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Come on in, and bring your gun

Gary Betters said he has gotten comments nearly every day on this sign outside his Rosemount business.

At least one Rosemount business has open arms to welcome anyone who chooses to go armed.

For the past month, a sign outside Rosemount Saw and Tool's South Robert Trail location has featured information about the business on one side and on the other side has read, "We welcome armed customers!"

Owner Gary Betters said the sign is a reaction to the signs banning weapons that started going up after the Minnesota legislature approved a concealed carry law in 2003. That law eliminated some of the barriers to getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon but allowed businesses to post signs banning guns.

The way Betters sees it, though, it's not the people who get licensed to carry a gun he has to worry about.

"We think people don't realize how much of a gift it is we have people who are carrying concealed weapons and know how to use them," Betters said. "It's behavior that we're talking about, not guns. I do believe that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

He also thought the sign was just plain catchy.

Betters, who used to hunt but doesn't currently own any guns, said he gets comments on the sign just about every day, and they're all positive.

Almost as if on cue, a customer walked into the shop and complimented the sign. The customer, who declined to give his name, said he believes the world is safer with responsible gun owners in it.

"Thomas Jefferson said an armed society is a polite society," the customer said. "If you didn't have the Second Amendment, you wouldn't have the first. That'd put (reporters) out of a job."

If Jefferson was right, Dakota County should be a pretty polite place. The Dakota County Sheriff's Department can't give statistics by city, but countywide the department has issued 5,643 concealed carry permits since the law took effect. Since 2008, when the five-year permits started to expire, the department has issued 962 renewals.

Betters said they're all welcome.

"We don't want to ban guns," he said. "We want to ban outlaws. Who would mind signs if they're an outlaw?"

Betters said he'd eventually like to change the sign to a message thanking veterans.