The owner of a gun shop and firearms training facility in small-town Arizona this week posted a sign telling patrons who voted for President Barack Obama to “turn around and leave” because they have proven they “are not responsible enough to own a firearm.”
The owner, Cope Reynolds, also took out a full-page ad in the local White Mountain Independent newspaper in an apparent effort to fully drive his point home.
“If you voted for Barack Obama your business is NOT WELCOME at Southwest Shooting Authority,” the ad states. “You have proven you are not responsible enough to own a firearm.”
The bottom of the ad lists the gun shop’s phone number: 928-367-AK47.
“Of course, it would be impossible to enforce,” Reynolds said in an email to the Phoenix New Times. “However, if they own up to it, we will not serve them.”
Reynolds added that, while many in his community and across the country have been supportive, he has received a large amount of hate mail and even a few death threats since enacting his new policy.
Under federal law, private establishments that function as “public accommodations — like a gun shop — can refuse service to anyone as long as they do not discriminate against a protected class, such as disabled individuals. Some states, including California, have more stringent standards that prevent discrimination for arbitrary or malicious reasons.
“I hate it because my 17-year-old son answers the phone, and they light into him,” Reynolds said. “They call us stupid rednecks and racist.”
Reynolds reminded potential assassins that he carries a gun with him at all times, and knows how to use it.
“We’re able to wear our guns in Arizona and we wear one 24-7,” he said. “We train regularly.”
It’s unlikely Reynolds’ move will cost him many customers — his town is heavily Republican — but he claimed that, if he is forced out of business, he won’t have any regrets.
“If we lose the whole business it doesn’t matter,” Reynolds said. “The bottom line is my values.”