By Dan Kidder
Managing Editor

A recent confrontation between a customer and an employee in a Cedar City, UT Maverik convenience store has Internet rumors abounding that Maverik stores are gun free zones.

The altercation occurred on Wednesday at approximately 1:30 a.m. when a customer entered the store wearing a visible handgun. According to witnesses, the sole employee on duty told the customer that he could not have a gun inside a Maverik store, “as it is against company policy.” He told the customer that he must leave the store immediately. When the customer refused to leave because there was no sign prohibiting firearms, the employee approached the customer in a “threatening manner,” according to witnesses, and attempted to physically force the customer to leave. Police were called, but by the time they arrived, the customer had already left.

According to Nancy Couch, Loss Prevention Director for Maverik convenience stores, Maverik follows state law regarding the carrying of firearms inside their stores and on their property.

“If it is legal in the state it is legal in our stores,” said Couch.

Couch also said they tell customers and employees to be aware of their surroundings and if uncomfortable they should notify police.

The law in Utah allows those who posses a concealed firearms permit to carry a fully loaded firearm concealed or in plain sight and those without a permit to carry a “statutorily unloaded” gun in plain sight. A round may not be in the firing position in a statutorily unloaded gun.

Utah law also allows any private business to prohibit possession of firearms on their property, provided they post signs, personally inform the carrier, hand out a pamphlet or bulletin, or make a general announcement of the prohibition to all present. These private businesses are also required to publish a notice in the newspaper of record where the business is headquartered. They must also notify the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification who will post a list of these businesses on the BCI website. At the time this story was written, there was no notice regarding Maverik Stores on the BCI website.

Failure to leave after being told to is a ticketable trespassing violation.

According to Couch, Maverik management was not aware of the altercation between the customer and the employee until they received a call from Sportsman’s News. Upon review of the case, it appears that the customer and employee had a previous relationship, and the altercation ensued as a result of that, not because of the gun. Couch said the situation was being addressed with the employee but could not elaborate because it was a personnel matter.

Maverik operates more than 80 convenience stores and gas stations in 10 Western states and is based in Wyoming. “Many of our employees have their concealed carry permits,” said Couch. “About 8o percent of them are hunters and fishermen.”