Reforming State Laws on How Businesses Can Ban Guns: “No Guns” Signs, Property Rights, and the First Amendment

Every state has different regulations regarding how businesses can ban guns. Some states mandate that specific signs be posted in specific places while other states say nothing on the issue. This Note first establishes that even under Heller and McDonald, private business owners have a right to control their private property, which includes a right to prohibit their customers from carrying firearms into their buildings. It then introduces some states’ requirements for “No Guns” signs and examines their weaknesses, particularly from a First Amendment, compelled speech perspective. The Note concludes that some current state regulations are ineffective, unclear, and outright unconstitutional. It then proposes a uniform model regulation for state adoption which features a standard, simple sign design.