Businesses Divided Over Concealed Carry

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By Evie Allen
By Jared Roberts

HERRIN -- Businesses across southern Illinois are choosing sides under the new concealed carry law. Some are welcoming people packing heat; others have posted signs banning guns in their stores.

By now, you may have noticed signs prohibiting guns in businesses. You'll definitely see the no-guns sticker at schools and a lot of banks. But at Herrin Tire and Muffler, you'll see quite the opposite.     

"We pretty much had an idea once they passed the law, we was going to go ahead and allow them," says manager Jerry Brown.
 
Brown says he has no problem with customers carrying a concealed weapon. He's a gun owner himself and doesn't want to tell people they can't have their weapon.
 
"There are a lot of gun guys out there that are going to be carrying their weapons and I don't want to alienate anybody from coming in," he says.
 
Customers can also buy a gun at the auto shop and get help applying for a FOID card or a concealed carry permit. But not all businesses feel the same.
 
About half a dozen of the local business chains we stopped at Tuesday declined to speak on camera, but they did say it's corporate policy to have the stickers up.
     
One of the store's customer service representatives told News Three the signs are posted to create a comfortable shopping experience for their customers. 
 
Brown says he wants to look out for his customers and employees too. But he'd rather be safe than sorry.
 
"If people have their firearms on them and somebody comes in and decided they wanted to rob us, they're going to pull out a gun and their may be four or five more pointing back at them." 
 
Brown says his employees are also allowed to have a firearm at the shop, as long as it's kept in a tool box.
 
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