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There is a lot of varying rhetoric regarding concealed carry weapons, the ease by which Americans can purchase guns, and whether or not it is wise to allow people to carry in the workplace, given recent events. I want to take some time to discuss the reality behind gun laws, concealed carry, and what a business’ rights are in terms of letting their employees carry while working.
The Second Amendment
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The discussion around the second amendment is a question of interpretation. There are two schools of thought in regard to how the Constitution should be read, and those are the Original Intent and Living Document schools of thought. Those who follow the Original Intent school of thought believe that the second amendment should be interpreted as the Founding Fathers originally intended it to be interpreted, and that is a literal meaning for the purpose of defending against tyrannical government, enemy invasion, and personal protection. Those who follow the Living Document school of thought argue that the Constitution is a living document that should be interpreted as it relates to present day scenarios. They might say that you can easily provide weapons for civilians, but tactical weapons need not be included and that all weapon sales should be heavily regulated.
Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry
In 26 states, it is lawful to open carry a gun without a permit. This means that any individual who can pass a background check and own a gun (or even obtain one illegally) will be able to strap it to their belt for the whole world to see and not get arrested for it. An additional 16 states require you to obtain an open carry license. This leaves 8 states that either do not permit open carry, or only permit it in rural areas. The problem is, open carrying a firearm is asking for trouble. If you go to YouTube and type in “Open Carry” you will pull up thousands of videos of people (who know their rights very well) being stopped by police officers for causing Public Unrest or something of the sort, here is a link to one for your amusement. In any event, it is not wise for anyone to open carry unless it is absolutely necessary.
Concealed carry is illegal without a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit, which can be obtained through a variety of different ways. Some states are considered “May Issue” states and are given full discretion in giving out CCW permits, if they feel that the individual is not of good moral character or does not have a good reason for owning a firearm, they are able to deny the application.
There are also “Shall Issue” states with limited or no discretion toward who gets and does not get a CCW permit. These states do not take into consideration whether or not the applicant has a “good reason” to carry and some states consider the moral character factor. It should also be noted that all of these states have certain restrictions on where you may carry, for example, it is not lawful to conceal carry in a government building or in most banks.
Lastly, there are 6 states that allow individuals to conceal carry without a license at all. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming.
FAQs For Business Owners
This brings up some questions on how business owners should react to CCW permit holders who work with them..
There are a few things you need to know about CCW permits and what you are bringing into your business.
- How liable am I if something happens? All states are different in terms of liability, for example, Wisconsin gives near complete immunity for businesses who allow their employees and customers to conceal carry. That being said, go here to find out what your state’s laws are.
- How will other employees feel if some are conceal carrying? This could be a workplace safety concern for your employees. If you as a business owner are comfortable letting your employees conceal carry, I would recommend instituting a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Ask your CCW permit holders to not talk about it with other employees, but if this is what you enact, you must have confidence that it will be concealed 100% of the time. The reality is that other, non-CCW permit holders will likely feel less comfortable or safe in the workplace if they are aware that their colleagues are carrying. I don’t know what is going through my coworker’s heads, and I don’t know if they are on the edge of snapping because of something going on in their lives. As long as I am not aware that the other individuals have a CCW or are carrying, there is no reason for me to not feel safe.
- Can I ban guns on my company property? The short answer is, yes, you can ban guns on your company property. However, 22 states are saying that, while you can ban guns in the office building, you cannot ban guns in the parking lot. Once again, it is good to stay aware of your state’s laws and if you feel the need to ban guns, just be certain that you do it legally.
- Does this concern my HR department? Yes, yes, absolutely yes. You need to have widely known policies and procedures in handling all gun laws. Businesses that do not have workplace policies will open themselves up to immense liability if something happens. Even if you don’t allow guns on the premises, make sure it says so somewhere in your employee handbook, as well as hanging signs at all entrances.
There is one more thing that is worthy of mention, if you are an employee at a business that bans guns inside the building, but you don’t feel safe without your gun, I recommend that you leave it in the trunk of your car. Keep it under a blanket, or with your spare tire, so that if someone were to break into your car, they wouldn’t find it.
Whether or not you believe that guns deserve more or less regulation, it is important to stay within the law. Laws can (and will) change regularly, it is important that you know what the current laws are, and be aware of them if they change. Just because you disagree with a law, doesn’t mean you are allowed to disobey it. If you disagree with a law, join a group that is advocating to change it and do your part! And as always, be safe while handling a firearm.
SACS Offers Concealed Carry Training
Timothy Dimoff and the SACS Consulting and Investigative Services, Inc. team offer HR consulting services and have extensive knowledge on gun laws and how it relates to your business. If you have questions, want to schedule a training, or if you want to organize a 10+ person customized CCW course, call (330)255-1101 and speak to one of our staff members today!