Personal protection is often given a main reason for owning and carrying a handgun. Hopefully, you feel secure in your home, and, if you stay there all day, the question of protection is covered. However, most of us have to venture out into the world, and that makes the issue of security more complicated. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you enjoy your job), the average person spends half their waking life at work – and that doesn’t include travel time. So, how does one practice the right to carry while staying in compliance with state and federal laws as well as company policies regarding firearms?
Federal and state law prohibit carry in government buildings, financial institutions, public or private schools, law enforcement or correctional facilities, or any time alcohol is being consumed. Additionally, businesses can set policies which prohibit employees from carrying weapons on company property. Add to those private businesses which post signage prohibiting carry. In total, a lot of places don’t want you to bring your gun.
As to government buildings, banks, schools, and correctional facilities, unless you are sanctioned to carry a gun as part of your job, there’s not much room for debate. My advice – don’t carry a firearm unless you want to take the chance of criminal charges.
If you don’t work at one of the above discussed places, whether or not you should carry depends on company policy. If you own your own business, you are in charge of those policies – congratulations! Problem solved! However, if, like me, you work in corporate world, balancing your desire for protection and compliance becomes trickier. Get a copy of your employee handbook and read through it. At my office, concealed carry is covered under the “Violence in the Workplace” policy. It states guns and other weapons are prohibited on company premises, but this restriction does NOT supersede any permits obtained from any government issuing authority which allows private citizens to possess, carry or conceal guns.
Your workplace might have a hard anti-weapons policy and disallow you to carry even if the state says you are permitted to. If so, you have a decision to make. While you may not face criminal charges for carrying at work, the company is justified to fire you if they have an anti-weapon policy in place. In this situation, you have to decide if carrying your weapon is worth the risk of losing your job and accept responsibility if you are let go as a result. If you do opt to carry, the need for complete concealment becomes all the more important. Make sure you holster your firearm in a manner you have practiced and are comfortable with. Take care not to let it slip you are carrying.
For those prohibited from carrying, a compromise could be to secure your weapon in your car while at work. Securing your weapon in your car is also a good choice for those of us that have to visit government or financial institutions over the course of the work day. For information on how to safely secure your weapon, check out this article. Again, not all state laws permit you to keep a gun in your car if your vehicle is on company property and there is an anti-weapons policy in effect.
In summation, if you want to carry on the job, be prepared to do a lot of research. Check out your state laws as well as any policies set by your company. If in doubt, its best to err on the side of caution and not carry until you confirm your employer’s policies.