Balancing the need for personal protection with the logistics and legalities of the workplace can be challenging. In the workplace, the need for self-defense must align with adherence to legal regulations and consideration for the comfort of colleagues.

Before you start carrying at work, familiarize yourself with state and local laws. Ensure you have the necessary permits and licenses. By most state laws, concealed carry at work is permitted. However, state and local laws can prohibit carry in certain locations. If you work in a prohibited location, you would be restricted from being armed.

States cannot prohibit employers from limiting concealed carry at the workplace, so you must also check your employer’s policies regarding firearms. Businesses in states that issue concealed carry permits must notify employees if they are not allowed to carry while at work. If it is not addressed, consult your human resources department for clarification.

Are You Allowed to Carry a Gun at Work?

Approaching your boss and asking for a change in the firearms policy is a delicate situation and not one most employees will enjoy jumping into. Start slow. Most businesses have a chain of command, and only you know how seriously your employer takes that chain of command. Depending on your relationship, you might want to ask your immediate supervisor about the appropriate course of action. Remember: Your goal is personal protection, not making a political statement that could cost you your job.

Some of the arguments against concealed carry at work that may come up include suggestions that guns are dangerous; there is no need for employees to have guns in the building; police or security can protect you; armed employees will settle differences with gunfire; it will make people nervous, etc.

To address each of these one at a time, you might start off by pointing out that several independent studies and the FBI crime statistics show there has never been a substantial increase in violent crime when states have enacted concealed carry permit legislation. In fact, the opposite is true. Violent crime has been falling as the number of concealed carry permit holders has grown.

When your boss says there is no need for guns in the workplace, you may wish to point out workplace shootings are not nonexistent. And in nearly every case, the attacker has killed unarmed employees without the means to defend themselves. If the time comes that guns are needed in the workplace, only immediate action will do. In those critical moments, especially in gun-free zones, there will be no time for anything else.

Police response times are dismal, and police officers arriving at a large building will take several more minutes to find the location of the incident. By that time the damage is done. Security guards are typically not armed. If you do have armed security guards on site, look closely and see how easy it is to avoid them. Uniformed security guards are also often targets for ambush. They may well be the first people shot when an attack starts.

Suggesting that armed employees resort to violence to settle a dispute is one of the least convincing arguments against guns in an office. Politely ask your boss why someone was hired if there was even the slightest concern that he or she could be expected to settle differences with violence. Is your company in the habit of hiring untrustworthy, possibly violent people? If the response is that someone may reach a breaking point and turn his or her gun on coworkers, ask what is stopping a disgruntled employee from shooting up his or her office right now? Are there searches or metal detectors on site? If someone heads to the car to get a gun with harmful intentions, how will he or she be stopped?

Finally, there is the issue of making other employees nervous. Remember, we are talking about concealed carry here. The company could have a strict “no brandishing” policy that would allow concealed firearms for personal defense, but severely punish anyone who displays a weapon not needed in an immediate lifesaving situation. And, if all the weapons are concealed, no one will know who is or isn’t carrying. There is no need for anyone to be nervous.

How to Concealed Carry at Work

The easiest way to alleviate a coworker’s nervousness is to ensure you’re carrying the right gun for you in the best holster and wearing appropriate concealed carry clothing that eliminates the possibility of printing.

Selecting a suitable firearm for concealed carry at work involves finding the right balance between concealability and firepower. There is no best firearm for concealed carry, but there is the best firearm for you. Identify your needs and intended use. Consider factors such as size, weight and ease of use. Look into compact options and explore different holsters to find what works best for you. Comfort and accessibility are key factors.

Experiment with various concealed carry positions to find the one that suits you best. Whether it’s appendix carry, inside-the-waistband carry or an ankle holster, practice drawing and holstering your firearm safely. Familiarity and muscle memory are your allies.

Concealing a Firearm at Work

There are plenty of great options for concealing a firearm in an office setting. If you prefer off-body carry, try a briefcase or day planner. Both options should be made specifically for concealed carry. Remember that the gun must be alone in a briefcase storage compartment. Leave nothing else in there that can interfere with the firearm.

A day planner as a concealment device is especially handy because you can lock the day planner in a desk drawer for security when you leave the office. Neither of these options will allow for a quick draw like wearing your gun in a concealed holster. If you hear things going badly, you have the opportunity to acquire your weapon and prepare for your defense.

Another option for having your gun nearby during the workday would be to keep it in your vehicle. Legally keeping a gun in your car hinges on two crucial factors. Firstly, it revolves around whether it’s permissible to possess a loaded handgun in a vehicle. Secondly, it is contingent on the legality of employers prohibiting loaded firearms on their premises.

Some states prohibit having loaded guns in vehicles unless it is on your person. Other states may mandate loaded firearms be secured in a locking container or kept out of sight in a locked vehicle. Transport laws vary by state. The key is to understand the specific transport regulations in your state.

Concerning employers, most states generally permit individuals to keep their handguns in their cars while at work. However, some states grant employers the authority to restrict this on company property. You must also be aware that car carry is expressly prohibited in certain areas, such as schools or prisons, designated as gun-free zones by law.

In some workplaces, like hospitals or factories, employers may offer lockers for employees. If you work for such an employer, check whether your carry gun can be stored in one, enabling you to carry between the locker room and the parking lot.

Always consult your state’s laws to determine the permissibility of storing a pistol in your vehicle and whether your employer can enforce restrictions on doing so.

When Your Employer Restricts Concealed Carry

As frustrating as it might be, some employers just won’t permit concealed carry at work. Steve Brass, in his October 2020 Concealed Carry Magazine article titled “Defending Your Other Castle,” said there are other options when businesses do not allow firearms. Ask your employer if keeping pepper sprays or other defensive devices is permitted in your workplace as an alternative to a firearm. And as with any defensive tools, you will need to train with what you carry, whether it’s a can of OC or something else. Otherwise, it won’t be useful.

If you are confronted by an active shooter and are unarmed, Brass recommends using common items found in an office to slow or stop an attacker. You can throw a garbage can, stapler or chair into an assailant’s face or knees, giving you time to run away and put distance between you and the attacker. Another option is grabbing a fire extinguisher off the wall and spraying it into the intruder’s face, providing an opportunity to take him or her down or escape.

The nationally promoted three-step action plan of RUN, HIDE, FIGHT applies in any workplace, and regular training, along with the drills, helps you become familiar with the nooks, closets and rooms in your business beyond the immediate work area. Investigate the entirety of your office and note where you could hide if you had to flee a deadly threat and could not get out of the building.

Essential Considerations for Workplace Concealed Carry

The ability to remain armed in the workplace is undoubtedly advantageous, but it’s crucial to acknowledge that not all colleagues may feel comfortable with the presence of a firearm in the workplace. Additionally, customers may hold varying viewpoints. Therefore, it is in your best interest to discreetly conceal your firearm while carrying at work.

Carrying concealed at work is a decision that requires careful consideration of logistics, legalities and workplace dynamics. The capacity to protect yourself and possibly even your colleagues from potential dangers is not only a personal benefit but also extends to the well-being of your fellow employees, your employer and, ultimately, society at large. By staying informed, receiving quality firearms training, practicing responsible carry and fostering open communication, you can navigate this aspect of your self-defense journey with confidence.