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Costco Employee Actively Seeks Out Concealed Carrier, Tells Him To Leave Store, Management Agrees

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MESA, ARIZONA — A reader, Victor, posted his recent Costco story on our Facebook page, and it was intriguing enough to share with everyone else. I spoke with him afterwards to get a little more of the story as well. Here goes:

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So… I stopped by Costco in Mesa Arizona today. I was carrying concealed and I guess the doorman noticed a slight bulge in my right hip under my shirt. He then tell me I can’t come in the store armed. I looked around and there where no signs posted anywhere prohibiting carrying firearms. Still after having a discussion with management I wasn’t allowed and they say is a Costco policy. I’ve been shopping there for years and always carry concealed. I have a CCW but is not needed in Arizona. I asked the management, what stops some one else with bad intentions walking in with a firearm ?… I got the same robotic response. So what they told me was that since I had disclosed that I in fact was armed, I couldn’t walk in.

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While it’s been Costco’s policy not to allow firearms in their stores for a while, it’s pretty . . . ballsy . . . for an employee to see a bulge, not knowing what it really is, and then telling the customer that he needs to leave the store.

Just to confirm this (my above assumption based on the story), I asked Victor if the employee did indeed assume that it was a firearm. Sure enough, he did. Here are the steps that occurred according to Victor, in TL;DR format:

1) Victor walks into Costco in Mesa, AZ
2) An employee sees a bulge and immediately believes it’s a firearm and tells him that he can’t bring a firearm in, per their No Firearms policy
3) Victor tells him that it is a firearm and that it’s concealed
4) Management gets involved and tells Victor to leave as well

According to the Legal Heat app, Victor wasn’t breaking the law since there were no posted signs (see #12 below under ‘Prohibited Areas’):

Screenshot_2015-04-14-19-57-02

Also according to Victor, he asked management if there were any signs posted, and they informed him that there were not. They also claimed that they have no obligation to post the signs and could still ask customers to leave.

My response would have been: “What makes you think that’s a firearm? What if it’s my insulin pump? I’m going shopping now.”

Find another store, Victor. One that won’t throw you out on the street for being a law-abiding citizen.

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Categories: General
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About Brandon Curtis | View all posts by Brandon Curtis

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • Billy-the-Wichita-Kid

    Costco is for members. It is not technically open to the public. Membership would require adherence to Costco’s policies. They are very likely not required to post a sign concerning weapons. Might depend on State law.

  • Billy-the-Wichita-Kid

    First, in my opinion, Costco should post their no gun policy at the door. However, the following is taken from Arizona Department of Public Safty web site’s Questions section:

    I entered a private business with my concealed handgun and CCW permit. The business did not have any signs posted prohibiting weapons. Shortly thereafter, an employee approached me and said they do not allow firearms in their business and I must take the gun off the premises. Can they do that?

    Yes. Arizona law permits private business owners (or their designates) to prohibit weapons from being brought onto their property, whether signs are posted or not. Private businesses are typically non-government operated businesses such as grocery and department stores, convenience stores, laundromats, banks, office complexes, etc. Failure to obey the request can result in your arrest for trespassing. (ARS 13-1502 / ARS 13-1503)

    In other words, in Arizona at least, Costco is not required to post their no gun policy.

  • Buckshot67

    You wont be “ordering him to the ground” because youve been hit in the head with a radio. What you’ve described makes it even worse.. “emptying a magazine” is the worst thing you can do. There was no chance to do any of this here. The man was hit in the head. Once Im hit in the head your getting double tapped, esp with my child in buggy to be your next victim. As a CCW instructor, Id NEVER advise anyone to “empty a magazine” on anyone unless it was because the attacker was continuing. It makes you look mad, angry, carless, and without regard for the public in that lot. You double tap a assailant center mass until he/she stops the assault. Its that simple. But if you think its a good idea to draw down on a person who just hit you in the head and your bleeding profusely, and stand there waiting on police…until you pass out from the concussion, blood loss, ect and leave your gun laying in that lot to be used on you, your child, or the cop that arrives, then you need to re-assess your carry decision. The first thing I ask people when taking a class is they need to decide first thing if they are willing to shoot someone if they have to before carrying. Otherwise your a bigger threat to yourself and others by carrying a gun you will hesitate too much to use.

    • proudAmerican

      Buckshot67 You’re making a lot of assumptions that weren’t stated. Or maybe I made a lot. The scenario that you are painting is a far cry from what I was evisioning. From the brief description of what occurred he was successful in taking him to the ground (not ordering) and had the help of others. And I will make the assumption that when he made the decision to take him down that his daughter was probably between them. I personally would not draw and point my weapon in that direction ‘especially’ if I was light headed. With the sight of what was going down, the fear that my daughter was in grave danger – my adrenaline would be so pumped up that a bum rush to knock him away from her would be my first choice and then to consider my options – deadly force would still be on the table if the bum rush was not successful. You may be a excellent marksman under pressure and feel comfortable to take the shot, I’m a good shot but would question my steadiness in this situation. I always thought that part of teaching a CCW course was to stress the knowledge of your surroundings because ultimately once you pull the trigger your intent no longer matters the results do, so even though I wouldn’t intend on harming my daughter or one of the by-standers I would have to deal with the consequences if God forbid something went wrong. I do have a philosophy that if I pull my weapon in defense, I will be using it. But as stated, it is ‘always’ the last resort. If I can ‘safely’ subdue the perp and wait for the police, to me that is a better option than emptying my ‘magazine’ (not clip – earlier that was a brain [email protected]) or even a more judicial double tap into him. (Which the double-tap is good CCW trainer advice).

  • Buckshot67

    Did you guys read this? He has a child in a buggy and is bleeding from being struck in the head. Everyone knows its never wise to draw or point a gun your not about to use. If your hit in the head and bleeding it is a last resort. Its not””retaliation or anger” its self defense when you’ve been struck and bleeding and have a child to consider. I don’t know where you got your threat matrix of “”draw to prevent any further harm and use as a last resort”..But that is not the way to handle an attacker. Nor is it any instruction Ive ever seen any other instructor give. If your struck in the head youd had best use that weapon unless you were struck with newspaper, stuffed animal, bag of cotton balls, or the fist from a person you think you can handle without the use of deadly force, ect. A solid object like a hard plastic radio obviously is weapon that can render you unconscious in the least…and If you take that risk with your child in the buggy, you have some serious parenting issues. Standing in a lot dazed and bleeding waiting on cops that could take 30 minutes to arrive. Not wise at all.

  • Buckshot67

    That isn’t what happened here. He was struck in the head and was bleeding, At that point unless he has turned his back and is running he should be stopped asap. You keep giving perps chances and good luck at your funeral.

  • Buckshot67

    The arrest powers of citizens are not the same as cops in ANY state. Texas included. Being a security guard is not the same as being a cop, full stop. Citizens arrests notoriously don’t stand up in court, and get a lot of people sued and arrested for false imprisonment. Bad Idea all the way around. Leave the police work to police.

  • Buckshot67

    Creds don’t change the facts. Citizens arrests powers are not comparable to those of police officers. Id agree they can be used if you have plenty of reliable witnesses around who saw the crime committed. But if its yiur word against theirs its not going to fly. I have considerable experience testifying in courts myself……”Citizens arrests” are something not encouraged in MOST states

    • MugsMalone

      Of course, police have more authority to arrest…police can operate on probable causse whreas a citizen cannot…citizens can make warrantless arrests for crime only committed in their presence (in Texas).

      Don’t think you really understand what you’re talking about regarding Texas legal standards…if a citizen holds someone who has committed a crime, he becomes a “witness” to the crime when police arrive. It’s really very simple…

  • Buckshot67

    Your wrong there. You cant walk up and demand someones arrest the same as a officer. What do we have a bunch of cop wannabees or police impersonators in here? Think about what your saying. If I walk up to any old chic in the parking lot say shes under “citizens arrest” your saying she has to comply then take me to court later? BS. Do you know how many rapes and abductions could be committed that way? A man approaches my wife , and says shes under “citizens arrest” in parking lot with my kids there esp, or even without…and tries to detain her when she tells him to go f**K himself, is going to be shot I promise you. Do yourself a favor all you folks thinking you can play cop, call the police, don’t play police. You have more than civil recourse. If whoever is making the mistake of trying to “arrest you” doesn’t have cause-like a felony observed , they are nothing more than a person committing a assault or abduction , and open to having self defense visited on them. Its a good way to be shot and if your lucky only arrested for false imprisonment like this goon at Costco. As for Costco being membership, that applies to the ccw issue, but not this case at all. This had nothing to do with that. It had to do with over zealous loss prevention police impersonator overstepping his authority and committing crimes. This is why we emphasize to people over and over-YOU ARE NOT COP just because you have a ccw permit. To preven the attitudes I see right here that will get someone shot, arrested and/or sued.

  • Buckshot67

    Spineless . Youd let a assailant abduct your child? “Broken bone at worst?” Yeah thats right. Ill shoot you trying to break my bones. Sure will, until you stop trying to break my bone. Yes Ill kill you over hitting me in the head hard enough to knock me out, and leave my child at your mercy. Absurd.

  • Buckshot67

    All that over speculation, trying to find some way not to shoot the guy who is attacking you ect ect, means you are not the type person who needs to carry a gun, Youll end up dead or unconscious them everyone else will now have to contend with your gun being in the hands of a criminal. You can shoot a unarmed man. Armed is not the test. the test is, is your or someone elses life in danger. A unarmed 300 lb man can kill a 150 lb man easily. All his crap your talking is exactly what ISNT taught in all cc training courses. No warnings. Theres no time for all this BS in true self defense cases. If you have time to sit there and reason with a attacker, you have time to leave and avoid the situation. If you pull that gun and don’t use it your more liely to be charged than using it. Fact. If you have to defend your life, you pull the weapon and use it, full stop. You sit here and give these long drawn out scenarios…ridiculous. If your in fear of bodily harm, death or to stop a forcible felony use deadly force. Its that simple.Yes you may go to court. yes you may lose or be charged with something. But it beats dead now doesn’t it.

  • Buckshot67

    i’ll take prison over dead

  • Buckshot67

    All states do not require a verbal stand down order. I know this because I teach ccw classes here in FL, and nothing requires a verbal order to stand down before deadly force is used. There is only TWO tests of deadly force in FL-and many other states- Your must reasonably feel your life is danger or SERIOUS BODILY HARM…or to stop a FORCIBLE FELONY ie: rape, kidnapping, robbery, ect. No dialogue or discussion needs to take place between you or the attacker. No pleas for him to stop or no duty to retreat if you are in a place you are legally allowed to be. I don’t know where you took your course, but if they are teaching you beg your attacker to stop, notify him of firearm, ect ect, you need another class or a new state

  • Buckshot67

    No the point at which I would have used deadly force is when he struck me in the head with the radio. You could go unconscious and leave your child unprotected at his mercy, and God knows who “he” is. He set himself up to be shot once he struck the man. No ones saying shoot the guy as soon as he approached. The minute he grabbed that buggy though I would have been on guard and ready to defend myself. The minute he hit me with that radio and put my life and that childs life in danger, hed have been shot. You need to use common sense in determining if your in threat of losing your life or being seriously hurt. But all this fear of using your weapon…if your that scared get a tazer. Yes you may be jailed if you shoot someone..if you don’t trust yourself with the gun, don’t carry it. If you do carry and you use it realize you may go to jail. Even if its a completely lawful use, you may STILL go to jail. But youll be alive, or your child will be alive. Drop the sniveling fear folks. Use your common sense and think. Don’t draw the weapon until you have to use it. Avoid situations when you can, don’t go places that may cause you to have to use it. But if you do, man up, realize you did what you thought was best, and accept the consequences. A good jury will vindicate you, a bunch of gun hating libs will convict you regardless of the circumstances

  • Buckshot67

    Don’t hesitate. that’s how people get killed. Use your instincts, if you feel your life is danger, use the gun…the onus for getting killed is always on the attacker. You didn’t set the aggressive event in motion he did.

    • drdos1943

      You are correct. That is why training, above and beyond just target shooting, is necessary

  • Buckshot67

    That may be so, but clearly you missed the class on Fl. self defense laws. No law here requires you notify the assailant you have a gun, no law requires you ask him to stand own, and no law requires you to even retreat from his attack.

  • Buckshot67

    Im beginning to doubt your LE claims now. If you don’t feel a radio striking you in the head is a deadly weapon, you aren’t what you say you are. BTW, the laws at least in my state, say to prevent serious bodily harm or death. Not just death. Or to prevent a forcible felony. You can pass out from being hit and losing blood, them leave the child vulnerable. If you wouldn’t use dedly force here your the kind of person who needs to carry a weapon, I don’t care what your purported creds are. Anyone who sides with people like this Costco employee like you are doing is no friend of the 2a and self defense laws. Break his hold? break his hold on what? The buggy HIS child was in? are you kidding me? Your either a liar or incompetent if you don’t think being hit in the head with a radio to the point of drawing blood is being hit with a weapon or facing serious bodily harm. In fact looking at your previous statements saying a order must be given to stand down or notify an attacker you have a weapon leads me to believe like I figured above, its a bunch of police wanna be’s and impersonators. That or your in serious need of a spine.

  • Buckshot67

    If you felt the need to draw you should shoot if hes not retreating. All these guys in here are yahoos who don’t understand the law. Clealy given the outcome. The man was arrested for assault and false imprisonment you wont be convicted for defending yourself from those crimes.

    • Kalib Hebert

      hey if im bleeding, i can defend myself.

  • Buckshot67

    ONCE AGAIN cite the law that’s says a verbal warning is necessary before shooting a attacker in all 50 states like you said.

  • Buckshot67

    YOUR not a LE officer Ron, Your not, so stop. Even IF you used to be, your NOT now and its against the law to say you are. Dropping the guys membership is one thing assaulting him is something else. Obviously your wrong the Costco employee was arrested. Full stop. If the store wasn’t posted, regardless of whats in “rules” the most Costco could do was ask him to leave. He was assaulted, he could have used deadly force had he been armed, and the bad guy went to jail here. That’s the facts of the matter.

  • Phillip Brock

    This just happened to me right now. I am at the Costco 19001 N. 27th Ave. Phx. I walked in the door, the greeter asked me if I was Law Enforcement, I said no Ma’am, She then informed me that I can not carry there and I would have to leave. I looked around for a posted sign, and I asked her where the sign was, she said they don’t have to have a sign, its private property. I told her to please relay that my family and I will not be shopping there anymore. My guns are just tools!!! Costco is literally FULL of potential weapons! Stupid sheep!

  • EThel Berger

    Could’ve been a colostomy bag.

  • Deb Shaw

    Many thanks to the caring employee for looking out for those of us who do not carry firearms. If I saw a firearm not immediately adjacent to a badge, I would take my children and leave the store immediately. Most mass/active shooters are white men, but I’m not willing to take a chance with the lives of my children; I would do this even if the person carrying had brown skin. You may have the right to carry a gun, but I don’t have to stay around if you are.

  • D!zzyd123

    If one is so big on personal ‘rights’, I would think that respecting other peoples ‘rights’ goes with the territory. Like the man said and I paraphrase,’If you don’t like their policy, go elsewhere.

  • D!zzyd123

    This employee screwed up. That’s why they paid up.

  • D!zzyd123

    This is an ideal scenario. Unfortunately there are too many ‘cowboy hombres’ out there ready and eager unload on somebody just for being stupid.

  • Slatz

    Are you the same type of people who would keep gay people out of you establishment while demanding you right to carry wherever you want? Oh, that’s right: Second Amendment. My bad.

  • Awesome news. I will be sure to give Costco as much business as I can, appreciate them ejecting people who risk my safety for their fetish.

  • Jurist

    It’s private property, they can ask you to leave regardless of whether you’re breaking the law or not. This is a fundamental pillar of American society.

  • Linda Woods Alexander

    Good for Costco!

  • Linda Woods Alexander

    These comments on here are pure proof that you idiots don’t deserve to have guns in your possession

  • j g k

    Simple solution to Costco s attitude. BOYCOTT them. I ask you shoppers of Sams Club and Costco, when you factor in how much the “membership” costs now, how many months does it take shopping there to just have saved enough to pay the “membership” fee ? I will not renew Sams Club at 45.00 per year, as one of their CEO’s has openly made racist (against white) policy. I also ask “Are the savings real or brainwashed advertising ” ? Support the grocery stores who seem to care about us.

  • Victor Au

    Let my costco membership lapse. Among other reasons, no CCH, support of obama and liberal causes…