Bass Pro Shops against open carry?


March 1, 2009, 11:51 AM
How's it going folks?

Just an FYI, I wanted to post an open carry incident that happened to my brother at the new Bass Pro Shops store in Ashland, VA.

This is C-tone's brother sharing an experience from this past Friday the 27th.

An update for anyone that shops at Bass Pro Shops concerning their policy on Open Carry. This past Friday I road over to the Bass Pro in Ashland Virginia, walked through their greeters and 30 yards into the store before an employee followed behind me asking for a permit. I informed her that a permit was not necessary in the Commonwealth of Virginia and that my form of carry was completely legal. It was brought to my attention that no loaded and/or unlocked firearms were permitted in their facility, so I calmly walked back to her check point and unloaded my CW so that she may put a trigger-lock on it. I attempted to honor this policy despite that this makes it impossible to openly carry my firearm anywhere but my hands and that for all intensive purposes, this would scare more customers than a loaded firearm properly secured in a holster. I was thanked for my patience by having the muzzle of my own weapon waved in my face as this poorly instructed employee attempted to lock the trigger of my firearm, at which point I corrected her for this mistake and asked for my firearm back. Once retrieved it was returned to my vehicle, and I went in to purchase what I road an hour to pick up. This is my last trip to Bass Pro Shops, until such a time as they can rethink their policy and train their employees to do such simple tasks in a safe manner. Their store has the legal right to limit firearms on their property and I honor that despite my personal beliefs. This doesn't excuse dangerous, poorly educated, and poorly trained employees. Also note that their policy isn't properly marked and enforced at the door. I was barely noticed by an employee that was looking for such rights being exercised. I open carry because it is practical and legal for me, not because I need to flaunt or make people uncomfortable. People like this are why it draws so much negative attention. Having had this issue, I have done a basic Google search and found that many others have had these issues at other Bass Pro Shop locations. I don't appreciate this stupidity, but it's something to watch for.

I am also typing up a formal complaint for their management, and will keep you all updated as to how they respond to/handle this.

For all those interested, the store location is 11550 Lakeridge Parkway, Ashland Virginia, 22305.


I thought ya'll would be interested.


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Ric in Richmond
March 1, 2009, 04:42 PM
The update on the linked page....


Update : I received a response early this morning from the store manager, that reads as follows.


I am sorry, that is unacceptable. Can you tell me who it was that stopped you and I will rectify immediately. We have folks coming in here all of the time. You are right. It is your right and my right to carry arms. I will fix.



Greg Bulkley

General Manager

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

Hanover County, Virginia"

March 1, 2009, 05:03 PM
ok, are they gonna fix the "No open carry" part? I'm lucky, I CHP in Newport News and I visit the Hampton store. No issues, but a buddy of mine tried to OC, and got stopped? How would they feel if they were robbed and people were getting shot and one of many people who politely had their weapon trigger locked couldn't do anything to save lives??

Defense Minister
March 1, 2009, 06:14 PM
Good job, Ctone03! This is what responsible gun owners need to be doing: letting people know that they can't walk all over our rights, or the rights of our fellow Americans!

March 1, 2009, 06:34 PM
I went to the BPS during the grand opening in Ashland and they stopped me at the door and asked if I had a weapon. I did not lie to them I had a CCW and they locked it up until I was leaving the store. Have not been back since.

March 2, 2009, 08:23 AM
The way the OP's brother handled this is a good example of how to take a complaint "up the chain".

Start with a formal letter of complaint to the GM for the particular facility. If you don't get a satisfactory response then wear them out. If you do get a satisfactory response remember to praise them for recognizing the problem and committing to correcting it (gotta give positive as well as negative reinforcement).

March 2, 2009, 09:55 AM
Talking with my brother this morning, I don't think he's going to let them off the hook so easy. Clarification on their policy regarding open and concealed carry is a must, and I would strongly recommend that they educate their employees as to what the law is.

If they don't allow firearms to be carried, then they need to post it at the door so I know where to not spend my money.

I'll post more follow up as I get it.

March 2, 2009, 10:13 AM
If there are signs up I usually ask to speak to the manager/owner(preferable) and explain that as long as the sign remains I will shop elsewhere. My firearm is for my protection(and others if necessary) and I will not be disarmed in order to shop at a store. Too many out there that welcome an armed money spender-that is what they are in business for--to trade money for goods. wc

March 2, 2009, 10:18 AM
Due to living in the sticks and not knowing my way around the inside of a Bass Pro Shop, my bride and I stopped by one in Dallas on our way back from the East Coast..

As I stepped inside, past the fireplace there was a turnstile entrance with a gentleman at a podium. The sign said "All weapons must be checked" ..

I asked him, since I had a conceal carry if I needed to go put my weapon up in my car. He was very polite about it and explained that that sign was for the people going to the indoor shooting range, not for people that conceal carry.

He said the store did not prohibit CC, but he thanked me for asking.

March 2, 2009, 01:16 PM
Docgmt, did you file any kind of complaint over the concealed issue? I will be either emailing the manager again today for further clarification (as to whether I was subject to store policy or personal opinion), or calling him directly. I would gladly bring mention of that as well, if you so proffered. (Hunter0811)

March 2, 2009, 01:38 PM

The Activism forum isn't a general discussion forum. Please stay focused on the issue at hand of dealing effectively with a retailer who doesn't post and then has issue with carrying.

March 2, 2009, 02:05 PM
They also refuse to transfer anything "tactical."

I tried to use them as an FFL transfer for an ar-15 lower and they told me that, lost a couple customers with that move.

March 2, 2009, 02:11 PM
The best bet is to go back to the manager, ask if he's got a few minutes to talk to you, and then give him paper copies of all the relevant local codes/laws/statutes. Explain that carrying openly is allowed by the law.

I doubt it will have an effect, though - people who take advantage of their gun rights are in the vast minority and have been painted as "gun nuts" by the media. A gun without a badge makes people nervous, (especially at a big-box chain store) and nervous people are not happy customers. Expecting anyone working in a chain retail store to "know the law" is unrealistic, as is expecting them to even entertain the possibility of losing revenue to protect your right.

Plus, if open carry isn't a common occurance, you should expect to be hassled about it so it isn't so irritating when you are. Nice guy with a gun goes over much better than angry armed man, and since the perception of gun ownership is unfortunately more important than the facts, it can only help the cause.

March 2, 2009, 04:44 PM
Bass Pro's corporate policy is that ALL firearms must be unloaded, locked by their staff, and transported directly to the range. (if yours has a range) If you open carry, what's the difference that and if someone picks up a rifle, shotgun, or pistol and compliments that with ammo the day of transfer, then starts shooting? In their eyes: nothing. They know CCW holders are less likely to "advertise" that they are carrying to the general public...doesn't draw unwanted attention or provoke those eligible for the Darwin Awards to test the Barney Fife capabilities with what someone is open carrying.

Depending on the State and specific store, CCW holders might be exempt from unloaded check-ins.

I've been informed that CCW holders in my specific region are exempt, but I don't want to disclose where, just in case their corporates are watching and decide to make it 100% on check-ins. However, I've heard through the rumor mill that it ONLY applies to transport to the range. Should you be caught in their store(s) concealed and not to-or-from the range, they'll call you out on it. Hasn't happened to me, but I know someone who has been addressed.

March 2, 2009, 05:21 PM
One can always state that Greentop, and Gander Mountain just down Rte. 1 don't have a problem with Open Carry, and they are just happy receiving your business.

I recommend Green Top though. Good employees, good selection, and ok prices.

March 2, 2009, 05:31 PM
Hey Dorkfish,

Here in PA, all the Bass Pros, Cabelas, and Gander Mts. have signs on the door saying all guns must be unloaded. Next line says "This does not apply to CCW firearms."

Perhaps that's because their corporate policy would make no difference in the face of PA state law, but it is what it is.


March 2, 2009, 05:45 PM
If they EVER asked me, I would be honest, but if they said I had to lock it up, I would not only leave the store, but go to the nearest office supply store, get a large presentation board, a sharpie and start protesting. And telling gun owners not to shop there

March 2, 2009, 06:12 PM
This is what responsible gun owners need to be doing: letting people know that they can't walk all over our rights, or the rights of our fellow Americans!

I beg to differ because I find challenging people on their rights vs. my rights just puts people on the defensive. My right to the second amendment doesn't trump someone else's rights to dictate what can and can't happen on their property and I deeply respect that right as well. I've got no interest in lecturing people about what goes on in their property/store/restaurant etc.

What responsible gun owners should do is let these businesses know that we respect their rights and ask they do the same. That we understand that it is PERFECTLY WITHIN THEIR RIGHTS to limit people from carrying on their property AND we should also let the know that we will spend our money elsewhere if they insist on this policy.

I've got no truck with anyone telling me what I can and can't do on their property. Just like I'm not going to have anyone come on MY property and tell me what I can do. However, when it comes to retail stores limiting carry in their store, the ONLY recourse we should be practicing is telling them we will spend our money elsewhere.

Be polite, remind them you are a paying customer and ammo costs money, respect their rights, and write a letter to the relevant authority reminding them that you vote with your checkbook.

The OP did the right thing by directing the unsafe actions to the store manager and asking him for action.

Sniper X
March 2, 2009, 06:38 PM
A Sportysmans Warehouse tried that with me till I schooled them on the pitfalls of it. I was OC and they asked me to check my weapon at the counter which was "manned" by a young woman who looked all of about 17 and when she saw my 1911, she quivered at the potential of trying to safely unload a 1911 that was "cocked and locked". She called a manager who allows me to this day to carry in the store.

March 2, 2009, 10:01 PM
+1 gossamer. Well said.

I would urge anyone contemplating OC to do so with common sense. There are some people that will OC anywhere just to prove a point and many times it leads to a business banning weapons outright. I am not telling anyone here what to do and where to carry, but a little common sense and courtesy will go a long way especially in trying to educate the general public about 2A rights and responsible gun ownership.

That said I would think that Bass Pro Shops would have better policies and procedures in place since a large population of their customers own and carry guns.

March 2, 2009, 10:18 PM
For those interested in the exact message sent, here it is copied directly from my email. Very similar to the post, and polite. I do show respect for their policy on their property and am not out to "show off". I can't say I would define exercising the right as flaunting even so.

" I would like to file a formal complaint about your store (location 11550 Lakeridge Parkway, Ashland VA) and the training of your employees. While entering your store to shop on February 27th, I was stopped 30 yards into store and asked to show a permit for my openly carried firearm. I politely responded that in the Commonwealth of Virgina, a permit is not legally required for the open carry of a firearm and that I was within my legal rights. I was informed that your store policy prohibits open carry, which is also your legal right. I was asked to allow my firearm be unloaded and a trigger lock placed on it. This policy infringes state given rights and asks legal citizens to openly carry their firearm in their hand. I believe this is more likely to scare customers than a legal firearm carried in a holster, which is no longer an option once a trigger lock has been placed. My complaint concerns the unprofessional handling of my firearm by your employee. During the course of struggling to place a lock on the trigger of my firearm, your employee blindly pointed my own firearm in the direction of myself. I calmly corrected the employee and asked for my firearm back, returning it to my vehicle and continuing what may be my last visit to your store. I disagree with your policy but I have tried to abide by it. Properly marking your storefront, training your employees to exercise proper firearm safety (It's very basic, treat every firearm as if it is loaded), and informing your employees of State Law so that they may be polite to customers in the future are expectations that should easily be met in return. I would like a response, as would the readers on the blog that I am referencing this issue to and updating.


March 3, 2009, 11:45 AM
It's hard to believe that a sporting goods store that sells firearms doesn't properly train ALL employees how to safely handle guns, regardless of what dept. they work in. They should also be well versed in company policy and state gun law. If it's not company policy to provide training, then the GM should have enough sense to make that decision. Allowing an inexperienced/untrained employee to take a customer's personal weapon and try to unload, or even just inspect it is too big of a liability issue IMO. Also, making people unload and lock PD? Then who's left to protect us? Sounds pretty liberal to me

March 3, 2009, 12:10 PM
I was in the Michigan Bass Pro in January, and OC'd with no problem. The LP guy at the door did make out a check slip for me just in case, so I could get back out without someone thinking I was stealing guns, but that was it.

March 3, 2009, 12:33 PM
Uh, I've never been at a gun range that wasn't "against open carry."

Don't conflate safety rules with anti-gun politics.

March 3, 2009, 03:35 PM
Can't carry a loaded gun into a gun show, either...

March 3, 2009, 03:47 PM
Damned anti-gun gun shows!:neener:

Sam Adams
March 3, 2009, 03:56 PM
As I stepped inside, past the fireplace there was a turnstile entrance with a gentleman at a podium. The sign said "All weapons must be checked" ..

I asked him, since I had a conceal carry if I needed to go put my weapon up in my car. He was very polite about it and explained that that sign was for the people going to the indoor shooting range, not for people that conceal carry.

He said the store did not prohibit CC, but he thanked me for asking.

I'm in San Antonio. First time I came into the store to shoot at their range, I brought a rifle and 3 handguns. Boy, did it feel like I was raped as I had to open the cases, have the guy lock each weapon, and record all serial numbers. In front of every single person walking into the store.

When I got to the range, I mentioned (politely) my objection to all of this. The guy behind the counter was very friendly and very sympathetic. He said it was for safety (yeah, recording serial numbers makes someone safer - BS!), and that if I came in only with a concealed gun I didn't have to go through that nonsense.

Not going through that nonsense is EXACTLY what I'll be doing - if I go back (and I'm likely to, it is convenient and many friends/acquaintances shoot there), it'll only be with the carry gun. No more pulling down my drawers for the god of "safety."

March 3, 2009, 04:05 PM
Sam, are you unaware that shoplifting is a big deal, and that large retailers employ whole staffs to cut down on it?

Are you unaware of what will happen to that store/range FFL if guns go missing?

Do you not realize that the serial numbers also protect you? You can easily show that these are your guns, not guns stolen from the store or other shooters?

Yes, this stuff can feel bad. Don't go if you don't like it. But if you get past your reaction of resentment, I think you will find that they're really not just out to harass you. You are their customer, after all.

March 3, 2009, 04:19 PM
My question to those who wish to OC in places that post otherwise is what would you think if I wanted to shop those places with fully loaded AR slung.
They are in business and if they permit OC then they have to all OC within the law. This means hanging out of your pocket, around your neck, Tac rigs on your thigh. The list is unending. Same goes for my long gun scenario, and if you don't think someone would put it to the test your fooling yourself.
After reading numerous threads over the years on gun shows and gun shop carry I have concluded that we are our worst enemy.
I am not opposed to OC and wish the sight of a gun didn't freak people out, I also wish that the few irresponsible who's NDs have brought on this scrutiny would never had happened.

Sam Adams
March 3, 2009, 05:00 PM
Armed Bear,

I am, indeed, aware of the fact of shoplifting. If they think that I or any other person stole one of their guns, THEY HAVE THEIR OWN LIST OF SERIAL NUMBERS. They don't need mine.

I DO find it intrusive, and I will never bring any more than a carry piece to their range. They have lost business because of this (and believe me, I think that it would be really fine and dandy to do some load testing at 25 yards in any kind of weather, fairly close to home). My loss and theirs.

Mere locks, or an escort to the 2nd floor range, would be fine for me. NOT serial numbers that they don't need.

March 3, 2009, 05:26 PM
My question to those who wish to OC in places that post otherwise is what would you think if I wanted to shop those places with fully loaded AR slung.

That would be AWESOME! YES, that's the kind of acceptance and exposure we need! The whole idea of requiring concealed carry but discouraging open carry just perpetuates the silly, blind, illogical sensibilities of "the masses" for whom guns are out-of-sight/out-of-mind. Concealment is merely active, willful deception of those around you that your gun is not present/doesn't exist.

Further, if I might need a pistol (and we all accept that we might at any time, without warning) then I might need a rifle. If I can be trusted to carry one lethal weapon abroad in society (a pistol) than I can be trusted to carry any other (rifle/shotgun/?). It is simply harder to willfully deceive those around you when you're carrying a full-size gun, rather than the compact version.

Yes, yes, I understand the "politics" of concealed carry and the reasons that we choose not to disturb those grazing around us. I also understand the value of the element of surprise that a concealed gun could afford in a violent encounter. For the moment, I'm setting those points aside for the sake of the longer view. We should all strive for a society where OC raises no eyebrows, whether rifle, pistol, or whatever.

Remember, that used to be the case, we've lost a lot of ground...


P.S. -- And, no, I don't OC very often at all, FWIW.

March 3, 2009, 05:37 PM

They are in business and if they permit OC then they have to all OC within the law.

I've seen stores that have posted signs such as "All Weapons must be Holstered". I think Bass Pro could allow OC with the same stipulation and not turn away customers.

March 3, 2009, 05:43 PM
Sam I hope you understand that I to would love to see gun racks in golf carts but at that point of saturation we will more than likely see some degradation of public safety. I guess thats what brings me to the view at this time to just appreciate CC.
The time we speak of will maybe come or else the sheeple will demand more security from the gov. either way I don't think it will stay the same in these troubled times.

March 3, 2009, 05:57 PM
To me it's a lot simpler.

Large stores that sell lots of guns to a crowd of people, and shooting ranges, need to keep loaded guns and unloaded guns separated -- so that nobody gets shot!

I belong to a little club here in Idaho with a range. The club has been around for over 80 years. Members are rabidly pro-gun, and Idaho is very much an open carry state -- our state Constitution prohibits any restriction on carrying firearms on public property, except if they're concealed.

It has been proven legal to OC in the downtown public library here in the capital, and the library cannot make a rule against it:

OC as well as CCW is 100% legal in bars -- not restaurants that serve booze, I mean bars (though it often may not be the best idea, of course).

But... At the shooting range, firearms may not be uncased except in a designated area or on the line. They may not be loaded except on the line.

This is not because we're anti-gun at the range.:rolleyes:

March 3, 2009, 06:03 PM
I DO find it intrusive, and I will never bring any more than a carry piece to their range.

That's your choice. I'd probably make the same choice, myself. And I think that the Serial Number thing is stupid, at best.

However, I think they're probably doing this out of stupidity, not malice.

March 3, 2009, 06:19 PM
Armed bear hit it on the head. We need to police ourselves and take control of things on our terms or it will be done for us.

March 3, 2009, 06:27 PM
. . .but their current policy is not clear. There are no signs posted at the door, and from the manager's original reply to my brother, it would seem likely that they don't prohibit OC.

In Virginia OC is pretty common. On any given day you will likely see someone with a pistol holstered while you're in town, and it's the only way my brother can carry at this time. So considering that state law allows permitless OC, and taking into account that it's popular here, and also considering that Bass Pro Shops carries a fairly large amount of politically correct firearms, one would assume that they wouldn't prohibit OC.

Either way it isn't a great idea to have a patron handle a loaded weapon in the store - certainly not in the name of "safety" - then have a clueless employee who is outright ignorant of state law flag the patron with his or her own weapon. That is disturbing.

That is what we're trying to address.

March 3, 2009, 06:32 PM
Do some of you not read, or are you just starved for entertainment? The OP has already stated that corporate has promised to educate that staff that OC is no problem, and I have said I OC there myself. Why the continuing hysteria?

BTW, I OC at the gunshop/range all the time...

August 6, 2009, 09:37 AM
I know that I'm late to the game on this thread, but I just saw it.

BP's corporate policy is that they follow the laws of the state. I teach classes at that BP in Ashland. As long as its lawfully carried, either with a CHP or OC, they are fine with it.

Sometimes they have some "older folks" greeting customers and they may not be up on the correct info. I even got stopped one time and corrected them. No need to boycott the store, they are good with lawfully carried handguns.

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