Turns out, people don’t find it particularly relaxing to be surrounded by strangers carrying guns.
The Lake Ozark, Missouri Board of Alderman voted last week to ban gun owners from openly carrying firearms, even if they have a concealed carry permit, because they were afraid that armed individuals would chase away tourists. “We’ve had a tough time over the years promoting Lake Ozark as a family area,” Alderman Larry Buschjost explained. “We want you on the Strip with families, everywhere in Lake Ozark with families. We want you to bring your kids down here and let them loose. For the life of me, I don’t understand why I would have to carry any type of gun, concealed or otherwise.”
The ban was initiated by the local police chief, in part due to concerns raised by business owners.
These business owners’ concerns are hardly unique to one community in Missouri. After a group of pro-gun activists in Texas started showing up at businesses with assault rifles and other long guns, the restaurant chain Chipotle released a statement asking their patrons to leave their firearms at home because “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz made a similar statement, explaining that “customers in many stores have been jarred and fairly uncomfortable to see guns in our stores.” Other companies, ranging from Whole Foods to Toys R Us to Ikea, also ban guns.
Lake Ozark’s efforts to keep people with guns from scaring tourists and other patrons away from local businesses, however, may be short-lived. The Missouri state legislature recently passed a bill that will allow concealed carry permit holders to openly display their guns, regardless of local ordinances. The bill is currently awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon’s (D) signature or veto. By Ian Millhiser