What You Need To Know To Concealed Carry At Work
Better than trying to write an all-encompassing piece detailing the different laws in 50 states alongside court-specific statutes – we're running down a list of questions in the next few sections that you should ask yourself prior to engaging in concealed carry at work. This is not only for your own safety but also for legal purposes.
Can you conceal carry at work?
That depends. We can't find out for you, but we will tell you how to figure it out for yourself. What you need to look for, what questions you may want to ask of your employer and so on.
Does Your Workplace Prohibit Concealed Carry Through Use Of Posted Legal Notices?
In every state where concealed carry permits are issued, businesses have to notify their employees in clear, legible terms that they are not allowed their constitutional right to ccw while at work – permit or no. This is more than just having it in the employee handbook. It's a declaration similar to how labor laws have to be posted in conspicuous places.
What Do State Laws Say About Concealed Carry At Work?
Concealed carry at work is generally permitted by most state laws…however, this is in a very blanket sense. State laws do prohibit carry in certain locations, and persons working in those locations would thus be prohibited from carrying unless there's a statutory exception.
For instance, Colorado prohibits firearms at public or private colleges, universites and seminaries except if concealed and carried by a permit holder, according to CRS 18-12-105.5.
Most states, however, do not prohibit employers from prohibiting employees from carrying at work.
It also bears mentioning that plenty of businesses operate out of a leased building which may be shared by other non-related entities. Your employer may have no policy, but the building management may prohibit firearms. While signage itself may not carry the force of law, you may be asked to disarm or leave if discovered to be carrying by building management. Failure to comply would be an act of trespassing.
Additionally, the type of employer you work for can play a part – if you work for a school district, at the courthouse or in a federal building, for instance.
That said, most states generally recognize the right of an employer to prohibit concealed carry on their premises if they see fit.
How do you find out if concealed carry at work is prohibited? Checking with the building owner and your manager.
Concealed Carry At Work: Taking Chances With Your Career
We probably shouldn't be talking about this, but people in the concealed carry community do. They do so frequently, and in the forums of websites and on social media all over the internet. So we're going to bring it up.
What do you do if your employer forbids concealed carry in the workplace.
Basically, people fall into two camps: conceal and risk it, or take no chances and leave your gun in the car and/or at home.
We aren't going to tell you which you should do. In fact, we urge you to follow all applicable federal, state and local laws at all times. We would never, ever suggest you do anything to put your employment, income security or career in jeopardy. We urge you to make the most responsible, prudent choice for yourself.
Instead, we are acknowledging that this debate exists. There are some people that risk their jobs every day by carrying an effectively concealed firearm and there are also plenty of people that have their permit, take training and carry everywhere else they can but don't take the gun into the office.
The point is that this is something you'll have to reconcile for yourself.
Will The Weapon Be On Your Person The Entire Time?
Plenty of workplaces have locker rooms or places where employees put their jackets and personal items prior to starting their shift. Will your firearm be located in this area? Is it secured? In some jobs it simply isn't practical or feasible to carry a firearm. In the event you need to store it, ensure it is both legal and safe to do so.
Can A Weapon Be Stored In Your Vehicle?
For those who ask "can I CCW at work?" and discover the answer is in the negative, the first alternative is usually to keep one's carry gun in their car. Is keeping a gun in the car legal?
Whether it's legal to keep a gun in the car comes down to two factors. First is whether it's legal to have a loaded handgun in a vehicle and second is whether it's legal for employers to prohibit loaded firearms on the premises.
Some states, such as Washington, prohibit a loaded gun of any kind in a car unless you have a permit and the gun is concealed on your person. Some states, such as Illinois require any loaded firearms to be secured in a locking container or hidden from view in a locked vehicle.
Some states, such as Delaware, prohibit concealing handguns in a vehicle. Again, it depends on the transport laws of your state.
As to employers, most states generally allow for people to keep their handgun in their car while at work. Some states, however, do give employers the right to forbid it on company property and some states, such as Ohio and Texas, have passed laws specifically prohibiting employers from forbidding storage in employee's vehicles.
However, it should be noted that car carry is prohibited by statute in certain areas, such as schools, prisons and so on, that are "gun free zones" as dictated by law.
Some employers, such as hospitals or factories, may provide lockers to employees. You should check to see if your carry gun can be stored in one, should you work for such an employer. You may be able to carry between the locker room and the parking lot.
Be sure to consult your state's laws to determine if you can store a pistol in your vehicle and if your employer can prohibit doing so.
Advocating For Concealed Carry in the Workplace
Sometimes business owners don't fully understand the value of ccw carry at work. Whether it was accidentally overlooked by human resources or purposefully omitted – you may be the best person to advocate for concealed carry.
Are you willing to have that conversation with your manager and human resources? In states such as Illinois where concealed carrying is a new factor – many businesses may be under-educated as to the value. If you wish to be able to conceal at work, you may have to become the advocate for it.
Pursuing Every Day Carry in the Workplace
Every day carry means carrying everywhere you are legally allowed to, every single day of the year you're physically able. It's not a burden. It's a lifestyle that provides peace of mind.
However, your employer and your colleagues may not share your enthusiasm for Second Amendment rights.
Many companies' employee handbooks may not even cover the topic of concealed carry in the workplace. When in doubt, read it to see if there is an active policy in place preventing you from carrying a firearm. If you can't find anything, having a conversation with HR or management may be profitable.
Some businesses allow for employees to discuss rules and work with management. If so, consider talking with your boss about the benefits of having legally armed employees in the building.
It's one added step for security and more importantly, it drives home the value you have for the workplace. If you don't feel comfortable broaching this topic and notice that the employee rules and regulations is missing a section on employee-held firearms, consider proposing the rules incorporate lawful concealed carry. Fellow colleagues may support such an initiative.
Benefits of Having Legally Armed Employees
Employees are the greatest asset to a company. They produce the means of providing a product or service, so the employer may look at the bigger picture. Their ability to defend themselves reflects the employer's respect for their employees' responsibility.
Some companies are starting to catch onto responsible concealed carriers being a force multiplier in terms of keeping employees and customers safe. Some time ago, a T-Mobile employee used his concealed carry handgun to neutralize two armed robbers in a store in Chicago, successfully defending himself, others and the business. While T-Mobile is generally “gun free,” the manager deduced that the action of his employee avoided even greater risk.
Additionally, lawfully-carrying employees are an extra layer of security for customers.
Encouraging Concealed Carry at The Workplace and Outside of It
CCW and work are perfect partners, but it shouldn't stop there. Employee culture is important to longevity. Actively encouraging employees to embrace concealed carry and even giving incentives for them to practice, take additional concealed carry training, and purchase the right handgun is just going one step further to demonstrate you value them.
Good employers care about employees inside and outside of work. Concealed carry every day, inside and outside the workplace, is a great first step. Encouraging additional training and even showing them some safety procedures like getting a holster with great retention and adjustable cant are all ways to show this.
Additionally, carrying concealed in a business suit is a low impact, easily hidden practice that won’t interrupt workflow nor long meetings.
When In Doubt – Don't Print
Not all jobs are in an office setting. For those who travel to do repairs or perform services, ccw for work is a piece of mind when traveling to different locations. Carrying a concealed firearm can mean the difference between defending your life and being robbed out in the middle of nowhere. If you're unsure what your company policy is, the best plan is to simply be “out of sight, out of mind.”
Do not reveal you are armed carrying in a great concealed carry holsters that are comfortable on the road or out in the field. If you're worried about the gun sagging and needing to be adjusted, consider purchasing a gun belt consisting of two layers of 14 oz. English Bridle Leather, a spring-steel reinforced core, and stitching that's built to last against whatever you throw at it.
While it is certainly a benefit to be able to stay armed in the workplace, not all of your colleagues may be comfortable with a firearm being present in the workplace. Customers also may have differing viewpoints. Therefore, it behooves you to conceal and stay in that state while carrying at work.
We all want to finish the work day and head home to spend quality time with those we love. Being available to protect yourself and perhaps even fellow colleagues from danger is a benefit to yourself, your fellow employees, your employer and furthermore society at large.
To assist with your training for day to day carry, check out our free downloadable targets to use at the range.