Barber shop owner feels heat from open carry ban choice - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Barber shop owner feels heat from open carry ban choice

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The sign at Jose's Barber Shop, located at Sixth Street and Central Avenue, went up when open carry became law. He says he wanted a "neutral environment," but the response he got wasn't so neutral.

Jose Montanez aims for VIP treatment at his barber shop.

"If you want to look like a movie star, this is the place to come in," he said.

But don't try carrying a gun down the red carpet at his place, at least not out in the open.

"If somebody walks into the establishment with a gun in their hand, I am automatically going to assume it's bad news," Montanez said.

It's a decision the shop owner made when open carry came into effect, customers like Harry Ramirez didn't even think twice about.

"I'm not against the open carry, but there's moderation to everything. It makes no sense to bring a gun into a barber shop," Ramirez said.

Some customers, though, thought otherwise.

Montanez' Facebook page began filling with comments like:

"I know where I'm not getting my hair cut."

"I'll get my hair cut somewhere else."

"Would never consider doing business there now."

The type of responses threw Montanez and others for a loop.

"In a family setting, why would that be surprising? That's what shocks me," Ramirez said.

"A lot of people were making a big deal about it," Montanez said.

He said he gets plenty of kids in the shops, plus their moms, and he thinks open carry would scare some of them.

"We want to keep a neutral environment in here," Montanez said.

While many parents in the shop voiced their support for Montanez' decision, it looks like one man's neutral is another man's stand. Montanez has accepted that he may have fewer feet on his red carpet, at least for now.

"Even if they go to another shop, I guarantee they're not going to look like a movie star," he said.

Montanez has two shops - one in Kansas City, KS, and another on Johnson Drive in Shawnee, KS. He said he's received some negative feedback from customers at both locations.

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