Firearms in the Workplace? Winning Over the Leadership Team

Good people go to work every day. Sadly, many good people are left defenseless at work because of shortsighted anti-gun policies instituted by their employers. How can that be corrected?

Approaching your boss and asking for a change in the firearms policy is a delicate situation and not one most rank-and-file employees will really enjoy jumping into. But if you have the guts, or, better yet, the kind of boss who will actually listen with an open mind, here are some suggestions.

Start low: 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 what would be the right move. Remember: Your goal is personal protection, not making a political statement that might cost you your job.

HR is there for a reason: The Human Resources Department is supposed to be the intermediary between labor and management. This could also be a means to get your ideas presented to those higher up the chain. But again, tread lightly. This is an emotionally charged issue and you can bet that most companies would rather maintain a quiet status quo than rock the boat for any reason.

Appeal to logic: As I stated above, this is an emotional issue. Some people are so emotional about gun rights they can’t even think straight when the topic comes up. You can’t play into that emotion. You must be the one who is calm and rational during the entire discussion.

Some of the arguments that will come up may likely 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 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 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 there have been workplace shootings 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. There will be no time for anything else.

Police response times are dismal, and police officers arriving to 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 will go all “Wild West” is just about the silliest thing I have ever heard. 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 “snap” and go on a rampage, ask what is stopping a person from snapping and rampaging right now? Are there searches or metal detectors on site? If someone “snaps” and heads to the car to get a gun, 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 life-saving 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.

These are all common sense tips, but let’s face it—there is very little common sense on the anti-gun side of this debate. Tread lightly. It is a touchy topic.