wife and daughter went on to the house while I stopped by Walmart for about an hour to grocery shop. I have open carried in our Walmart several times without incident, but tonight was different.
After I had been there a while trying to find everything on the list, a lady who was shopping with her daughter approached me in one of the aisles and asked me if I was a policeman. I responded; no...why? She said she worked there part-time and she and the store manager along with several other employees were questioning each other whether I was a cop. I stated I had a permit to carry. She went on to say she hoped I wouldn't shoot anyone. I responded I have no reason to shoot anyone unless my life was threatened. I told her to have a good evening and headed toward produce. As I rounded the corner I was approached by the store manager and this is where it gets really interesting.
He came over to me and asked me if I was a policeman, to which I gave him the same response as the previous
He then proceeded to tell me I could not carry a gun in Walmart. I stated I did not see a no-gun sign when I entered and I was not aware of a policy that prohibited me from carrying in his store. He then started telling me how dangerous it was for me to have a gun in the store around little children and women and that he knew Tennessee passed the bill to carry in restaurants where alcohol is served, but that did not make it legal to carry in Walmart. He also said if you had to shoot at someone you might hit an innocent bystander. I replied by explaining my confidence through training makes me proficient with my firearm and what exactally did the TN restaurant bill have to do with carrying in other businesses? He went on to say we just can't check everyone that comes in the store to see if they are legal to carry and he would check with corporate to get signs banning guns in his store. I replied, you will never know about the illegal carrier who brings a gun into your store, yet you want to ban me and other legal carriers who are no threat to you or your customers. He said we have people and policies to protect our customers. I said my son-in-law is a local policeman, but I can't carry him with me all the time to protect me...that is why I carry a gun...the police cannot be everywhere. What would happen if you prohibit me from carrying in your store and someone jumped me in the parking lot? Would you be there to protect me? He replied we have people watching all the time and it doesn't take the police long to respond.
As we parted ways I asked if he was familiar with the shooting last week just across the river at the Walmart in West Memphis, Arkansas. He said no. I explained that a domestic dispute broke out between two people in the store entrance and two shots were fired by the man who was illegally carrying a firearm...again that's why I carry a firearm...you never know where you may need to protect yourself. He wished me a good night and I finished my shopping and headed home.
I have mixed emotions about what happened tonight whether I should contact Walmart's corporate office realizing this could trigger a panic store wide gun ban at all Walmarts or just blow it off knowing I dealt with a bunch of Sheeple. What would you do?