"Novelty items" that can get you in trouble legally

My daughter gave me a rug (similar to the one below) after I started working for the USCCA because she thought it was funny - and it is funny because we know that is our intent with that rug. It is a joke. However, I couldn’t in good conscious put the rug outside - I didn’t want it used against me in court.


These types of novelty items can be funny, but they aren’t worth the risk or added fuel to a prosecutors fire. The homeowner in this blog article is already in enough hot water without his novelty sign…


What other novelty items about guns/carrying have you seen that make you cringe?


Someone got me a non gun free zone sign for my front door. I hung it on the inside with another sign saying you’ve figured that out by now


Like that rug. I have a short story that may make a smile. Like the County Permit Sticker for the alarm
system, that is posted on the front door and I have cameras too. I like the Red, White, and Blue USCCA
Sticker and I added that to the glass door. One night I set off the alarm and I ran out of time to cancel
that false alarm and I was greeted by a Sheriff Officer at that door. I clear that alarm, but the OFFICER
did not like that sticker. He is a neighbor and he knows now that I conceal and carry that same Glock 27
.40 caliber pistol. I was at home and complete silence. I have been taught not to wear tee shirts and have
any bad bumper stickers too. : ( !

William Smith

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Why didn’t the officer not like the sticker, William?


He ( Officer ) knows that I installed security cameras to my home and two neighbors, due to theft in our
cars and sheriff did help much until some stole a firearm out of a friend’s car one night and the bad guy was making people nervous, he was caught at 3 am. The officer knows me and he is a neighbor too.
When I refused to let him into my home LEGALLY due to the alarm. Well He knows know that I am armed. His comments, sticker USCCA (red, white, and blue) was in eye level and I answered his QUESTIONS. Respectfully! I do not drink alcohol or do bad drugs Appreciate the USCCA and your help. I am clean! Be careful of saying on TEE shirt, cars, and your front door.

Thank you

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“If you are reading this sign, you’re in range.”
“Shoot, shovel, shut up.”
“Guns don’t kill people, Daddy’s with pretty daughters do.”
“Due to the cost of ammo, don’t expect a warning shot.”

I see signs like these in various stores all over.


Good one and very clear, to the point. I have run into a couple of police officers that they are masters at want they do and attitudes, actions, and their egos get the best of them. Stay safe and have a great day.

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This is a good thread. I personally subscribe to the “Gray Man” theory and try to go unnoticed in life. My state allows open carry but I dont recommend it to the people I discuss firearms with. First, it defeats the gray man concept. Second, I seldom see anyone who open carriers with a quality retention holster. Third, it pushes public opinion away from support for firearms ownership.


I disagree with your last statement. I’m not saying it can’t do as you have said, however I do open carry from time to time. Here in Michigan Open Carry is growing in popularity, primarily because you have to be 21 to get a CPL and you can Open Carry at 18. My experience has been that people get curious enough to ask questions. We can’t improve support for our cause without those conversations. Firearms aren’t allowed where I work, but I’m known as the gun guy. Not because I know more than others, I’m just more inclined to talk about it in a civil manner. I have coworkers come to me with questions all the time. And that all started with coworkers seeing me open carrying.

It’s useful, there is a time and place. But, no I disagree that it takes away our support. Do it right, do it intentionally and it’s an extremely useful tool in garnering support for firearms ownership.


Justin I’m glad you live in a place where you can choose the type of carry that works for you. It’s just my personal experience after 40 years of carrying a firearm both professionally and as a private citizen that C/C presents fewer risks and complications. Good luck and thanks for replying.


@Michael7 and @Spence - I would say it really depends on where you live and your demeanor when you carry. Some people will be turned off by open carrying no matter what. While others who are on the fence about firearms would definitely benefit from seeing a responsibly armed American openly carry - responsibly.


I am not a fan of open carry but respect those who do. There are times where I may make a quick trip in to a store and not put on a jacket, leaving my weapon exposed.
My biggest concern with many who I have seen openly carrying is their choice of holster. I have seen several with old west type holsters any may with concealed carry holsters without any retention protection.
When I was in uniform, my weapon was obviously open carried, but, I used, as required, a double retention holster. My web gear for my tactical uniform had a triple retention holster based upon a greater likelihood of action as opposed to when class A uniform. In either case. It was near impossible that the weapon would get upholstered accidentally and difficult for an attacker to disarm me, although we regularly trained for retention in a fight.
Most concealed carry holsters have no or minimal retention and should not generally be used for open carry in my opinion.


Using the right holster is important when carrying - and especially so when you’re open carrying, you’re very right on that @MikeBKY!


Mersonal policy is “no signage of any kind”! Since I began to CC a few years ago, I have been given/offered a wide range of stickers, decals, tshirts, and what-all. These usually bear some arms or ammo manufacturer’s logo, or a gun owner organization emblem, and the ‘joke’ sayings as listed above. I don’t buy any of them, and the ones that come as part of the packaging with a purchase are tossed in a drawer. I have several reasons for this prohibition even though I live in rural KY, which is a pretty gun-friendly place.

First, as a matter of personal style, I have never been attracted to logo or message clothing of any subject. I prefer to let my actions speak louder than my tshirt.

Second, I don’t open carry in public even though it is legal here. That’s not because I particularly care what people whom I don’t know think of me, but because their reaction may cause an unnecessary and time-wasting distraction in my day. I also believe that as a CD permit holder, “concealed” is as important as “carry”. Under ordinary conditions, in a bad situation, open carry may make you the first target.I

Third, displaying gun related emblems on my clothing, car window or bumper, front door, garage or work shed, etc, is the best way I can think of to advertise that there are probably guns worth stealing here.

And lastly, under the “God forbid” heading, if I am ever called to account for my actions with a firearm, I don’t want to give “ammunition” to an agenda driven investigator or prosecutor. All those stickers and t-shirts and mugs and door mats and joke targets with crosshairs make it easier for them to paint a picture of me as some trigger happy gun nut who spends his days just hoping for someone to shoot.I

I prefer to fly under the radar, prepared to defend if necessary but otherwise unnoticed.

The man who stands at a strange threshold should be cautious before he cross it. Glance this way and that: who knows beforehand what foes may sit awaiting him in the hall?


Great points, @David38!


When I carry my 1911 open I ALWAYS use at least a level II. MY gun, keep your hands off, thank you so very much.


I like the stickers, but other than a USCCA decal on my truck, the others get affixed to things like ammo boxes, range log books, etc. And I enjoy morale patches also, some of which (NONE jokes) are affixed to my range bag. I always have my blood-type and no allergies patches on the top of the bag. USCCA in on the side. Flag and Army patches are on the front. I need to get pix…


Just finished re-reading the article. This guy is in it DEEP. I wasn’t there and am just going by what the article says. There could very well be MUCH more to this than we know. Read the Zimmerman case as an example of that.

“It is clear from the video that the suspect (Combs) was retreating away from Trotter as Trotter fired his handgun,” the complaint said.

Shots in the back CAN happen and be legal, but with video showing a RETREAT? We don’t shoot to kill, we shoot to STOP, and this guy had voluntarily stopped by retreating.

He spoke openly to police at the scene, saying, “I pull up and he’s by my door.” He added, “I told him, ‘Don’t move,’ he moves, and I let three or four rounds go. I see blood, so I think I hit him. I tried to hit him.”

Comply: Follow all police instructions.
Explain: “I was attacked, feared for my life & had to defend myself.”
Identify: Point out evidence, witnesses, and attacker.
Medical: Request medical attention, if necessary
Silence: “I will cooperate 100%, but first I need my attorney.”
(Do not talk further without your lawyer present.)

This is also not Trotter’s first case of using a firearm. In 2013, he shot and wounded a would-be robber. And while no charges were filed in that case, and it cannot be introduced at trial, there is no doubt a jury will be aware of it.

This older case may very well be re-opened, depending upon the outcome of this case.

Two of Trotter’s shots hit the house across the street.

Know what is in front of and behind your target. Again, I wasn’t there, but he owns the bullets.

Finally, as if all that weren’t enough, a sign by Trotter’s front door reads, “NO TRESPASSING! VIOLATORS WILL BE SHOT. SURVIVORS WILL BE SHOT AGAIN!” If you think that will have no effect on a jury, you are deluding yourself.

You cannot shoot someone just for simple trespassing. And he is plainly saying (meaning it that way or not) that he shoots to KILL, not to stop.


I occasionally wear a Walther for Ruger t-shirt. Other than that, no stickers or signs anywhere. No point in advertising as a few others have mentioned. I do have a funny Target hanging up in my garage, but anyone who has made it that far is probably friendly. Absolutely no open carry unless I was walking around my own land.


I wear a lot of USCCA shirts (I know, shocking! :rofl: ) Not everyone knows what the USCCA is - yet.

I went into a gun range with my son a couple of weeks back, they tried to sell me a USCCA membership. My son laughed and told the guy behind the counter that I’m already a member. :wink:

So I do “advertise” carrying, but it can easily be said it’s promoting the company I work for if I ever get in a situation where I have to legally defend my physical self-defense.