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Posted: 10/24/2006 9:38:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/24/2006 9:38:54 PM EST by BlackOpsSec]
I recently made a post about Costco's "no firearms" signs and policy. I emailed Costco and expressed my concerns and opinion about their policy. I just got the following reply. After Costco's reply below, I have included my reply to their response.

Note that we more than adequately covered the "who gives a damn" and the "concealed means concealed, so who cares" perspectives in the last thread, so please don't feel obligated to further espouse such unproductive indifference. I care about my constitutional rights, and my basic human right to self-defense (i.e. to life) ... and I consequently care about your rights too (whether you like it or not); that's why I'm taking the time to contact Costco, and to post this thread. Sure, I can vote with my wallet, and I am, but I can do more than that too.


Email from Costco:


Dear Ken,

This message responds to your email message to Costco regarding our "No Firearms" policy at our warehouse stores. In your email you mentioned your concerns that your rights are being violated by this restriction. We apologize for any inconvenience this policy might have caused you, however, this policy is administered at all our warehouses.

Costco Wholesale is a membership-only warehouse club. It is not open to the general public. It restricts membership to a limited group of qualified individuals who agree to membership conditions. We have the right, and the obligation to our members, to enact and enforce membership rules. The Member Service Employees at the exit doors are obliged to follow these rules. By obtaining a Costco membership card, our members agree to comply with the Membership Rules and the Privileges and Conditions of membership.

Costco does not believe that it is necessary for firearms to be brought into its warehouse stores, except in the case of authorized law enforcement officers. For the protection of all our members and employees, we feel this is a reasonable and prudent precaution to ensure a pleasant shopping experience and safe workplace. Our policy is meant to protect our members and employees in all warehouses around the world. This is not a new policy and we do not customize the policy for each individual city/county/state/country where we do business. Bringing a firearm into our warehouse does not enhance the Costco shopping experience.

Your email message suggests that we are not concerned about the safety and well being of Costco members at the Kansas City warehouse. This is simply not the case. We take all reasonable safety precautions within our control. Our parking lot is well lit, monitored by cameras and regularly checked by our staff, part-time security and the Kansas City police.
We are sorry that the message you are hearing is that "we don't want you." It is the firearms that we exclude in the warehouses, not the carriers. Our primary goal at Costco Wholesale is to keep our members happy. If you believe that our policy restricting members from bringing firearms into our warehouse stores is either unfair or excessively burdensome, or you cannot agree to abide by this policy, or you are dissatisfied for any other reason, Costco will promptly refund your annual membership fee in full.

Sincerely,

Karen Raines
Corporate Counsel
Costco Wholesale Corporation
kraines@costco.com



My reply to the email above:



Hello Karen,

Thanks for taking the time to respond and explain Costco's position. I would like to address several points in your reply.

I would like to explain why your "no firearms" policy violates your customers rights, and why this is important. In addition to our constitutional rights, many people believe that human beings have a fundamental right to self-defense. Your policy will effectively only prevent law abiding citizens from protecting themselves. Criminals will ignore the sign and policy, as will disgruntled employees.

You stated that this "no firearms" policy is administered at all of your warehouses. I conducted an informal poll of people across the United States, and found that a vast majority (at least 90%) of your stores do NOT have a "no firearms" sign posted.

You stated that "Costco does not believe that it is necessary for firearms to be brought into its warehouse stores, except in the case of authorized law enforcement officers". If it is not necessary in your opinion, can Costco guarantee the safety of all members? Is Costco willing to accept legal liability for the consequences of criminals or disgruntled employees who ignore your policy and injure or kill a member? Will Costco accept full responsibility for the safety of members while in the Costco parking lot?

You stated that "bringing a firearm into our warehouse does not enhance the Costco shopping experience." I do not see the relevance of this comment. There are many other things that Costco does, or does not do, that affect the Costco shopping experience. For example, if Costco really wanted to enhance the shopping experience, you would accept Visa and Mastercard. Or Costco would provide better ATM services; I have twice had to leave the warehouse because your ATM was out of order, and go to an ATM at another store. Having to leave your 241 East Linwood Blvd warehouse to get money elsewhere is a VERY dangerous proposition. Why can't Costco "enhance my shopping experience" by offering at least two ATMs with a better uptime rate?

Has Costco considered that posting a "no firearms" sign is not logical from a business perspective. If you do NOT have any "no firearms" sign or policy, then this is not an issue at all, and you don't lose any customers. The "no firearms" sign does not increase your business, and it does not offer any legal protection with regards to liability or insurance claims. When you DO post the "no firearms" sign though, you are effectively telling more than four million NRA members that you do not respect their right to protect themselves (i.e. "bear arms"). 48 US states believe that law abiding citizens with no criminal record who have received firearms training DO have the right to carry a concealed weapon and protect themselves. Millions of Americans have CCW permits, and your "no firearms" signs are effectively telling them that Costco does not want their business, and that Costco does not support their constitutional rights.

If you poll your customers, I think you will find that a large number of them own guns, and support CCW laws. More and more people will find out about Costco's anti-gun, anti-CCW policy, and it will have a negative impact on your business. Wal-mart and Sam's Club welcome customers who have CCW permits, and most gun owners know this. Additionally, a VAST MAJORITY of the businesses in the United States, and especially in the Kansas City area, do not have a "no firearms" policy. In the Kansas City area, less than 1% of the businesses have a "no firearms" sign, and signs are coming down every day.

Thank you for considering my comments.

Regards,
Ken

P.S. If you continue to have a "no firearms" policy, then you may want to apply that policy to products that you sell. Specifically, you may want to stop selling gun safes, or at least stop referring to them as "firearms safes" on your website, and remove the pictures of safes with guns in them.
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 9:55:22 PM EST
I would bet a small amount of money they don't reply. I did like the point where you argue their "Costco Experience" and then point out why they don't allow VISA or MC. Or put the ball back in their court about accepting liability for people in their parking lot or store.

All in all a good reply. Please keep this updated. By the way if "No Firearms" signs suddenly appear at my Costco, I blame you.
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 9:56:47 PM EST
I think the angle this "Karen" was going for is that by signing up for Costco membership you forgo your 2nd ammendment constitutional rights in exchange for admittance to one of their store fronts.

height=8
Costco Wholesale is a membership-only warehouse club. It is not open to the general public. It restricts membership to a limited group of qualified individuals who agree to membership conditions. We have the right, and the obligation to our members, to enact and enforce membership rules. The Member Service Employees at the exit doors are obliged to follow these rules. By obtaining a Costco membership card, our members agree to comply with the Membership Rules and the Privileges and Conditions of membership.


My question (this is a legal one) is can you legally sign away your constitutional rights in a contractual agreement with a private entity/corporation?


I.E. does Costco have the legal ability to demand you forgo your constitutional rights as a part of the consideration in the contractual agreement?


What Costco believes or doesn't believe is in the best interest of the safety / experience of its shoppers is irrellevant to the issue you are questioning.

The issue as I see it is which supercedes what. The U.S. laws and statutes that govern the CCW License and 2nd Amendment, or a consent / contractual form to gain admitance to private services.



If catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults...
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:00:32 PM EST
interesting
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:08:17 PM EST
I'm sure a flame will come my way for not honoring my agreement to costco....


I carry anyway. Anytime I see a no weapons sign, I chuckle to myself. All they can do is throw me out.
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:11:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By pnkssbtz:
I think the angle this "Karen" was going for is that by signing up for Costco membership you forgo your 2nd ammendment constitutional rights in exchange for admittance to one of their store fronts.


Costco Wholesale is a membership-only warehouse club. It is not open to the general public. It restricts membership to a limited group of qualified individuals who agree to membership conditions. We have the right, and the obligation to our members, to enact and enforce membership rules. The Member Service Employees at the exit doors are obliged to follow these rules. By obtaining a Costco membership card, our members agree to comply with the Membership Rules and the Privileges and Conditions of membership.


My question (this is a legal one) is can you legally sign away your constitutional rights in a contractual agreement with a private entity/corporation?


I.E. does Costco have the legal ability to demand you forgo your constitutional rights as a part of the consideration in the contractual agreement?


What Costco believes or doesn't believe is in the best interest of the safety / experience of its shoppers is irrellevant to the issue you are questioning.

The issue as I see it is which supercedes what. The U.S. laws and statutes that govern the CCW License and 2nd Amendment, or a consent / contractual form to gain admitance to private services.



If catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults...


Costco is a private corporation. If you sign their contract, then you abide by their rules. They have no duty to protect your constitutional rights. Their house, their rules.

That being said, I also see no problem at all in criticising them and telling them that their policy may prove to be unpopular. Hell, they may read the part about many stores not having signs posted, then issue a memo to all the stores to post signs. They may see members stop shopping because of the signs, then they may rethink their position. Who knows? Best way to get a company to change policy is to hit them in the pocketbook. If they see that their assinine policy starts fucking with the bottom line, they may rethink it.
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:11:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By Silly_Look:
By the way if "No Firearms" signs suddenly appear at my Costco, I blame you.

Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:15:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By Silly_Look:
By the way if "No Firearms" signs suddenly appear at my Costco, I blame you.


touche. remember, "concealed means concealed".
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:20:22 PM EST
tilting at windmills
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:22:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By deimos:

Originally Posted By Silly_Look:
By the way if "No Firearms" signs suddenly appear at my Costco, I blame you.



+1

Anyways,

I Don't have a Costco card, I take my mother there often so she can get whatever (She has the membership).

Oops sorry, I never signed shit, and you can't see my CCW. So HA HA!
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:30:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/24/2006 10:39:55 PM EST by pulpsmack]
I appreciate your effort but you have made two mistakes so far as I can tell. The slighter of the two is that your repsonse letter outlining the ATM breakdown during a shooping trip of yours, does not explicitly mention it happened recently, but it shows that Costco prohibiting firearms is not as problematic as you make it out to be, since you yourself continue to shop there.

The greater of the two problems is your misunderstanding of the Constitution's application (at least in the terms that you expressed in the letter). The only thing that the Constitution protects us against is the government when it comes to restriction and regulation. Thus, federal and state legislature along with public institutions (schools for example) cannot make policy that is repugnant to the Constitution. The private sector on the other hand can.

If you were employed at the Deputy Sheriff's office at the time of the Reagan assassination and you said to your co-employer in the lunchroom "If they go for him again, I hope they get him" you cannot be fired for execising your 1st amendment rights to free speech (This was the case of Rankin v. McPherson). Now try that in the Costco lunchroom. Absent a contract they have every right to fire you without cause, so long as there is no legislation to prevent them from doing so (like the employee antidiscrimination acts). Whether open to the "general public" or to approved members in a private capacity, Costco is private property just like your mother-in-law's condo and if either require you to be disarmed before entering their private dwelling/establishment it is their right to do so.

This is why drugs found by a cop in your niece's apartment without a warrant will be thrown out, but a stolen stereo "of yours" that your roomate took out of your locked room and turned over to the police is admissible. your right to privacy is secured against governmental intrusion, not Floyd intrusion.

The better point would have been to avoid the argument and state that you don't appreciate the way they treat you as a person who excercises his Second Amendment rights and if that is their postion you will not give them your business and see to it that others who think like you know their position so they can do the same.
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:30:20 PM EST

Costco Wholesale is a membership-only warehouse club. It is not open to the general public. It restricts membership to a limited group of qualified individuals who agree to membership conditions.


???
Any schmuck with $45 can get an annual membership.
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 10:30:34 PM EST
I didn't read through the original "Part 1" of this thread, so I don't know if it was brought up, but we went through "Costco and CCW" back in Dec 2004...

archive.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=304599&page=1

Between that and the fact that guys that run it endorsed Kerry, contributed big time to the Democrats and the business is on buyblue.com as a "blue company" I won't have anything to do with them even though my shopping choices are more limited up here and they have a store in Kalispell.

Fuck 'um.
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 11:12:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By Airwolf:
I didn't read through the original "Part 1" of this thread, so I don't know if it was brought up, but we went through "Costco and CCW" back in Dec 2004...

archive.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=304599&page=1

Between that and the fact that guys that run it endorsed Kerry, contributed big time to the Democrats and the business is on buyblue.com as a "blue company" I won't have anything to do with them even though my shopping choices are more limited up here and they have a store in Kalispell.

Fuck 'um.


HQ is in king county, wa. Issaquah to be exact... to put it mildly, i give them one of my many PAC-NW faggot awards.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 1:13:03 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 1:13:34 AM EST by migradog]
It's their house....

So it's their rules.

They have the "right" to set the rules in their house.

You have the "right" to patronize them or not.

If someone wronte me a letter telling me how to run my business
or how I should change the rules in my house, I'd tell 'em to FO!

This is America and we're free to run our businesses and homes
as we please.

.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 2:08:53 AM EST
Vote with your wallet and take your business elsewhere.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 12:24:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By q3131:

Costco Wholesale is a membership-only warehouse club. It is not open to the general public. It restricts membership to a limited group of qualified individuals who agree to membership conditions.


???
Any schmuck with $45 can get an annual membership.

I just keep my old card and wander in for lunch whenever I feel like it. They have good pizza slices.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 12:29:12 PM EST
My wife was wanting to get a Costco membership.

After reading about their policy on ARFCOM they lost a new customer.

Fuck 'em.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 12:33:36 PM EST
Black Ops it's a good fight, but fact is it's there place they make the rulles, just as I do on my own propery.

That said your welcome to CCW at my place, I just don't have bulk dog food and beer
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 12:43:33 PM EST
This is what happens when lawyers get involved, I don't see it changing anytime soon.

I'll still carry every time I go to Costco though..
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 12:43:57 PM EST
I went the rounds with them and eventually canceled my membership. That pissed my wife off and she immediately went and got her own membership.

Now I just go with her when I need to get something there. She pays for it, and I did not sign my rights away.

I have inspected the premises carefully and there are no "No Weapons" signs that I have seen, not that it would mean anything in my state anyway.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 12:47:29 PM EST
I'll check the Winchester VA one next week when I go down. I'll ask what their policy is on Concealed Carry.

Sure will suck if I have to start going to the Sams in the PRM (Peoples RepubliK of Maryland) No CC unless you're a criminal.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 12:50:34 PM EST
DRAW DOWN®
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 12:51:45 PM EST

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
Vote with your wallet and take your business elsewhere.


+1
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 1:25:01 PM EST
For all of the armed robberies occurring within and around Costco warehouses, it is positively laughable that they would say "firearms do not enhance the Costco experience."
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 11:00:38 AM EST
IMO, the 2nd doesn't apply to private property.

However, making them aware that they will lose business with such signs posted is good. Or is it?

Would we not rather these people speak what they think, so that we may know who they truly are? With that knowledge we should take our business elsewhere.

In any case, I appreciate your efforts in communicating with them.
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 11:11:29 AM EST
I like the part about the sign only eliminating customers. I don't think even anti-gun people trip over themselves looking for a grocery store with a "no firearms" sign. The sign only gets rid of customers, it does not bring them in.

A second good point if it is true is that the sign does not effect legal liability or insurance premiums. You should sight a source or a few cases if you can.

These two points speak the Costco language. It addresses their main concerns of customer satisfaction and money.

Hey at least they gave you a good response instead of the standard sorry letter with a coupon!
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 11:23:06 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 11:24:37 AM EST
2nd amendment = protection from the FEDERAL government, no one else.
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 11:33:20 AM EST

Originally Posted By Badseed:
I'm sure a flame will come my way for not honoring my agreement to costco....


I carry anyway. Anytime I see a no weapons sign, I chuckle to myself. All they can do is throw me out.


+1
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 11:42:42 AM EST
I have had a Costco membership for years. I rarely even go there, but it's nice to have that option. I don't care for their anti-gun policy and think that they're ignorant for choosing to have it, but I could really care less. I will continue to CCW while there and no one will be the wiser. And if some wackjob ever goes postal in there, I will defend myself and others. They can cancel my membership at that time (and probably will -- because to liberals, there's NO difference between villianous scum shooting unarmed innocent people, and a hero that uses a gun to save someone's life).
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 11:59:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/26/2006 12:00:20 PM EST by Bed_Head]
I carry at my Costco every time I go. There's no sign there. Plus I agree with the guys who said "concealed means concealed" and "all they can do is throw me off."

True, they have the right to set the rules in their house, but like I said, there's no sign at my Costco *yet*. And I have the right to self-protection. I'm not a criminal going on a shooting rampage, I'm a woman, with myself and 3 children to protect... and king sized groceries to buy.
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 12:12:00 PM EST
SAve the letters. If something ever happens in a COSTCO store involving an attack or assault, and the victim sues, be sure to forward the letters to the attorney.
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 12:21:26 PM EST
Just send them an email every time you visit their store while CCWing.

"Hi, it's me again.

I visited your store with a GUN on me today. Just thought you'd enjoy knowing it.

Sincerely,

The Phantom CCWer"
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 12:29:57 PM EST
Just do what I do.

I carry EVERYWHERE possible. Except if I'm flying somewhere. Signs or no signs.

It's a lot easier to get out of jail than it is to get out of the casket, if you get my drift.

Don't "print", or let anyone know you are carrying, and everything is A-OK!


B
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 6:27:16 PM EST
Costco: a leftwing company that contributes money to anti-gun causes.
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 6:52:31 PM EST
The thing is it isn't really a "members only" shopping experience.

Anyone can walk into the place.
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 6:54:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Costco: a leftwing company that contributes money to anti-gun causes.


+1

They suck.

Fuck Em.
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 6:55:05 PM EST
well thought out argument
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 6:58:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/27/2006 6:59:36 PM EST by Gloftoe]
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 7:07:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By XDBACKUPGUN:

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Costco: a leftwing company that contributes money to anti-gun causes.


+1

They suck.

Fuck Em.


Exactly.



When this came up a year or two ago, I cut their card in half and sent it back to them. Month 11 out of my first year as a member. In accordance with their membership policy, I asked for and received a full refund.

I told them exactly why I wanted it, and that I would be getting a Sams Club membership, from a company who does indeed honor the spirit of the Second Ammendment.

This thread is amazing though. Sneaking to CCW like little kids, or better yet trying to rationalize why a private company has to honor Constitutional protections from the .gov.

Clue: If you have to sneak to do it you are a childish coward.

Clue 2: Private companies piss on the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Ammendments daily.

And its perfectly legal.



Link Posted: 10/27/2006 7:20:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By CavVet:
This thread is amazing though. Sneaking to CCW like little kids, or better yet trying to rationalize why a private company has to honor Constitutional protections from the .gov.

Clue: If you have to sneak to do it you are a childish coward.


Uh no, that is what CCW (CPL in WA but we know that) is, otherwise it is open carry. Do you open carry in all of King County?

Private comanies can make rules, but they cannot remove your rights. If they could, then Dept. of Labor would be powerless. As it is, DL says they cannot remove your rights even if you agree to the "removal" Just try to agree to no lunch break (unless there are unique circumstances), DL will still charge the company and win, right?
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 7:25:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By Gloftoe:

Originally Posted By byron2112:
The thing is it isn't really a "members only" shopping experience.

Anyone can walk into the place.

They can? Around here they check membership cards at the door. Oh, and no "No Firearms" signs on either Costco here in town. Not that a "No Firearms" sign makes a hill of beans of difference in Texas.


Up here ya just need it at checkout... they just give you a howdy when you walk in.
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 7:36:06 PM EST
The only time I won't CCW is in a place forbidden by law, not by some private company. Who are they to tell me where and when I can carry? I'll carry and the only way anyone can stop me is if they actually see the gun and can manage to physically remove it from me. Then somehow, they've violated some laws... I'm not even sure which.

You people actually pay attention to those signs that say "No Guns?" (with exception to places considered unlawful to CCW)

Please...
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 8:30:18 PM EST

Originally Posted By JonnySak:
2nd amendment = protection from the FEDERAL government, no one else.




So if states want to legalise slavery that's their business?
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 9:39:18 PM EST
Good letter.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:03:47 AM EST

Originally Posted By Badseed:
I'm sure a flame will come my way for not honoring my agreement to costco....


I carry anyway. Anytime I see a no weapons sign, I chuckle to myself. All they can do is throw me out.


right on, carry anywhere but a place you are not LEGALLY allowed to, IE gov facilities, bars etc
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 8:32:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By Crowcreek:

Originally Posted By JonnySak:
2nd amendment = protection from the FEDERAL government, no one else.




So if states want to legalise slavery that's their business?


Read the Thirteenth Amendment. Hint, it is the only amendment which restricts private activity. Also, Slavery is a federal crime, and the Supremecy Clause prevents States from enacting laws in conflict with Federal Law.

BTW, JonnySak, you should read the Fourteenth Amendment, It has been interpreted to impose most of the Bill of Rights upon the states. Too the best of my knowledge, there has not been any Supreme Court case law determining whether or not the 2nd Amendment was incorporated by the 14th to apply to the States.

Mark
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 10:24:40 AM EST
If you are found carrying, what are they going to do, ask you to leave?

Screw them. If you want to keep shopping there, keep shopping there, and just don't make it obvious and give them a reason.

The botom line is this: if shopping there benefits you, then it benefits you. Costco isn't going to take a hit simply because a few ARFcommers stop shopping there.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 11:04:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By BrandonP:
If you are found carrying, what are they going to do, ask you to leave?

Screw them. If you want to keep shopping there, keep shopping there, and just don't make it obvious and give them a reason.

The botom line is this: if shopping there benefits you, then it benefits you. Costco isn't going to take a hit simply because a few ARFcommers stop shopping there.


I disagree. They don't support our rights while they avoid making their position public. Ken is doing a great job. Maybe if the NRA gets involved, like in the Conoco Phillips case, Cosco will take the hit.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 1:35:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By XDBACKUPGUN:

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Costco: a leftwing company that contributes money to anti-gun causes.


+1

They suck.

Fuck Em.

I'm sorry, but I missed Part One.

Specifically WHAT anti-gun causes does Costco contribute to and how? Monetarily? What? To be honest, I don't feel like searching throught the archives looking for this... Sorry, but that's the truth, I'm ornery today, and I've got alot on my plate, but I really would like to know. Thank you!
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