should I tell my employer that I’m bringing a legal concealed weapon to work?

A reader writes:

I have been hesitating writing in on this, because I know it will boggle the minds of many of your international readers, and I’m sure I’ll be filleted in the comments, but I genuinely would like to ask someone objective.

I have a concealed carry permit that permits me to carry a concealed firearm anywhere it’s legal. I live in a city with a very high violent crime rate, I am often either working late or coming in early (sometimes the last one in and/or out of the office, and I live by myself (all my family members are several states away). When I carry the pistol, all safeties are active, I never touch it/play with it/mess with it during the day, and I wear clothing such that people don’t even know I have a firearm (even family and friends, who know I carry, can’t tell when I’m carrying and when I’m not). I practice weekly and attend training classes regularly. I view my pistol as akin to a seat belt – everyday I put it on and pray I never need it, but if I need it, I’m glad I have it.

According to state statutes, it is legal to carry in my building (default in my state is that it’s legal unless otherwise posted, with a few exceptions). Assorted employee handbooks and guides at my company make absolutely no mention of guns (though this could be due more to oversight than deliberation, since my company is fairly small). Although some people at my office are aware of my interest in firearms (I have a local range’s bumpersticker on my car), no one at the office knows I carry.

In conversation with family recently, my mother, who has been fairly supportive of my efforts to get my permit and continued training, was horrified that I carry in my office. My reasoning — that it does me no good to leave it locked in a safe in my car (and that it’s more secure on me than in my car), that no one will find out unless they are touching me somewhere they shouldn’t be touching me anyway, and that I’m not going to start shooting people — does not sway her at all. Her rock hard stance that my firearm should be left in the car (which puts me back in the same position of being in the office and walking to my car alone) has led me to doubt myself. I did not make the decision to carry a firearm lightly, especially at work, but I am curious – would you, as a manager, consider this a fireable offense (when there is no policy or anything like that against it)? Do you think it’s unethical of me to carry in the office without telling my employer?

Well, I’d be pissed as hell if I found out that one of my employees was bringing a gun to work every day and hadn’t bothered to mention it to me. So I think you should talk to your employer and see where they stand on this.

That said, it turns out that what I think is at odds with what the law requires in most states that allow concealed weapons. I ran your question by my father-in-law, a former Secret Service agent who now does security consulting (and yes, I do often wish for a Robert De Niro/Meet the Parents-style lie detector situation), and he told me something I never would have guessed: In nearly all states that allow concealed gun carrying, if an employer wants to prohibit employees from bringing guns into the workplace, they have to post clear notices to that effect throughout their workplace (and in some cases, these notices must contain specific language defined by law). So they can ban it, but the notification requirements are higher than most people would probably expect — i.e., a no-guns policy in the handbook isn’t enough, and neither is a “Hey, Jane, stop bringing your gun to work” conversation. (You can read more on this here and here.)

In any case, here’s what concerns me about you bringing your gun to work, regardless of the law: From an ethical and philosophical standpoint, I think that your employer should get to make the call on whether there are guns in their workplace — just like I think people should get to make the call on whether there are guns in their home. I get that the law says otherwise, but I think it should be their call anyway.

Furthermore, if the fact that you’re carrying a gun at work comes out at some point, I think it’s going to be a pretty incendiary issue in your office. Your coworkers are likely to feel that they had a right to know they’ve been working near a deadly weapon every day.

And last, while you sound like a wholly responsible gun owner, that doesn’t change the fact that you (presumably) don’t have years of experience in dealing with hostile situations and the effects of adrenaline. If something causes you to fire your gun in or around your workplace and adrenaline makes you miss and hit someone else … well, I think your employer deserves to be part of that risk calculation, rather than you making it on your own.

Now, I freely admit that these views are heavily colored by my own personal stance on guns. (I happen to be fairly libertarian on gun policy, but don’t particularly want them around me while I work.) And they’re apparently at odds with what the law is likely to be in your state.

But ultimately, I think it comes down to this: In choosing not to tell your employer, you’re denying them the ability to have a say in something I think impacts them. (Of course, you’re also lowering the chances that they’ll forbid you from carrying it and post any required signs in order to make that edict legally compliant.) But I advocate erring on the side of transparency when you’re in doubt on something affects others, and so I vote for transparency here as well.

Note: I know this issue is a heated one, so I’m requesting that we refrain from a debate on gun laws in the comment section — where each side of the issue is highly unlikely to convince the other side — and instead stay focused on the question posed here by the letter-writer.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 593 comments… read them below }

  1. Annie O*

    Years ago, an employee at my job asked if he could carry a concealed weapon in the building. At that time, there was no official policy. In response to the question, the company banned all weapons on the premises and posted signs to that effect at all entrances. The employee is still here, but his guns are not.

    1. Lisa*

      I think that they will do this. Or they will require him to turn the gun into a safe at the office during work hours. I would actually be ok with that if my employee didn’t feel safe leaving the building at night. Ok, bring the gun in, but you can’t have it on your person – buy a safe and leave it in your locked office when you are not in your office.

    2. Robert*

      Carrying a firearm is a big responsibility, which it seems this lady takes it seriously as she stated she practices, and trains. The whole idea of concealed carry is to not know. You obtained a permit, the weapon itself is not deadly unless you or someone makes it deadly. The bottom line is people fear what they dont understand. It may be highly unlikely that youll ever need your gun but I can bet you any amount of money that if some crazed maniac comes in the office at work and decides to shoot up the place it gives you a fighting chance. I am all for guns, education, and safety. We as people have to get over this mentality that guns are bad. People are bad, and thats been this way for many years, and sometimes a good guy with a gun is what it takes to stop a bad guy with a gun. If I were you I wouldnt say anything, just keep doing what your doing, you are responsible and recognize that you are not going to ever be a victim and thats great. More guns equal less crime. Statistical fact people, thats not me being biased and I am biased I love firearms and I love the gun culture. The key word here is education. Good gear, a good plan, and a good mindset is being whats called proactive. To many people want to be victims and this day in age thats not what we need. We as a society need to wake up and stop demonizing inanimate objects and look at the real problem. A woman who legally obtained her permit, is responsible, and acknowledges the importance of safety is not someone who is going to come into the office and shoot the place up. A gun is like a prachute, if you ever need it and dont have it, you’ll probably never need it again. Stay alert, sorry if I offended anyone, I am a patriot, I believe in freedom and the constitution of the united states. I take that back, I am not sorry, you want to protect yourself and possibly your co-workers I applaud that and I hope and pray you get to keep carrying on. Take care and I wish you all the best!

      1. Jeff Kline*

        As far as you know what? That the stats are there proving that more guns means less crime? Those stats are very real and on the governments own pages.

  2. CanadianWriter*

    This is horrifying. What if you shoot a coworker? A delivery guy who you mistake for an intruder? Some kid in the parking lot who approaches you for something innocent?

      1. some1*

        No offense, but every gun owner I know thinks he’s “safe and responsible”. It’s sort of like thinking you’re a good driver or good employee — you have a vested in your own opinion on those subjects.

        1. sunny-dee*

          Except there are statistics to back that up. That doesn’t apply to an individual, of course, but as a group, gun owners are more responsible with guns and less likely to shoot someone *wrongfully* than a cop, less likely to pull their gun than a cop, and less likely to commit a crime than the general population. Concealed carry owners don’t get there accidentally.

          1. some1*

            I don’t think statistics make any difference on whether the LW can objectively decide whether he’s a safe gun owner.

          2. EJ*

            [citations needed]

            I’m a bit confused – of course armed civilians pull a gun and shoot less than a cop, since cops are actively placed in situations that might require this.

            That said, if law allows people to carry concealed weapons unless otherwise posted, then this comes down to whether the OP is willing to take on the consequences of having a gun in the office (e.g. Accidental discharge or shooting, theft and use of the gun by someone else, potential conservative opinions of coworkers).

            1. Aisling*

              …of course armed civilians pull a gun and shoot less than a cop, since cops are actively placed in situations that might require this.


              1. goodguywithgun*

                Not true, there are plenty of armed civilians who are into the gun culture and know the responsibility it is to be a watchdog among sheep. Carrying a gun is a serious decision. Most gun owners realize this and many situations and circumstances have proves that law abiding concealed carry permit holders have deterred crime or saved someone’s life before a police officer has arrived. Training and getting trained is not hard to do I have been around firearms my whole life. You simply apply the 4 rules of firearm safety and practice its not a big deal. It might just be me but I feel a lot safer where there are guns and I know that I am in a gun friendly state vs a high crime city that is anti gun. For example I used to work nights in Camden New Jersey and that is one of the most anti gun cities/New Jersey anti gun states in the country and never felt safe working there. I always saw cops going by and luckily for me I worked in a secure key locked building but I still had to go to my car and it was just a bad neighborhood. I carry my firearm everyday now and it’s not an issue. Its concealed I don’t show it or flash it around or if someone cuts me off on the road I don’t feel like I’m going to shoot the person. I have a great deal of respect for firearms and it is simply on my person in the event that someone decides to shoot up a place I have a fighting chance. That’s what most people don’t understand, just because I carry a gun on a daily basis and someone does decide to go postal it doesn’t mean I still won’t get shot or killed it just means I have a fighting chance. Most people don’t think about that. Be safe, practice,and train. If you are a responsibly armed citizen it is your duty and obligation to be familiar with your weapon and know the laws and you are responsible for your actions. Its a pretty simple concept really, and no amount of govt regulations or laws would make me feel differently. Be responsible and carry on:) Fyi, police usually show up after everything has happened just for the record. You might be in a situation one day where you’d hoped someone was there with a gun to take out the psychopath like the shooter in Colorado or the Newtown school shooting. These people are cowards and prey on innocent victims and the majority of the time they are not looking to get into a shootout, they are what they are, cowards and sick deranged psychopaths. Sorry for the rambling I just feel very strongly about the subject and I know that there are no good guns or bad guns. Just good people and evil people, the gun is simply a tool and I choose to use that tool to preserve and to protect life, not take it.

          3. MousyNon*

            I’m not sure where you’re getting your stats from, but accurate wrongful shooting stats are notoriously hard to acquire, as they’re not made available by local law enforcement and are not collected by the federal government. Even if they were available, your conclusion seems pretty flawed.

            Statistics (that ARE widely available, though I won’t link here since it’ll send me to the queue) indicate that guns are 4-5 times more likely to be used in unintentional/accidental shootings than that are in self defense, so I do think that the fears coworkers may have about a colleague having one on the premises are reasonable ones.

            1. Rich Lewis*

              Not at all accurate. There are many of defensive uses of firearms per year in the USA (if not more). Check your facts first and post your sources instead of using a comment “that ARE widely available, though I won’t link here since it’ll send me to the queue”. Even the CDC says the estimates of defensive gun use are inaccurate, but even with those inaccuracies, your statement does not hold up.

              Statistically, a CCW holder is a responsible gun owner who wants to protect themselves. The coworkers need to fear the non-lawabiding person who does not care about gun laws or signs that say “no guns”.

              Also, here is a link:

          4. Chinook*

            A responsible gun owner is less likely to pull a gun than a cop because they are less likely to be a life threatening situation than a cop, not because cops are less responsible than a cop. DH points out that his rowing up on the scene in uniform is enough to escalate a situation (and is part of the “use of force wheel” taught to all Canadian police officers) and that is with him just showing up and stating who he is. Gun owners who conceal their weapons don’t escalate a situation the same way because they are not scene a threat to someone’s liberty or life.

        2. UmmmHuh*

          If that’s the case, then I don’t want people driving to work either. If I work with 300 people, and 1 has a gun, but 240 have cars, I don’t like those odds.

          1. Jo*

            Do you wear a seat belt? That is the precaution you take JUST IN CASE there is the accident that you didn’t plan on and hope never happens. Carrying is like wearing a seat belt. I probably wont need it, but if I do need it I’ll be glad you had it on.

      2. Madge*

        You cannot say that. All gun owners think they are responsible. But not all of them are.

        1. TL*

          We can say, based on the LW’s evidence, that she has taken all the steps necessary to be a responsible gun owner (classes, practicing, safety and risk assessments).

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      I don’t think there’s any need to jump to that sort of conclusion when the OP seems to be level-headed, consistently trained, and interested in the legal and ethical standpoint at hand. There’s enough to discuss in the OP’s actual question.

    2. Bryan*

      I think this is what we should try and stay away from in the comments. The only question we should be discussing is “should I tell my employer.” Not what should the policy be, should I bring it to work etc.

    3. Advocate*

      I have a concealed carry permit (CCW) and have also been through advanced tactical training (the same type the police go through, where you use simunition and learn how to deal with adrenaline charged situations). Ironically, I can not carry at work, although it is a violent neighborhood where two women were shot just blocks from my office in the last year. I deplore gun violence, although unfortunately, the bad guys do not.

      It might surprise you to know that there are arguments against disclosing that you have a concealed carry permit. The police who trained me worked as SWAT instructors and were very highly trained themselves. We were advised to get a separate concealed carry card rather than to have it on our driver’s license. Why? Because it will needlessly alarm the general public who don’t understand the training process, and because the whole benefit of concealed carry is the fact that it is NOT disclosed. That element of surprise is both your defense and deterrent – the bad guys can never be sure if you are armed or not. To get the permit, you are background checked seven ways from Sunday before you can even take the class. If you have your CCW, you are one of the “good guys”. In our school, out of the hundreds of people who passed training and got their CCW, only seven have ever had to use it. Because they followed procedure, none of those seven people were ever successfully sued. I advocate for anyone with their CCW to receive every bit of training that they can, and I would urge anyone with concerns on CCW to sign up for a class or to learn more.

      1. KrisL*

        My argument for concealed carry is that I’d rather the bad guys were afraid that I might be carrying a gun.

    4. aebhel*

      This is the same argument that suggests that people shouldn’t be allowed to carry concealed weapons anywhere in public–ie, not the point of this letter, even if that is how you feel about the situation.

    5. mr man*

      you aren’t suppose to even draw your firearm unless it is clear that you are in a life threatening or serious bodily harm engagement. Even if you are under threat, you can only legally draw to shoot if you have no way of retreating from the situation. if someone shoots a random innocent, then they are probably not legally carrying in the first place . . . there is a training program you have to do in order to obtain a CCW permit.

      1. Fact check*

        Only if that state does not have stand your ground laws or castle doctrine. (Ohio) says I don’t have to retreat from my car, house, or property before I draw and fire.

        Stand your ground says you need not make any effort to retreat. Depends on the state pal

    6. Nathan*

      Those are pretty big “what ifs.” I would answer those questions with, why would she shoot a coworker, how would you confuse the delivery man for an intruder unless he’s not in proper uniform and climbing through a window or something, and lastly, she would have no reason to reach for her gun AND shoot some kid if he didn’t say/do something threatening to her.

    7. RL*

      I love how absolutely no one gets along, agrees or has the same point of view as anyone else these days. People are stupid and that’s why I carry.

  3. TL*

    My grandfather carries a gun at all times, as does my older brother – with the exception of being offshore – and while I would not be happy to find out that someone was carrying a gun at work, I don’t think I would feel the need to raise a big fuss about it, nor would I feel betrayed if someone didn’t tell me.

    But I’m from Texas and my grandma occasionally pops her pistol in her handbag when going out, so I just tend to assume that more people than you know are carrying.

    1. Just a Reader*

      I’m from Texas too, but that doesn’t mean I’m not completely horrified at thinking of coworkers being armed. Frankly, if you need a gun at work to feel safe, you probably need a new job instead of extra ammo.

      I hate guns and if I found out that guns were actively permitted in my workplace (as opposed to passively permitted as in the OP’s workplace) I would quit. It’s a safety issue and an issue of personal comfort.

      Thankfully I now live in a liberal state where most people share my views on guns, and I work for a company with extremely tight security.

      1. LBK*

        To be clear, it doesn’t sound like OP is worried about safety in the office, it’s about the safety of his commute. The gun ends up in the office because OP wants it on him to and from his car, so where else is he going to leave it if it doesn’t come into the office with him?

        1. Just a Reader*

          I get that, but I don’t think it matters. The environment compels him to carry a gun at work. It’s pretty cut and dried.

        2. AVP*

          A gun locker in the lobby of the building? (Caveat, I live in a mostly-no-guns state and have no idea if they make gun lockers that would be safe in this situation.)

          1. Case of the Mondays*

            In my gun happy state, courts and other “gun-free zones” have gun lockers so you can take your gun to and fro.

          2. LBK*

            I mentioned below that I think something like this is a great middle ground if OP’s company isn’t comfortable with her having it at all times. I was just pointing out that carrying it *at* work and carrying it *to* work are different things, even though in this situation the latter has led to the former seemingly just because the OP has nowhere else to put her gun.

          3. Jessica H*

            I would be surprised if more of OP’s coworkers aren’t secretly CWP carrying too, if it’s a dangerous area to commute to… and getting a new job in another area may or may not be an option; also, there are always people who are going to work in that area, and I bet a lot of them carry legally like OP.

            I would be hesitant to bring it up with my work, because I wouldn’t want the firearm to be banned. I might actually recommend approaching the subject anonymously if possible or by being proactive– like “I would feel more comfortable on my commute if I was able to store a legal firearm safely once entering the building” — might get the outcome you want if the employer knows how dangerous the area is (and I’m guessing security there uses firearms too, if shootings are common place, so there might be a good opportunity to find common ground (through omission of some truth) and to start safely storing your weapon.

        3. JustMe*

          This was a point I was going to bring up, too. The gun is simply a consequence of her fearing for her safety. I would be a bit surprised if the boss allowed it in the office, though, just because of all the potential landmines it could create. OP, my advice would be, if you disclose to your boss, be prepared to hear a “no,” and be ready to ask for the boss’s suggestions on solutions. How can you work together to make those scary circumstances a little safer? (Maybe a “no one left in the office alone after hours” policy or something.)

      2. TL*

        I meant that in a “I grew up in an environment where guns were present and accepted, so the concern was how to handle them safely, not how to get rid of them” sense, not in a “everyone from Texas has a gun/loves guns” sense. Sorry for any confusion.

      3. WFBP*

        I am also from Texas and if a coworker was permitted, I think it’d make me feel better, especially in instances of working late, etc – but it might depend on the coworker. I have a concealed handgun license myself, and you have to have a good record and go through classes and training to even apply for a permit – it’s not something just anyone can walk in and get.

        Also, not everyone can just up and quit their jobs in this market. I have known several people who have worked in places that have been broken into – if this was a place I was working, you can bet your bottom dollar I would take measures to ensure my own safety. Not interested in being mugged or raped, and if that meant I needed to carry, I would do it in a heartbeat.

        Alternatively, if it truly is that bad of an area, perhaps the company could hire off-duty cops to help with security or something. That would take the burden off the OP to protect herself.

      4. LAI*

        I agree – I would probably quit if my employer developed a policy of actively permitting guns in my workplace. So this might be a factor that the employer has to consider in determining their response if the OP does ask permission. Even if they’re ok with it, it might not be worth losing other staff over.

        1. CLF*

          I keep hearing this and I don’t think you understand that unless you work in some sort of government building, a bank, a school, or a building that has the appropriate signs you are “actively” permitted to carry your concealed handgun. This is not a question of whether or not the owner of the business likes it or not. I think you mean “actively encouraged”. Honestly, even if they don’t like it, legally they can’t do much.

      5. Human Resources Coordinator*

        I would also be horrified and terrified of a coworker if I found out they had a gun on them. It’s possible his workplace hasn’t gone through the steps to specifically ban guns because the NRA has been very successful recently in making it tougher for people to ban guns, and if they don’t follow the law they won’t know. But if the LW brings it up, a responsible employer will go to their legal counsel and take whatever steps are necessary to ban this. Imagine the risk to the employer if the LW uses his gun at work! BTW, if security is really an issue, and not a paranoia thing on the LW’s part, he should raise that with the company and request they hire a security firm.

        1. Tango*

          Of course a HR person would chime in with the “.Imagine the risk to the employer if the LW uses his gun at work!” comment. How very corporate-minded of you.

          So here’s the reciprocal scenario. An ex-employee, a current employee or just some random wackjob enters your property and kills several of your employees using a handgun. The employees were rendered defenseless due to a policy cut-and-pasted by someone in HR that was inserted in the Employee Handbook and rubber stamped by management, without the further protective measures of armed security, metal detectors or 100% monitored egress. After all, a policy change is a ten minuted at the PC and a few hundred sheets of paper. Real security costs money.

          Will the company assume any liability for their deaths? Or will they fall back on “it’s a tragic situation” and then blame the criminal and wash their hands by claiming that a piece of paper they constructed was adequate in their opinions?

      6. Rich Lewis*

        “Horrified of coworkers being armed”? How come you are not horrified of the “extremely tight security” being armed? Are you horrified that police officers carry guns? Many CCW holders actually train more than police and security. Many CCW holders are going to be there long before the police show up. Why are you horrified of guns? You need to be horrified of individuals who do not respect the law and want to do you or others harm. You should not be scared of an inanimate object. Are you horrified to drive to work since you are more likely to get hurt in a car accident than be shot?

    2. L McD*

      I do think culture plays a big part here. Where I live, handguns are pretty uncommon and I’d be very taken aback to find out about a situation like the OP’s. If they live somewhere concealed carry is very common and the licenses are fairly easy to get, this is probably way less of a issue than it could be elsewhere.

      Practical safety concerns aside, bringing a weapon that has the potential to cause deadly harm into a workplace may legitimately upset some, or possibly most, of the people who work there. I get that the OP doesn’t ever plan on anyone finding out, but what if people do? The best thing to do is to proactively address the issue with management. The problem is that the OP has to go into a discussion with management prepared to hear “no, that’s not okay.” And given that they don’t even seem to think the discussion is necessary, that seems unlikely.

  4. badger_doc*

    If I knew the person was responsible, I don’t think I would mind. But I used to work with someone who would fly off the handle a lot and he often made me wonder if he would every just show up with a gun someday and take us all hostage. I hate it when rules are made because of “one bad apple” but I would hate it even more for that “one bad apple” to also show up with a concealed weapon. That would scare the crap out of me and I would always walk on eggshells around that person. However the flip side is that I would want someone responsible with a gun to stop him if he were to ever go postal, so I don’t know… Bad guys will always have access to guns. We need more good guys with access too. I just don’t know how I would feel about that at work…

    1. sunny-dee*

      As you say, that bad apple isn’t going to be dissuaded by a “n guns” policy. There are already laws against murder, mayhem, and assault — if the guy doesn’t care about that, he’s not going to care about an 8×11 piece of paper taped to a door.

      In Texas, concealed carry was passed precisely because of a couple of mass shootings (Luby’s being the big one) where lawful gun owners had left their guns in their cars and weren’t able to stop a crazy person.

      Of course, I am from Oklahoma and now live in Texas, and I have members of my family who have concealed carry permits and carry almost everywhere. Here, and in many places in the West, it wouldn’t be an issue at all. Some states (New York, California, Massachusetts), people would panic.

      1. some1*

        “In Texas, concealed carry was passed precisely because of a couple of mass shootings (Luby’s being the big one) where lawful gun owners had left their guns in their cars and weren’t able to stop a crazy person”

        There were also armed soldiers at Ft. Hood. The Conceal/Carry crowd can’t stop every mass shooter.

        1. sunny-dee*

          Even soldiers cannot carry a weapon on military bases, except for practice and explicit training (or MPs). The Ft. Hood shooting was, funny enough, in a “gun-free zone.”

        2. CR*

          Those soliders at Fort Hood were NOT armed. Please don’t misconstrue that situation and us it as an argument here. Soliders do not have weapons (other than Military Police) issued to them unless they are deployed in a wartime situation. I speak of this with first hand knowledge as we were stationed at Fort Hood when the massacre happened.

        3. Evan in the USA*

          Were there? After the Ft. Hood shooting, I remember several editorials pointing out that military policy doesn’t allow anyone except MP’s to carry guns on base.

        4. Jess*

          Others already mentioned the no weapons policy on military bases, but in the case of Ft Hood, it was actually one of the few people on base who was able to carry a weapon who was able to bring the attack to an end. An off-duty policewoman who just happened to be present (I believe she was coming on or off duty) shot the gunman, thereby preventing him from killing more people.

      2. Turanga Leela*

        Depends on the particular employer, though. I don’t think my employer would appreciate my bringing a gun to work, even though guns are very normal where I live–it’s not unusual to see people open carrying in restaurants.

      3. Michele*

        I live in NYC and the laws here for concealed weapons are very strict. It is nearly impossible for a joe or jill blow to get a license to carry.

        1. Agile Phalanges*

          My sister got her concealed carry permit* in Washington state, and said the process was ridiculously easy. And they have reciprocity with a LOT of other states (mostly western states, I believe).

          * She worked in a bank at the time, and often drove a scooter to work through a bad-ish neighborhood in the dark. Since there’s no way to open carry on a scooter, she got the concealed carry permit. I don’t believe she carries anymore–she now works at a government facility where there are no guns allowed, and doubt she bothers for a trip to the store or whatever.

          1. Windchime*

            I also live in Washington state and know several people who have concealed carry permits. As far as I know, there was a background check and fingerprinting and that was it. Training and/or evidence that they knew how to operate a handgun wasn’t required (again, as far as I know).

            I’m not comfortable with guns in the workplace. But I say that from the perspective of working in a secure building where there is badge-only access and the Security people come through the parking lot and the building several times a day.

    2. fposte*

      Though if you’re not the OP’s supervisor, you’re not likely to be told anyway. I think many of us are thinking how we might feel about a colleague’s concealed carry, and the fact is we’d probably never know.

      1. Andrea*

        Well, maybe not, though. If the OP tells his boss, which I believe he must, then there’s nothing stopping the manager from telling everyone else, is there?

        In any case, I certainly would want to know if one of my coworkers was carrying. And I am uncomfortable with the idea that this could go on and the OP’s coworkers would not know.

        1. fposte*

          I get that–I’m just saying that the law affords you no right to know, and there’s no reason to assume that your manager would tell you. So unless you’re in a gun-free workplace it’s quite possible you’re working with people who are carrying already.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Exactly. There are tons of things we never know about co-workers that we might be be uncomfortable with if we did know – affairs, guns, sexual proclivities. Not saying everything is on the same playing field, just that there are a lot of things about co-workers that we might be uncomfortable with. Not sure that’s an argument for being told.

            1. Coffeeless*

              Yes, but my coworker’s latex fetish is probably no potential danger to me, while her carrying a concealed weapon could be.

              1. Ruffingit*

                Sure, but that wasn’t the point I was making. I was talking specifically about knowing things about co-workers that may make you uncomfortable. Just on that point alone outside of the gun thing, I am saying there are many things we don’t know about co-workers that might make us uncomfortable.

    3. LeighTX*

      I also used to work with someone who would fly off the handle a lot, and it made me feel somewhat safer to know that my coworker two doors down had a gun in her purse and knew how to use it.

      As for telling the employer, I am leaning toward “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” If our OP asks permission, he may be forbidden to bring the gun onsite again, but someone with bad intentions will NOT ask permission first nor will they obey any posted signs.

      1. LBK*

        Except this is something so sensitive that asking for forgiveness may not be an option. OP could just straight up get fired in an at-will state, or at the very least OP’s relationship with her manager/coworkers could be irreparably changed. That is a huge consideration to make before taking this route.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Completely agreed. That is the concern I would have too. OP is not breaking the law and is a responsible gun owner. I think she should continue to carry and say nothing.

          1. LBK*

            Wait, that’s the complete opposite of what I was trying to say – I think asking for forgiveness (ie assuming it will never come up and then apologizing if it ever does) will get a much worse reaction than asking for permission (ie saying something now). And it doesn’t have to be stated as actually asking for permission, but basically I think the fallout from OP continuing to hide it and potentially having it revealed unintentionally will be much, much worse than if she discloses it now voluntarily.

            She has the opportunity to present a reasonable position and viable alternatives now in a non-stressful situation. As others have pointed out, if it comes out unintentionally it will likely be in a high stress situation where OP is less likely to have a chance to explain her case.

            1. Ruffingit*

              Ah gotcha, sorry I misunderstood. I stand by my thinking that she shouldn’t say anything and should continue to carry, but I understand now what you were saying.

        2. Case of the Mondays*

          Even in at at-will state, if the employer by state law cannot bar you from carrying concealed except by written obvious notice than I do not think that employer can fire you for carrying concealed.

          1. LBK*

            To be honest, I’m really vague on the law here so you may be correct. However, my understanding is that as a private organization in an at-will state, they’re allowed to fire her for doing something that’s legal unless it relates to being a protected class (race, gender, age, etc.) or she can prove it’s in retaliation for a protected action (like requesting accommodations for a disability). Those are the only two things covered under the EEOC in terms of legally wrongful termination, and carrying a gun isn’t covered under either of those.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I think this might fall under the category of legally protected behavior in some states that have specifically worded their concealed carry laws that way, although I’m not certain.

              1. LBK*

                I tried to Google some more info and there’s actually a case that just started regarding this very issue – Ivette Ros was a bank manager in Florida that got fired because someone noticed she had her gun on her and reported it to security. She’s suing her former employer, no verdict yet. I’ll be interested to see how it plays out.

          2. annie*

            Be careful on your interpretation here – in Illinois, where I am and this just passed, any organization/company/person can prohibit concealed carry or weapons or whatever they want really on their own private property by putting this little sticker from the State Police on the front door. Many if not most businesses have put up those stickers in the last few months. Just because the law says you can concealed carry does not mean your employer cannot prohibit guns on their property. Basically the sticker overrules your right to concealed carry and they can fire you for breaking their company rules. (Actually they can fire you for anything, because we’re an at-will state, but you know what I mean.)

    4. Cnon*

      Bad guys will always have access to guns. We need more good guys with access too.

      Darn Right, Badger.

  5. The IT Manager*

    I agree with you that your mom’s idea to leave it in the car seems like a bad idea. It is much more easily stolen than in a gun safe at home or on your person and the act of transferring to and from your person and the car is likely to attract attention.

    But I agree with practically everything Alison said in her response including the fact that you (presumably) don’t have years of experience in dealing with hostile situations and the effects of adrenaline. That’s why I don’t want people around me carrying weapons unless they are professionals. It makes me feel less safe, not more, so as I co-worker, I’d find the fact that you’re carrying at work worrisome.

      1. CourtneyW*

        If the OP has a sticker of a local gun range there’s a good chance he/she has participated in gun matches. While not the same thing as real life, many can prepare you for “real-life” type experiences, an example is IDPA.

    1. sunny-dee*

      Ironically enough, cops have substantially hire rates of wrongful shootings than concealed carry owners, both in percentages and numbers (despite there being more gun owners than cops).

      Also, in a hostile situation, the OP is more likely to know who is a problem and who is not than a cop who comes in blind.

      1. Sunflower*

        Could that data be skewed by the fact that cops are probably more likely to use their weapons due to their line of duty?

        1. KellyK*

          It probably is. Someone with a concealed carry permit *might* have to make those decisions once in their lifetime, while a police officer has to make them routinely.

          1. Jamie*

            Thanks, Kelly. Of course, THIS.

            I have typoed more in mapping network drives than the average user who will never, or seldom, ever have to map a network drive.

            The logic of comparing the two fails at every level.

      2. Brett*

        “[C]ops have substantially hire rates of wrongful shootings than concealed carry owners, both in percentages and numbers (despite there being more gun owners than cops).”

        No such statistics are maintained for law enforcement. They are specifically -not- collected.

    2. Decimus*

      I’ll just agree here. Don’t leave the gun in the car. That’s the MOST dangerous because it’s far more likely to be stolen. Either carry the gun at all times, including the office, or leave it at home in a locked gun safe when you go to work.

      As far as the question itself – well, I don’t know. I think it depends where you are. You might sound out your boss on the topic in general before raising it with respect to yourself. You could get a range of responses from “Heck I carry myself!” to “I’d never promote anyone who did that” and that could guide your decision.

        1. Zillah*

          But if the OP is concerned, it seems likely that that’s not necessarily the case where they live.

        2. Windchime*

          At my workplace, you’d probably get fired since we have notices at every door that we are a weapon-free zone.

          1. KitKat*

            That’s a totally separate issue, though. Those notices prohibit weapons on the premises. OP’s workplace has no notices or anything in the handbook, so it’s not the same situation.

    3. Grey*

      If I’m in a hostile situation at work, I’ll take my chances with an armed amateur backing me up. It’s still better than being defenseless.

    4. Mason*

      Just read the article. I could role out all of my blopper videos and picture of so called professionals. Truth be told, I don’t trust most law enforcement with guns and could care less if a employee feels the need to conceal carry. But let me get this straight, taking under consideration that you placed yourself in the employees shoes, that you yourself are having to work in a high crime area where acts of random violence are the norm, and the one your worried about is the law bidding citizen? Ignorance is bliss.

  6. AdminAnon*

    I do not like guns at all and would be extremely concerned if I discovered that one of my co-workers was secretly carrying. That being said, it sounds like OP is the best case scenario–educated, consciensious, and responsible. Still, I think full disclosure, at least to OP’s supervisor, is necessary.

    I know my workplace (also small) does not have any official policies or signs regarding weapons in the office, but my boss would flip her lid if she discovered that one of us had a concealed weapon in the building.

  7. Brett*

    Not telling your employer is also failing to prepare for exactly the scenario for which you are carrying a firearm:

    To defend yourself while traveling to and from the parking lot at work.

    In the event you have to defend yourself from a third party with lethal force in the parking lot, your employer is likely going to be facing a lawsuit from the third party. Even if that lawsuit may not win, the employer will not have immunity from the suit. By not informing your employer, you are opening up both of you to a liability risk, and probably more so your employer than you.

    Some states have laws spelling out specifically what the employer must do to be immune from such a lawsuit (which is normally banning firearms from the workplace and requiring them to be securely stored in vehicles if on the property). Some states do the opposite and provided immunity to the employer if they have a policy specifically allowing concealed carry (Wisconsin for example). And yet other states create a liability for the employer if the employee is attacked in the parking lot when they are not allowed to carry!

    Illinois employers just learned the hard way that they have no immunity from workplace incidents involving an employee with a concealed carry permit, no matter what policy they implement. Their insurance rates jumped after the new concealed carry law went into effect. (And in Illinois, only the property owner can bar concealed carry, not a business who leases their space.)

    1. Brett*

      And even if you live in Wisconsin or Illinois, this is not legal advice at all. Because of conflict laws on firearms, concealed carry, open carry, liability, and insurance policies, the whole issue is much more complicated than what I posted.

      Developing a policy on firearms in the workplace needs legal advice (the state chamber of commerce often has free legal on this specific issue). It needs a conversation with the business’ insurer, possibly the landlord, and ideally the employees too. Such a policy should be accompanied by a formal policy on violence in the workplace too that addresses firearms.

      1. littlemoose*

        Very, very good point about potential liability issues. That alone warrants disclosure, in my admittedly lawyer point of view. And your employer’s premises liability coverage may be affected by the presence of an undisclosed firearm in the workplace.

        1. Jonny B*

          So to debunk the liability issue if i have to use my gun in the parking lot i dont care what the company has to pay because I would only use my gun in a life or death situation. and if i dont have my gun that means i most likely am dead and you can bet your bottom dollar my family will be suing for the fact that the company took away my 2nd ammendment rights to defend myself. so one way or another the company is probably going to pay some money so i say keep it to yourself and hope you never have to use it.

    2. Bwmn*

      Issues of gun carrying opinions and morality aside – the additional potential legal issues of liability represent a hugely pressing concern over telling an employer (morality issues aside).

      If I were to write in a question of “I work part-time as an exotic dancer while also working at X conservative organization – should I tell my employer?” – a huge part of that question would be how it would impact my relationship with my employer (morality aside). If there is a situation where the OP has occasion to use the firearm on the work premises and there are liability/insurance issues for the company – that could have major negative impact on the OP’s position with the company – regarding potential termination, references, etc.

      Without getting into any kind of gun policy or beliefs – that’s a significant dynamic to keep in mind.

  8. Turanga Leela*

    This makes me wonder how many of your coworkers might be carrying weapons and not doing so safely (e.g. leaving weapons in purses or unlocked desks). Raising this issue with your employer could create an opportunity for your employer to implement a comprehensive gun policy for your workplace, which would probably be good for everyone involved.
    …although it’s still possible that your employer will tell you to stop carrying at work. From a workplace violence perspective, a lot of employers won’t want guns around, period. You might know you can trust yourself, but your employer won’t necessarily feel that she can trust every employee with a concealed carry permit. I live in a gun-friendly part of the US, and I wouldn’t want my employees or co-workers to be armed in the office.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      Forgot to add: Things could go the other way, too. Maybe your boss has been packing this whole time and assumes everyone else is, too.

    2. JMegan*

      Both of these are really good points. I’m with the majority here – better to have the conversation and get it all out in the open, rather than waiting for your boss to find out via the worst-case scenario.

    3. Chinook*

      It is a good point to bring up, that a possible reason for banning firearms in the workplace is that there is no secure place to store them. Think of the number of times we hear about petty office theft and then just imagine the fall out if, instead of a few dollars or a chocolate bar, someone steals the gun. In reality, unless you have a locking office door and a locking desk drawer, you would have to wear the weapon at all times. (of course, my Canadian gun law bias is showing. Around here, guns must be stored behind two levels of security).

  9. De Minimis*

    Our workplace has signs posted that firearms are not permitted and that a concealed-carry permit does not exempt people from the policy. We’re a fed facility so I’d guess our signage would be in line with what is legally required [although maybe not.]

    I’ll check it at lunch time to see what the exact wording is, but I don’t believe it’s anything that involves legal citation.

    I’d want to know about a coworker bringing a gun–and I’d guess it’s very likely if the OP tells their employer that a “no guns” policy will probably be implemented.

    1. sunny-dee*

      There are many facilities where it is legally not possible to carry a weapon, even with a permit. Most government facilities/offices, post offices, courthouses, military bases, schools, banks, bars, and then private business with appropriate posted notices.

      1. Chrissi*

        I work in a federal government office – there are lots of guns here – DEA, FBI, Federal Police, ICE. It’s a little freaky from time to time to see it (or hear the casual conversations the DEA guys have in the elevator – holy heck!!). I know that’s not what you meant, just clarifying that there are usually a LOT of guns in particular federal government buildings, and not just the security guards have them.

      2. Rachel*

        Regarding the “appropriate posted notices”:

        In Minnesota, there is a specific law as to the legal notice that concealed carry weapons are not permitted. It has to be “prominently and conspicuously” posted. That means at every entrance, at a height of 4-6 feet. The notice must be black arial typeface at least 1-1/2 inches in height with black text on a white background.

        So basically a very large, ugly sign at every entrance.

        Our workplace (a church) just had a discussion about whether or not we should post these again. It looks *so* uninviting and tacky at the church doors. However a more relaxed sign like “We practice peace here (no guns allowed on premise)” would have no legal force.

  10. CaliCali*

    So to clarify my background: I grew up around guns. My dad is a responsible gun owner; I own a gun myself (I do not carry). My husband is entering competition shooting. Also, at my workplace, I know multiple people here hold conceal carry licenses — the most responsible and level-headed people here. This is all to say that I have a generally high comfort level around guns. I also believe in rigorous background checks, high levels of training required, and stringent laws around guns.

    So what I think the issue is is more of a matter of your employer not having something clearly spelled out. For instance, I’m in Colorado, where marijuana is now legal. The policy surrounding its use varies by employer. Mine takes the stance of “it’s legal and what you do on your own time, legally, is OK” — but someone had to ask the question of my employer, because we didn’t want to be unwittingly doing something that is legal by law, but not condoned by our place of employment.

    Also, if you’re transparent with your workplace and they are comfortable with you carrying, you can feel comfortable that you’re abiding by the rules of your workplace AND you can let your mother know ;)

    1. Rachel*

      I am also a gun owner who chooses not to conceal carry.

      I attended the requisite class to obtain my concealed carry permit and passed the shooting range test. However, our instructor was fantastic about going through the effects of concealed carry. He talked about how if we ever pulled out our weapon, we could potentially be charged with criminal assault and also be sued in civil court, even if we didn’t fire the weapon. He discussed how the only legal defense to shooting someone was that we were in grave danger of our lives and had tried to escape. Finally, our instructor noted the high number of incidents where a civilian pulled a gun on their attacker, only to have the gun taken away and used on them. The class convinced me to stick to sport shooting.

      1. JuliB*

        I have never seen statistics about people getting their guns taken from them. And I used to be a 2nd A activist and have come across most everything out there. The problem with that stat is that brandishing a weapon to scare off a bad guy is not reported to the police, or if you call the police, it is not recorded because no crime occurred. So any statistic is going to be meaningless. (I focused on stats and methodology while attending grad classes for a masters in Criminal Justice. All but thesis, and I was completely uninterested in the question of guns at that point in my life.)

        That said – if you have doubts in your mind whether you could use your gun in a situation, I commend you in realizing that the personal costs are too high for you. As you are probably aware, but maybe many posters on this blog realize, a firearm doesn’t turn you into Superman or Wonder Woman, or Rambo for that matter.

        While many states carry a duty to retreat, not all do. Given the horrific legal results, I would pray that I would never have the need to use a firearm. Of course, if the other result would be my likely death or the death of another, then I’ll face the legal implications.

        I will give an example against concealed carry though. Several years ago, an alderwoman in Chicago whipped out her gun during a council meeting and brandished it about. This was long before CC for the non-elites and nothing really happened to her. So yeah, not everyone should carry.

  11. CR*

    I agree with TL that I’d guess a whole heck of a lot more folks are carrying than you think. I live in South Dakota and we see them everywhere, from art exhibits to fast food joints to church. Its the norm here.

    With that being said, I can 100% empathize with the safety issue. That gun does the OP no good locked in the car. Nor does it do any good at home. The whole reason the OP carries it is because they feel there is a need for it and safety concerns major enough to justify it. Who am I (or anyone else) to tell them otherwise? And if the employer is not recognizing these safety issues and not taking steps to mitigate them, then it is (in my opinion) the OPs right to take control of the situation.

    It is clear to me that the OP is a responsible and trained gun owner, so I may feel differently if this wasn’t the case. But I don’t have a problem with it. And, the bottom line, its legal.

        1. KitKat*

          Totally off topic, but yeah Rapid! I spent most of my formative years there, and am visiting again this summer!


      1. De Minimis*

        I agree that there’s a good reason behind bringing the gun. I live in a city with significant crime and would probably look into doing something like that if I were in the OP’s situation.

        If the company does decide they don’t want to allow it, they need to take steps to ensure employee safety, even if it’s just something where they permit people to work from home instead of staying late/arriving early.

        1. CR*

          Agreed 100%. Perhaps if the employer understands the reason for the OP wanting to carry, if they aren’t willing to allow the firearm, they at least might be open to taking other steps to secure the safety of their employees.

          1. hildi*

            Yeah! In the course of my work I’ve been telling a LOT of people about this blog so I’m wondering if any of them have ever become readers. :)

      1. hildi*

        Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it more and I don’t think he should say anything. The whole idea of a conceal-carry is to conceal it until it should be used. And a responsible gun owner (and I think the OP is based primarily on his philosphy and accountability about carrying) really doesn’t want to have to ever use it.

        Unless OP is in a locale that is very gun-friendly or in an industry where the culture supports it, then saying something will almost certainly guarantee it will become A Big Deal when it shouldn’t be. That’s the point.

    1. Rayner*

      The problem described in the OP’s letter is about their commute, not the job, and it’s not just the OP’s safety that is at risk with a concealed carry.

      No matter how trained and prepared the OP is, there is still a significant risk factor involved with having a gun in the building versus not, and it may bring extra legal issues for the company to consider which they should be allowed to do. Likewise, other people in the company may not be happy about being near a gun or may not legally/culturally/religiously be comfortable with being near a weapon, and their feelings should be considered too.

      It may be that the company are happy to permit people with the correct paperwork to have weapons, or to impose certain restrictions, such as placing it in a certified gun locker while on the premises. It may also be that they’re not, and if the OP doesn’t check with them, it doesn’t give the employer a chance to make that decision.

      If then, heaven forbid, something should happen, then both the OP and the company could be on the hook with a lot of trouble.

      Likewise, if the OP is caught in a search or if a coworker finds out /sees it accidentally (we had regular searches of desks and people at my workplace if they worked near sensitive material as a matter of rule), there could be massive issues for the OP of the “You bought a weapon into the premises without letting us know?!” lines. It would definitely make me, as a manager, question their judgement of not telling that they’re bringing a dangerous weapon into a building and not letting anybody know.

      tl:dr – it doesn’t matter how well trained the OP is, or how confident they are with their ability to remain disciplined, carrying a weapon at work does not just affect them, and they should consider both their employer and the people around them.

      1. aebhel*

        FWIW, I very strongly doubt that the OP is keeping the gun in their desk. Unless the company is conducting random pat-downs of employees, it’s unlikely they’d find out.

        That being said, I agree about the employer’s right to decide their own level of risk.

    2. aebhel*

      Same here–and I live in NY, which is not exactly a state known for it’s relaxed gun laws. You’re required to carry concealed if you carry at all, and I think this means that a lot of people who don’t own or carry guns sort of assume that nobody else does either…but I know a *lot* of people who do, and you’d just never know.

      FWIW, my husband (a tower climber/installer) carries a gun at work unless he’s working somewhere it’s legally prohibited. This is much less about people than it is about animals, both ‘domestic’ and not. There was one occasion before he got his permit when he had to defend himself against a rottweiler with a power drill.

      It doesn’t sound like that’s really the OP’s case, but not everybody who carries on the job is doing so out of Rambo fantasies of taking down a mass shooter.

  12. ExceptionToTheRule*

    I agree with the logic of the OP’s reason for wanting to bring the weapon into the workplace. If you carry for protection while walking to/from your vehicle, then if the gun’s in the car it doesn’t do you any good.

    I think a conversation with the company is in order. If they aren’t keen on you carrying on your person all day, perhaps you could compromise by securing the weapon in a small gun safe during your shift.

    1. CR*

      This is an excellent suggestion and might mitigate any fears and prevent them from issuing a No Guns policy.

    2. Occasional Alaskan*

      I was going to mention this as well – a gun safe in the office would allow the firearm to be secured during work, while still being accessible to the OP when they are going to and from their vehicle. Where I work (an Alaskan lodge with the occasional problem bear) we have guns on site, which are locked up at all times when they’re not being used. I’ve never had a problem with that, and neither have any of the other staff, that I’m aware.

      1. Cimorene*

        Huh, “the occasional problem bear” is not something I’ve ever thought of as a potential workplace hazard. That’s…hilarious.

        1. Chinook*

          Re: bear issues: Ironically, one of the reasons we didn’t do some work at one of our sites was due to a bear moving in for the season. We are hoping he moves on next year.

          But atleast we knew he was there. There was a story last year of a right of way contractor accidentally mulching a bear (he was hibernating in a new den in the ground covered by leaves.) part of me thinks poor bear/poor mulcher machine worker but part of me thinks it ois funny because how do you miss a bear?

    3. littlemoose*

      Good call on the gun safe. If the OP proactively offers that suggestion, the manager may be much more amenable to permitting the OP to bring the gun to work. It will surely raise your coworkers’ comfort level as well.

    4. books*

      OR changes to the security and lighting in the parking area. Consider that parking lot an extension of your workspace and that your employer should ensure that it is sufficiently safe.

      1. JustKatie*

        No kidding! And a little less inflammatory. I’m trying to imagine where OP works…

    5. holly*

      yes, this was what i was going to suggest especially since it isn’t needed while working.

    6. OhNo*

      I’m also very agreeable to the idea of a gun safe. The gym that I go to caters to a lot of law enforcement officers, and they have a gun safe in the staff office for those people to put their weapons in while they train. I actually feel pretty safe knowing that they can get to their weapons if there is an emergency situation that might require it, but they aren’t carrying them around or leaving them about while they work out.

    7. Liz T*

      When this issue came up where my boyfriend works, that’s exactly the solution they came to. Gun safe is a great idea.

  13. Kate*

    Do you have it on your body all day while in the building? Could you lock it up at work and only physically carry it while leaving the building? I am fairly naive about gun procedures so I am jut asking. It would make me more nervous knowing you actually carry it to meetings, lunch, etc..

    1. LBK*

      This makes sense to me, that way people won’t be nervous about it being on OP/out in the open at all times but OP will have it on the trip to and from the car.

      I might still be kind of freaked out to know there was a weapon in my office, but if the company doesn’t decide to ban it I’d at least feel more comfortable knowing it wasn’t just sitting in my coworker’s pocket while we’re in a meeting.

    2. VintageLydia USA*

      Kate, that might actually be more dangerous unless you have some sort of safe to keep it in at the office. If someone knows you carry your gun and keep it locked in your desk, unless you have a VERY good lock on that desk, it could be stolen.

  14. O*

    No judging here, and honestly don’t know how I would feel. But something to maybe bring up or do whether you tell your employer or not, is get a gun safe for your office, personally that would make me feel more secure if I knew one of my co-workers had a gun. Also since safety is an issue, is there no way someone else would stay as late as you or get in as early, maybe the don’t do either because of safety also, but this way there would be safety in numbers, or possibly a security guard in the building or even next door that you could ask to keep a look out at the times you are leaving/arriving at work?

    1. Sydney Bristow*

      I think this is an idea worth considering. Personally, I find guns absolutely terrifying and would be frightened if I found out that any of my coworkers were carrying. I would be less afraid knowing that it was locked in a safe during the day.

      The suggestions on considering other safety ideas around the office and parking lot are a good idea too.

      1. O*

        Not all security guards carry guns, but, at least I hope, most are given some kind of training on how to handle conflict or confrontations, most people have no idea how they would react in certain situations, you’d like to think you would. But I have no idea how security guards are selected or what training they have, but I would hope it was more than I would have (which is none) to deal with confrontational situations that could quickly escalate into violence.

        1. TL*

          From my understanding… no, not really. A lot of armed guards are pulled from ex-military.
          And responsible gun training should also include ways to avoid using your gun, as well as ways to use it safely.

        2. Aisling*

          If security guards carry a gun, they are given a course on gun safety. They are not automatically given a course on dealing with confrontational situations. Generally, their conflict resolution solution is to call police. They aren’t really supposed to engage anyone. There are different levels of security guards, so it depends on the level you have at your organization, but the what I’ve described is pretty average.

        3. Contessa*

          My husband is a security guard. He would need a special license to carry a gun in the course of his job (which he does not have, because it’s expensive–the license, not the gun, although we don’t have one of those yet, either). His “conflict resolution training” consisted of, “Call the police and wait.” He does not engage with anyone acting violently. Mostly he just checks IDs, and when he worked at a nursing home, he had to go investigate every time someone set their fire alarm off. The biggest threat at his last job was someone running their car into the security guard booth–which can be just as dangerous as a person with a gun, actually.

  15. Katie the Fed*

    It’s amazing to me that employers are essentially in an opt-out situation for having guns on the premises, instead of opt-in. That they have to specify that they DON’T want them, because the default is that they’re allowed.

    OP, I would tell your manager/leadership. You don’t have to make it as a big deal, but just say “hey, I thought I should let you know that I carry, in accordance with state laws. I don’t believe it’s in violation of company policy but I just wanted to make sure you’re aware.” There may be some insurance or other issues. I think it’s better to err on the side of over-informing on this, because it’s such a sensitive issue.

    I’m trying to think if it would color my opinion if I knew any of my employees or colleagues were carrying. It might. It shouldn’t, but it might.

    1. sunny-dee*

      It’s a Constitutional right, so they have to opt-out. It’d be like banning someone from wearing a cross necklace or um something-something Freedom of Speech. You can place reasonable restrictions on certain freedoms, but you have to be explicit and specific or the right is implied.

      1. some1*

        An employer can ban all jewelry at work if they want, and you don’t have Freedom of Speech protections at work.

        1. LBK*

          Well that’s the point, you can ban it, but you have to opt into it. You’d have to opt into banning certain jewelry or religious symbols or whatever, just like you have to opt into banning guns in your office.

        2. Jamie*

          Sure an employer can ban all jewelry – but they can’t ban specific types based on religion. That gets into protected categories.

      2. Turanga Leela*

        Yeah, this is not exactly right. It sounds like this is a matter of state law telling employers what they have to do to ban guns, rather than a matter of constitutional rights (and there is no constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon, at least not yet). Think about it this way: you have a constitutional right to hold a protest in public, but you wouldn’t assume that you could have a rally at work.

      3. Katie the Fed*

        Freedom of Speech is a mischaracterization – it means that the government can’t throw you in prison for your opinions. It doesn’t mean there are no consequences for voicing your opinions or expressing yourself.

        And concealed carry is not a constitutionally-protected right.

        1. TL*

          That is…a highly debated statement and a very specific interpretation of what the 4th Amendment means.

          Which we shouldn’t get into here, but I just wanted to comment there are many, many points of view on that.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            OK, can we say that it’s not CURRENTLY treated as a constitutionally protected right in all states?

            1. fposte*

              Probably not, I think, because it’s mixing states and fed on the constitution, and because all states have concealed carry now anyway.

          2. The Real Ash*

            I think (read: hope) that you mean Second Amendment here. The Fourth Amendment is about unreasonable search and seizure.

            1. Ruffingit*

              Thank you, I was getting very confused about what they were talking about with the Fourth Amendment. :)

      4. littlemoose*

        Yep. And the religious jewelry analogy isn’t really apt here – federal and state laws prohibit private employers from discriminating on te basis of religion, and that encompasses religious accommodations. (For example, Abercrombie & Fitch was recently sued for not permitting a Muslim employee to wear a headscarf while otherwise in compliance with their dress code policy.) There are no such laws against workplace discrimination based on firearm ownership.

        Also, I work in a federal building and weapons are strictly prohibited for everyone except our armed guard. Even state actors can impose restrictions without violating an employee’s Constitutional rights; it’s far from absolute.

  16. Lizabeth*

    What about looking at the problem from the “unsafe” neighborhood side rather than OP carrying concealed? What can the employer do to make it safe to be the first one in or last one out given the location?

    I wouldn’t have a problem with OP carrying concealed given the classes etc. they are taking and they don’t sound like a nutcase that whips it out at every shadow.

    Yes, there is liability issues for the employer but what about a lockbox in the OP’s desk to store the gun during the day? I haven’t heard that mentioned yet.

    1. Robin*

      This! Why are we even having this conversation? Shouldn’t the OP have raised concerns about their safety with their employer long before they even considered bringing a gun?

      1. Andrea*

        Thank you; I was thinking the same thing. If the neighborhood is this dangerous, then what about the other people who work there? Before everyone just decides to bring a gun to work and carry it all day, maybe there are some practical measures that can be taken that can help ensure safety overall, not increase risk.

    2. badger_doc*

      I like your first suggestion. We have after hours sign in/out sheets so we can keep track of who is in the building, as well as a 24 hours security guard who is available to walk employees to their cars if needed. Granted, I work in a very safe area, but these are easy implementations, in addition to parking lot lighting and possibly an emergency phone outside. Good thought!

    3. OhNo*

      This is exactly what I was thinking. How remiss is the management being in letting their employees feel so unsafe coming to/leaving work that they feel the need to carry a gun?

      I know the OP said it was a small company, so this may not be feasible, but what about a 24-hour escort service for employees going to or from their cars?

    4. Jamie*

      I don’t know what the employer can do about an unsafe neighborhood outside of their property.

      I was driving home from work once and a gang fight broke out and the some guy smashed another guys head with a gold club and then smashed in the windshield of the car directly in front of me.

      It was horrifying and if there had been gun fire (because really, golf clubs and bats?) it could have been much worse for everyone in the area. But there is nothing on earth my employer could have done about that.

      We make choices to work where we do and everything is about risk vs reward.

      Just chiming in with my personal opinion on the gun at work thing: I hate guns, I will never touch one and wouldn’t have one in the house if my husband wasn’t a cop – but if it were legal it wouldn’t bother me whether my co-workers did or didn’t carry…as long as I didn’t have to see it or hear about it.

      I can’t control what they do any more than I can control how armed the people are on the street – I can only worry about my own behavior.

  17. Henry*

    I’m an Englishman so this is all quite alien to me. However, I’d be inclined to ask permission – “here’s why I want to; I would appreciate it if you were OK with that”. Is there any particular reason for mentioning that you’ve already been doing so? I don’t think so.

    1. Aisling*

      Since the OP is carrying in accordance to state laws, and the employer does not specifically state that guns are not allowed, the OP doesn’t need to ask permission to carry. The OP is asking if he/she should inform the employer in the interest of full disclosure, but the OP is not required to inform the employer.

      1. Onymouse*

        Above poster said “if you were okay with that”, which is really a less inflammatory way of saying “I am informing you that I am doing that”

  18. Sunflower*

    I think you should definitely have the conversation with your employer and that will open it up to a clear policy. I don’t think telling your employer you have one is going to get you fired or anything. I think they should develop a stance and whether it’s allowing or not allowing concealed weapons, you should follow it, even if it means getting a new job.

    I never thought about it before but I think having a stance on this should be something every company should do. It’s not something I’ve ever thought about when applying for jobs but something I might consider in the future?

  19. Joey*

    I’m not getting the rationale for carrying the gun at work, unless your work refuses to implement appropriate safety measures that don’t necessitate employees carrying weapons. If you fear for your safety at work I would think other people are likely too also. And in that case that’s an issue for your employer to handle.

        1. Joey*

          And even if he’s first to arrive and last to leave employers can implement all sorts of security measures to reduce the risk. Plenty of workplaces require the last person to leave to have another individual there.

          It sounds to me like its more of a want than a need.

          1. Celeste*

            Nailed it. Want vs need. If you have a security concern, take it to your employer, don’t take it upon yourself.

            1. Just a Reader*

              Completely completely agree. I can’t imagine any employer would ignore a security issue so serious that an employee feels the need to carry at work.

              1. JustKatie*

                No kidding, that’s leaving them open to all sorts of liability if they have an improperly secured parking lot!

          2. KellyK*

            Not living in his neighborhood, I don’t think any of us is in the position to appropriately assess whether it’s a want or a need. Personal safety generally falls pretty heavily in the “need” category.

            Yes, it would be a good thing if he discussed all of this with his employer and they implemented safety procedures that would reduce risk for everyone there. But there’s no guarantee that they would, or that whatever they came up with would be sufficient.

            For example, not letting one person be alone in the office sounds good. At least you’re not alone, and if something happens, the other person can at least call 911. But someone with a gun could just as easily accost two unarmed people as one. Not to mention that you’re still on your own in the parking lot, unless the last two people out are supposed to plan that in advance and park next to each other.

            1. Joey*

              Sure you can. A want in this case is not even trying to raise security issues with his employer. A need would be that there’s no other option.

              1. LBK*

                I like that point – it doesn’t sound like the OP has voiced the security concerns to the employer, just decided this was the solution. The employer may prefer to devise another security measure that’s less sensitive (like a buddy system policy after certain hours, a shuttle to the parking lot, hiring security guards to escort employees, etc.).

              2. Anonsie*

                OP is talking about the whole commute, though, which is necessarily going to include a lot of space outside the parking lot that is nowhere near the employer’s control.

                I could see this as an argument for keeping it in the car vs on yourself in the office, though, I would be concerned about it being stolen from the car. Can’t say I’m familiar with how people normally lock up a gun in a vehicle, though, I’m guessing there must be some ways to rig up a pretty effective safe.

                1. OP*

                  There are several types of guns safes designed to be used in cars – under seat, inside center console, trunk safe (usually for rifles/shotguns), glove boxes, etc. The best ones are invisible from outside the car, are physically attached to the car, and are made of sturdy construction. I have one for my car, with one key in my safe at home and the other on my car key ring. The odds of the gun being stolen without the car itself being stolen are slim.

              3. KellyK*

                I don’t think so. I think a company could do everything reasonable to keep employees safe short of moving to a better neighborhood and still have an employee feel safer with a weapon when walking to their car.

                1. Joey*

                  There is no way to feel absolutely protected from danger. I could argue that depending on the neighborhood I wouldn’t feel safe with a pistol because there are gangs with assault rifles, but that wouldn’t justify me arming myself with one at work too. The point is you could always make an argument to implement steps to be safer no matter the situation.

                2. KellyK*

                  Right, but what I’m saying is that the company could do everything reasonable and still have “carry a gun to and from my car” be a prudent decision for the OP, just by virtue of it being a sketchy part of town. Your argument seems to be that it’s totally within the company’s power to correct if the OP just asks, and I don’t think that’s the case.

          3. ExceptionToTheRule*

            It’s also an issue of can’t vs. won’t in terms of the employer implementing safety/security measures.

            I work for a company that actively refused to consider additional security until an employee got shot at by a cop responding to a call about an armed trespasser. Thank god all the cop hit was a light pole.

            1. Joey*

              True, but the law isn’t the barometer. I’m legally allowed to unionize without voicing my concerns to management, but you can bet my employer will probably be unhappy that I didn’t give them a chance to address the issue first.

  20. SRMJ*

    “…I’m not going to start shooting people…”

    Well, that’s great news. So why have a gun?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I want to repeat my call to not get into a debate on gun laws (or gun ownership) here; this isn’t the place for it. We’re focusing on a specific workplace question.

      1. SRMJ*

        That was in response to the question; the OP’s logic is bizarre. Perhaps I should’ve written, ‘So why have a gun at work?’ I mean, is it not exactly for that reason – to starting shooting people/a person, or at least try to frighten them into going away, should the situation call for it?

        By their own professed logic, they don’t carry a gun to shoot people, so again – why bring it to work? I mean, it’s a reasonable expectation that people will not come to work with the intention of shooting people, isn’t it?

        1. businesslady*

          also, I think it’s pretty clear from the context that “people” here means “coworkers”–i.e., that the OP isn’t going to use the gun to just randomly threaten or attack people, but for self-defense.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It seems obvious to me that she carries it for personal defense. She explained in her letter that her office is in an unsafe area and she feels unsafe walking to and from her car.

          1. SRMJ*

            Seems obvious to me, too. So she’s making a meaningless distinction, with flawed logic, by reassuring anyone that she’s not going to start shooting people, because she will, if necessary. Of course her plan isn’t to go off the deep end and shoot up her office.

            I just don’t understand her reassurances and apparent confusion/surprise that her mom was horrified and imagined she would/could shoot someone, as that is one of three primary outcomes of pulling your gun out (the other two being, situation is deescalated, or your own gun gets used against you).

            It seems like a cognitive dissonance; does she carry a gun more to *feel* safe, or does she carry a gun more to protect herself, potentially in a way lethal to other people (and possibly herself)? Because to me it sounds like the former, when, if push comes to shove, it would probably end up being the latter. I’m sure the OP has considered she may have to shoot someone, but she’s fooling herself if she believes she ‘won’t start shooting people,’ even if she was referring to herself going on a killing spree versus self defense – because she wouldn’t carry a gun if she weren’t capable of doing so, or believed herself to be. That’s a potential she didn’t address, besides hoping it would never come to that.

            I’m not trolling or advocating for no guns in the workplace, but to me it sounds like she’s not being completely honest with herself; otherwise, her mother’s alarm might make more sense to her. She says she didn’t make the decision lightly, and I believe that, but also wonder how much of that decision was weighted in fear and the desire for a sense of security, versus the potential outcome of someone actually dying. The letter sounds like it’s from someone who’s afraid at virtually all times of the day – before, during (she keeps it on her person AT work), and after work, and at home where she points out she lives alone. Maybe her city is so violent and dangerous it warrants that level of fear, but gun owners who have an expectation of trouble coming their way are scary in and of themselves.

              1. SRMJ*

                if a fairly predictable response from her mom causes her to doubt herself, why wouldn’t I think she hasn’t examined the implications thoroughly? I’m not reaching…just a windbag.

                1. Forrest*

                  Oh come on. We both know what the OP meant by her statement. Your comments are reading as willfully obtuse.

                2. SRMJ*

                  No, actually, I stated explicitly that I understood to what she was referring, in the long comment above.

            1. OP*

              SMRJ, you are absolutely right. I did phrase it awkwardly in my original letter. Please read that sentence as “I’m not going to randomly start shooting people that aren’t trying to kill me or cause me grievous bodily harm first.”

              I would sooner eat my own pistol than become the next Fort Hood/Navy Year/Sandy Hooker/Virginia Tech perpetrator. That said, I am prepared to draw and use my pistol if necessary. In an ideal world, simply saying “Stop” would cause deescalation. But this is not a perfect world.

              At the time of the conversation, I didn’t understand why my mother was so shocked that I carried in the office (and her concern was more along the line of me being fired on the spot than anything else. I can promise you it was not because my mom was afraid I was going to whip it out and start shooting coworkers.). I understand now that people have pointed it out from my coworker’s and employer’s point of views and that I have taken a more critical look at the scenario.

              Trust me, I am aware of the potential outcomes when carrying a firearm.

              1. Candy Floss*

                Until her son murdered 26 innocent people and her, Adam Lanza’s mother considered herself a responsible gun owner.

                It doesn’t matter what your intention is – if you bring a gun into a place where I work, you are increasing the possibility of a gun being used in my workplace, NOT decreasing it – regardless of your intentions.

                If I found out someone in my office was carrying a gun, I would be apoplectic. Luckily, my office has a no weapons sign posted and complies with the laws that make it illegal.

                You asked if it’s unethical, which is different than it being illegal. I say yes, given how strongly people feel about this issue, I think it is unethical. You don’t believe you are putting people at risk but given the stakes, you don’t get to make that choice for me.

                1. Candy Floss*

                  Forrest, I can’t reply to you but people brought guns to my office, I would look for a new job and leave when I found one. I had a college classmate killed in a workplace shooting and have family in Sandy Hook. I have no tolerance for guns in my life in any way.

                2. Forrest*

                  I think you need to calm down a bit. Look, I had a friend who died from gun violence. But the majority of gun owners and concealers will probably never use their guns. Despite what the media wants us to think, Sandy Hook and the like are still rare.

                  I don’t like guns either. And I’m not sure what my point is. But I do know that there are other ways to prevent gun violence other than simply keeping guns away.

                  Also, did Adam Lanza’s mom really consider herself a responsible gun owner? And are you implying there’s no such thing as a responsible gun owner? Because that’s not true.

                3. Case of the Mondays*

                  Candy Floss,

                  I used to feel the same way but I have been swayed to an extent by the argument that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Also, that gun laws don’t stop bad guys from carrying guns. I don’t think we can argue that the outcome of Sandy Hook would have been different had someone there been armed besides the bad guy.

                4. Candy Floss*

                  Forrest, don’t tell me what I need to do, I am not telling you what to think or do. If you want to know about Nancy Lanza’s gun habits and thoughts, go read up on it. There is plenty of info out there, but of courses that would constitute the ‘media’ which you seem to have a disdain for.

                5. Forrest*

                  Yea, I’m just going to say again: you should calm down. Because I put none of that information out there and you’re just looking at people to swipe at. You should go find another punching bag and not take your feelings out on me. Particularly since we’re coming from the same place.

              2. SRMJ*

                My point was never that you might be at risk of being a nutbar on the verge of going on a shooting spree; my concern was that your examination was apparently cursory enough that you didn’t consider how your boss and coworkers would feel, and that whatever protests your mother brought up (which I never thought were of the ‘my daughter might be crazy’ variety) failed to occur to you, as evidenced by the simplistic reassurances to your mom that you weren’t going to be shooting people up. That lends itself to the idea that your carrying a pistol is more for making you feel safe than anything else. I’m very glad to know you practice regularly and take courses and understand the implications, but so far everything you’ve said suggests you got a pistol to staunch your fear and give you a *sense* of security, more than, say, weighing things like how it affects the people around you, its place in your everyday life, the actual likelihood you’ll ever need it, etc. But hey, if I’m wrong, great. Then you’d be the ideal gun owner!

            2. Jess*

              I think OP said that as part of her blanket reassurance to Alison and her readers that she was a responsible carrier, and not, say, a homicidal maniac. I don’t think she was trying to convey anything deeper w/ that particular statement or that she’s suffering from cognitive dissonance in regard to what actions might be called for in the unlikely event that she was attacked and her life was at risk.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      Did you miss the request that we refrain from debating guns/gun ownership/gun laws? There are many places on the internet for that – this is about the workplace implications.

    3. Diet Coke Addict*

      I believe Alison has asked us all to stay away from this kind of debate in the comments and focus on the question at hand.

  21. Rachel - HR*

    I agree with what Allison has said. However, I would say to the OP to keep in mind that if you do bring it up, your employer is likely to implement a policy against it. So, unless you’re on board with not having your gun, you may not want to mention it. The last thing you want is to mention it in good faith and then have a conflict with your employer over the issue.

    Is there anything else the employer can do to help you feel more secure walking to and from your vehicle?

    1. Katie the Fed*

      That’s kind of…child logic. I get it, but that’s the same kind of thinking a 10-year old does. “If I tell mom and dad I did this, I’ll get in trouble, so I won’t tell them.” There’s little chance they’ll ever find out, but if they do there could be big consequences.

      I think it would make more sense to go to management and ask about the gun policy, or maybe find out what other companies do and propose something similar. Better to be proactive: “Company X has this policy that I think would work well here. I would provide the serial number to security, lock it in a safe during the day, etc”

      1. Rachel - HR*

        You state that there’s “there could be big consequences” if his employer finds out. What exactly do you think those are? I work in human resources which means I have some insight into the disciplinary process and I greatly disagree that there would be “big consequences.” If he knew they had a policy against guns, that would be one thing. In this case, there is no policy in place and if he brings this forward I think the likelihood of a policy being put in place is high.

        1. KellyK*

          I think Katie means that he might well be fired or strongly disciplined for bringing a gun to the workplace without letting anyone know. Just because an action is legal doesn’t mean you can’t be fired over it.

          1. Rachel - HR*

            Except in the case of gun laws, there are more protections for the OP then there are for the employer that doesn’t have any policy in place.

            1. MousyNon*

              Not necessarily true–really this is a state-by-state thing. What’s true in your state may not be true in mine.

              1. fposte*

                As Brett notes, at least one state has failed to include immunity for the business/property owner in its concealed carry law, but it doesn’t sound like having a policy is going to help from a legal liability standpoint–I suspect the issue will end up being whether a policy makes a difference to insurance.

            2. KellyK*

              Once you get into the area of legal protections, though, the OP is finished with that employer. If you only have a job because it’s not legal to fire you, things have gone far past the point of being reparable.

          2. EngineerGirl*

            This. And while the firing is illegal the employee will still have to bring in legal counsel to get the job restored. And at that point the relationship with the employer is completely destroyed. Everyone is angry at everyone else. It will be done. Over.

        2. Joey*

          The absence of a specific policy doesn’t mean the actions or behavior is okay.

          Its legal to own a loaded semi automatic assault weapon, but even if there isn’t a policy you can bet nearly everyone who decides to bring one to work will be fired.

          1. Rachel - HR*

            I can’t speak to specific gun laws. What I can say is that employment law (and the risks around it) are much more complicated than that. I know everyone likes to think that at-will employers can fire for anything but if a company is smart, they are consulting their lawyers before termination. You’d be surprised how many times the lawyers “strongly advise” against termination.

            In this case, the OP has not violated any policies. He has not be warned against his behavior. He has not been acting inappropriately. He is acting within the laws that PROTECT his gun rights. His company would be foolish to fire him.

            1. Joey*

              Cmon, Rachel. If anyone knows you know that they wouldn’t fire him for the gun, they’d find another legally defensible reason.

        3. BB*

          This is where I feel torn. By law, the company is defaulting into a guns allowed policy whether they realize it or not. This is going to be up to OP in my opinion. There’s a possibility no one ever find out he carries and there’s also the possibility that if a coworker does find out, some will view him a different way.

          I guess I would encourage all people to ask their HR dept what their stance is on guns in the office. If you don’t see signs publicly posted, you can assume there might be guns in the office. And then you can decide from there what you want to do.

          1. Joey*

            Unless its a gun shop or an owner that’s hard core gun you can pretty much bet the default is going to be that employers don’t want employees bringing not just guns, but any weapons to work.

              1. Joey*

                Maybe not for the gun itself, but it’s typically not hard to find a legally defensible reason to fire someone. I don’t think the op would want to sour the relationship by invoking a legal right when there are other solutions the employer probably prefers.

            1. BB*

              ‘In nearly all states that allow concealed gun carrying, if an employer wants to prohibit employees from bringing guns into the workplace, they have to post clear notices to that effect throughout their workplace’

              By not posting signage all over the office, they are allowing concealed weapons. They need to take the initiative if they don’t want them- laws is laws.

            2. ExceptionToTheRule*

              Yes, but to be legally enforceable in states that allow for concealed carry, those “no firearms” policies have to be posted in compliance with the law.

              Otherwise, someone who is carrying with a permit has the legal right to be wherever they want.

            3. aebhel*

              That’s…just not really true, actually. It depends a lot on the cultural norms and attitudes of the area, the kind of workplace it is, etc. ‘Only gun store owners and hard-core gun nuts will tolerate guns on the premises’ is an assumption based on your own workplace and culture, not general reality.

        4. Katie the Fed*

          Actually I was using that term in reference the child metaphor.

          For the employee I don’t think they’d get fired, but they may find themselves faced with a new policy prohibiting it. Which again though is not a good reason to not self-report.

        5. Rayner*

          But if the office decided that it signified a big loss of judgement to bring in a loaded, useable weapon and keep it on their person all day, and not tell any member of management about it, in an at will employment kind of environment, that would definitely cause an issue. Even if it was deemed fair by the law, it could certainly stuff the OP up while she’s claiming unemployment/looking for work again – “I carried a loaded weapon at work on a concealed carry permit and didn’t let my bosses know about it” doesn’t exactly sound the height of professionalism.

          At the very least, it could significantly damage the OP’s reputation – not because she has it, but that she did not disclose it to the company when it could put them in difficult (insurance, liability) situations.

      2. Jayhawker*

        This one makes me shake my head. I read further on and I’ve seen the point multiple times. If the OP needs to use it and does without the company’s knowledge there can and probably will be serious consequences.

        My response to that is: if the OP needs to use it and doesn’t have it due to company policy the consequences would be MUCH worse in the immediate scenario.

        My thinking is: I’d rather be alive and have to justify my actions than be dead and definitely not have a job. Back to the old slogan “I’d rather be judged by 12, than carried by 6.”

        1. KellyK*

          Good point, but you also have to consider that needing to use it isn’t the only way the employer could find out.

    2. Bryan*

      I agree with Katie the Fed in that’s its sort of child logic and agree with all of her recommendations. The op can also make their case for having it as saying I have a weapon vs. I have a weapon because I feel there is a possibility of danger once I leave this building are two different things.

      1. Rachel - HR*

        I never said I support the OP carrying a concealed weapon. My point is that the OP needs to fully realize the consequences of bring this up before he brings it up.

        1. Bryan*

          But there are possible consequences if they don’t bring it up and an employer finds out.

    3. Krate*

      Yes, a very good point I’ve been waiting to see made. Unless this is a small, family run, or unusually gun-rights friendly company there is only one way that discussion will go. The employee will be told they will never be permitted to carry and that there should be no guns on company property. The chance of it going any other way is so small that it can effectively be ignored. I am NOT saying the employee should necessarily carry anyway, but bringing the issue into the open is almost certainly not going to end in a desirable outcome, so just realize the potential consequences of doing so. While I do not carry, I have known lots of people that do and know a bit about the carry community. Barring any actual law-based issues, the general stance from most I know for the unclear carry at work situation is to abide by the “better to ask forgiveness than permission” policy. If the OP really feels they need the gun for safety, they can chose to carry anyway, knowing that being found out may result in being fired and live with that possibility. You have to prioritize risk. For many, they chose to elevate their perceived personal safety over a job. I have known more than a few who chose to carry despite an employer’s policy banning it (not illegally, however). In either case this is somewhat unfair to the others in the office who might want to know what’s going on in their environment, so it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

      Also, the potential for accidents goes up if you have to remove/secure and replace the weapon at work rather than leaving it on your person. Accidents happen when there are hands on guns, the more times you handle the gun the higher the risk.

  22. Mike C.*

    I’m certainly made aware of every other hazard at work, why not the fact that someone is carrying a concealed firearm?

    1. fposte*

      Most of us aren’t made aware of every possible hazard at work, though, so I’m not sure this flies as a justification. As far as I can tell, your workplace would be free to tell all the employees who’s carrying if they chose, too–they just have to follow established protocols if they’re saying it’s not allowed.

      1. Mike C.*

        Every workplace I’ve worked in, from laboratories to nurseries to offices to manufacturing plants have had extensive training about any and all safety hazards. Hiding information about known hazards is, even in the United States, a serious violation of federal law.

        1. fposte*

          And I’ve never received any such training, and I’m not sure what federal law you’re referring to. Surely whatever law it is is pretty specific about what constitutes a hazard, no? Rather than requiring people to report their cheese knives and big rocks?

          1. Mike C.*

            The fact you aren’t receiving proper training means either you don’t have to deal with those issues or your employers are putting you in danger.

            Sure there are specific things that are considered hazards, but the fact remains that I should be safe at work, and in furtherance of being safe I should be made aware of things that have the potential to harm or kill me. Guns fit under that description.

            1. Zelos*

              Would it really? (Not being sarcastic.) My layman’s view is that an employer is required to train you on the hazards of your job. If you operate heavy machinery, use chemicals, or haul 50 pound cement bags for eight hours a day your employer needs to educate and train you on that.

              A coworker’s concealed carry–that is fully permissible by law–doesn’t fall under employer’s training requirements in my eyes, since what s/he carries has nothing to do with doing your job.

            2. fposte*

              That’s what I’m thinking–it’s specific to requirements for that kind of office, rather than any broad requirement for employees to be notified of any kind of hazards that may occur.

              So I don’t think that means the law obligates either of us to be notified of a co-worker with a concealed carry permit, because it’s not a specific requirement for our workplaces.

        2. littlemoose*

          I am not at all versed in the specifics, but I’m sure OSHA has some requirements about posting notices, training, etc for particular types of hazards. No idea if OSHA regs could apply to guns (I doubt it outside the type of workplace where they could be expected, like a police station), but I can see where Mike was coming from here.

          Also, this question poses some really fascinating legal questions, in my nerd opinion. All the more reason for the employer to know about it ahead of time, to ensure workplace safety requirements, assess the potential impact on liability and insurance coverage, etc. Even if the OP did have to use the firearm in a dangerous situation and was justified in doing so, there could be significant and costly ramifications for the employer that could cost the OP his job. I guess, for me, the bottom line is that this absolutely affects the employer, even if the OP is in full compliance with state law re personal conceal and carry, and that’s what necessitates proactive disclosure.

  23. Jen RO*

    I am less horrified than I expected! You sound like a very reasonable person, OP. Alison is right, though – you should talk to your employer and let them decide. The gun safe idea above sounds like a good compromise.

  24. Joy*

    I like O’s suggestion of a gun safe at work. This is something you could hopefully coordinate with your employer and would give you the option to have the gun with you when you arrive and leave, without having it constantly on your person during the workday.

    Is a taser not an option? I imagine people would feel much more comfortable with that than with a gun (if people’s comfort ends up mattering to your employer).

    1. O*

      I worked in a bad neighborhood during college, and my car got vandalized one night while I was working. My dad took me to get a taser, and after talking to one of the employee’s who worked at the weapons shop, he said taser’s aren’t the best option because you have to get pretty close to use them. We ended up getting pepper spray and a “blinding” flashlight with a beveled edge if they do get to close. Thankfully I’ve never had to use them, but it made me rethink taser’s after talking to someone who sells weapons. (not that I don’t think they’re effective, but I’d definitely prefer to have a weapon I can use from a distance or close up than one I’d just have to get close to someone to use)

      1. Chinook*

        Pepper spray, though doesn’t work on everyone (as DH’s trainer at Depot found out when DH volunteered to be the first one pepper-sprayed and all he did was smile). Also, it doesn’t work on dogs (he says it just makes them angrier and/or adds flavouring). Bears, I am not sure.

        Tasers, though, can cause death under specific circumstances and require you get within a certain range, which defeats the purpose if the other guy has a gun or even a knife and a long reach.

        No weapon is perfect, which is why cops have different ones on their belt. (and I now realize that DH takes shop way too much for me to know all of this).

    2. AndersonDarling*

      I was thinking about a taser as well. It would be enough to scare someone off in most cases.

      1. VintageLydia USA*

        A taser is hard to use, inaccurate, and you need to be very very close to the person in order to use it (arms distance at most.)

    3. Mints*

      Right, non lethal is hugely overlooked in my opinion, although pepper spray seems better.
      I think OP should talk to the employer, and offer an in-office safe as an option, but if that’s nixed, pepper spray could be the bare minimum

  25. Amy*

    If I were the employer, I would worry about insurance coverage for my company if I permitted weapons on the premises. I would expect that premiums would be significantly higher for places that explicitly allow weapons on site.

    1. TL*

      I doubt it, if the default is to allow weapons. Not to mention, if it’s a customer-based business, customers probably come in who are carrying.

      1. Gail L*

        But it would be easy for employers even in default-allow locations to put policy banning them in place. I would actually be very surprised if this did not affect insurance costs, since it quite obviously raises risk. When our organization purchased general liability and some other insurances, we had to supply our handbook which clearly states no employees may carry weapons on the premises. And it’s not the same as customers carrying and I’d bet those risk calculations are different.

        This is definitely a call for the employer. I know I’d be pissed as an employer if an employee noticed a giant gaping hole in our safety policies, and failed to mention it because they wanted to exploit the absence.

    2. littlemoose*

      +1. And if the employer’s current policy doesn’t account for or permit firearms on the premises, and the insurer discovers there is one in the office, conceivably they could cancel the coverage. Wry important to consider this angle.

  26. Anon*

    One other thing to bear in mind, which I haven’t seen mentioned here. Many states have… interesting laws regarding leaving a firearm in the vehicle. In fact in many states it is easier for an employer to ban firearms in vehicles than on the person of a licensed carrier. For example, in Alaska you can be required by your employer to leave your firearm in your vehicle, but only if secured parking is made available.

    If your employer is uncomfortable with a weapon inside the facility, arranging for secure storage of the weapon on site (locked gun safe in your desk drawer, for example – check your local laws for specific requirements) might be a possible compromise. To me it sounds like you have sound arguments for wanting to be armed when entering and exiting your workplace, but management may have their own concerns about liability, so having alternatives that you can present if they do push back on the issue could go a long way to resolving the issue.

  27. Editor*

    I worked with someone who had a concealed carry permit. He was a pessimist. His risk assessment about the safety of our office and, in fact, the safety of the world around us, was much different than mine.

    I don’t feel that I am safer with guns around because, as Alison notes, many people have little or no experience with dealing with guns in fraught situations, even if they have experience shooting with that gun. My very limited experience firing a pistol taught me it is easier to mis-aim a pistol than it is to misdirect a long gun, and so I wouldn’t bring either into an office, even if I had a permit and was experienced with the firearm.

    When I was worried about my safety at the office because I would be the last to leave, I moved my car closer to the entrance after the parking lot had partially emptied. I think the odds of being attacked would have to be very high for me to think about a gun. If I worked somewhere with money or drugs (a bank, check-cashing operation, pharmacy) in a neighborhood where the business where I worked had been broken into repeatedly, then the odds would be high enough for me to think about a gun — at which point I’d be job-hunting.

    It would be interesting to know how the OP calculates risk near his workplace and how other legitimate calculations of risk would match or contradict the OP’s assessment of risk. There’s the general crime rate, the crime rate involving guns, the crime rate involving guns that were discharged, the frequency of police patrols in contrast to the crime rate, the crime rate in relation to time of day and/or location, and perhaps other factors I haven’t considered. How many different ways are there to calculate risk that an employer could use as a basis for policy, and how many different ways has the OP calculated risk in order to arrive at the decision to carry?

    1. EngineerGirl*

      But you also have to be careful of biases in risk assessment. Like the OP, I grew up around guns. Almost everyone growing up in a rural area does that because police protection is so very far away. Guns are seen as a tool more than a weapon. These viewpoints color risk assessment. OP is comfortable around guns so may look for reasons *to* carry them. You’re nervous around the guns so are looking for reasons *not* to carry them. These biases push our risk assessments one way or another.

      Funny story – when we were 5 years old a police officer visited our kindergarten class. He let us touch his gun and pull the trigger. ” There now” he said. “Now you know what it is like so you don’t do it at home. And if I catch you I will personally come over to your house and give you a paddling in front of your parents!” The thought of being paddled by a police officer was so terrifying to us kids that we avoided guns for years after that.

    2. TL*

      I think a big part of the risk calculation has to do with how comfortable you are handling guns – how much experience, how good your aim is, how much you practice. And your chances of mis-aiming depend a lot on how good of a marksman you are; some people are much better shots with pistols than with rifles.

      (If I were to carry a weapon, I would carry a gun before a Taser or most other kinds of weapons. But I also believe that the only reason you should ever point a gun at someone is because you fully intend to kill them, so I would have to literally fear for my life before I would carry a gun.)

      1. JustKatie*

        I’ve been around guns a good deal throughout my life, and my husband hunts. But I do think that Americans generally have a very heightened sense of risk relative to reality. The OP mentions tragedies like Sandy Hook and the Ft. Hood shootings above- those risks are so infinitesmally small. I understand how exposed you an feel as a woman (and I live a few blocks from one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the US), but the reality is that it’s just not that likely.

        1. Ruffingit*

          I agree that a lot of people feel a heightened sense of risk that just isn’t really there. I have a relative who verges on paranoia about many issues including the TSA agents “getting out of hand” to use his wording. That is but one of many examples of his view of the world as being somehow unsafe or what have you. It’s just ridiculous at some point and I really do feel sorry for people who walk around with that kind of fear all the time.

          1. JuliB*

            I don’t walk around feeling fear all the time. In fact, I am rarely frightened, nor do I carry. Please don’t make generalizations about everyone.

            1. Ruffingit*

              Not making generalizations at all, which is why I said that I feel sorry for people who walk around with that kind of fear all the time. I specifically used the phrase THAT KIND OF FEAR for a reason. It doesn’t apply to everyone, but I am speaking of people who do live with a great deal of anxiety about the world around them and I do feel badly for people with that kind of fear because it’s very hard to live with.

        2. TL*

          I think you can say the same thing about the reaction to having a gun around. It is a very small risk, especially if the carrier is well-trained.

  28. Duckie*

    How high crime is the area? As somebody who lived in Flint, MI, I’ve got to say that yes, there are areas where self-defense is a concern, especially if you’re working late (I’ve also worked graveyard shifts, albeit not in Flint). Some of these areas we’re talking about places where police response is poor/non-existent and there’s a lot of violent crime, assaults, robberies, etc. This was a place where I would just not go outside after dark a lot of the time, and where I’d steel myself coming home for the possibility of my (shitty) car being stolen or my house being robbed.

    That said, yes, the employer should absolutely be told. However, if your employees are working in a dangerous area past nightfall and are taking fully-legal precautions, I don’t see an issue. I think this is pretty context-dependent: When I hear ‘dangerous area’, I think a violent rape every 2 or 3 days, 3-4 robberies a day, and multiple violent assaults. You think about these things differently when their odds go from 1 in 200 or 1 in 500 to 1 in 30.

  29. Labratnomore*

    I would be uncomfortable allowing guns in my workplace or my home, with the possible exception of family and here is why. It all stems from the night at a friend’s house and the neighbor’s wife came over. Apparently that was not OK with the neighbor in question (they were having marriage issues, obviously) so before he came over to “make” her come home, he stopped at his truck and put on his gun. He then proceeded to threaten his wife and my friends for letting her come over, not with the gun, but we all knew he had it on. We had known this guy for several years, not close friends, but we saw him regularly and didn’t expect this. He was not so controlling (and abusive for that matter), at least not in front of us, until the marriage issues started.

    Of course most gun owners are more responsible than this, but the point is you may have to know someone very well before your comfort level is high enough to be OK with them having gun around you. Your employer may feel the same way, so if you bring up the topic they may very well institute a policy of no guns. Maybe you should try to address these concerns before the conversation; it may make it go over better. I certainly see how it would not be able to protect you on your way to the car if it was locked inside. Would it be possible to have a small gun safe at your desk so that you are not carrying it around in the building all day, just to and from your car?

  30. Brett*

    I’ll add a note here.

    I’m a small person. I am frequently the last one of the office from a secure facility. There are no other businesses near here, but a park and a residential area nearby. We are known as a high crime region (though, IMO, we are not). My profession has been routinely targeted for random shootings, and one of my co-workers in this building is, as part of his job, responsible for institutionalizing people who are a threat to others, many of whom have made death threats against him.

    I do not carry.

    I certainly rely on awareness. I am paranoid to a fault about my trip from the building to my vehicle. I review the lists of people who have made threats against our organization or my co-worker. I have taken lots of training on hand to hand self-defense. But to me, you have to rise to a very high level of threat (e.g. like my co-worker, who does carry) or have a significant restriction on your ability to use awareness to protect yourself in order to need to carry daily.

    But this is a personal decision. I think with my size that firearm retention would be far more difficult than personal self-defense if physically attacked. Most scenarios in which I would need to defend myself from another person with a firearm would be ambush situations where retreat back to the building would be the best option. I would have difficulty shooting someone in a lethal force scenario, and that hesitation makes using a firearm worthless for me anyway. And, most importantly, I do not want to assume the very real risk of firearm theft that is extremely common in this area.

    So, lots of factors in my decision. Anyone planning to carry a firearm in the workplace should think that decision through thoroughly instead of just considering it an extension of their day to day life.

    1. hildi*

      I completely agree with this – it should be really well thought out with a high commitment to responsibility when someone decides to carry. I really like how you articulated your thought process, Brett.

  31. Ash (the other one!)*

    I personally would feel really unsafe if I knew the person in the next cube/office/what have you had a gun and was not a police officer/security guard etc. Even with the latter, in my former workplace, we were locked out of our offices twice in the 3 years I was there because the security guards for our building decided to use the men’s bathroom on our floor for target practice (they claim that both incidents were accidents — practicing drawing to the mirror and it went off because the safety was off or something). Anyway, that alone, without going into anything about gun control more generally is why I would not want a gun in my officer as a manager or a coworker — the chance for it being used as a “safety” issue rather than an accident happening (even by the most trained level headed person) just is too high of a risk for me.

    OP: please tell your manager and listen to Allison. Your employer has the right to control his or her business and perhaps they have no idea that the law permits weapons on their property if they don’t explicitly opt-out. You have to give them the opportunity for that policy, or your risking a lot.

    1. Ash (the other one!)*

      Addendum — I think it’s also important for an employer to know if a worker has a gun also in case an accident does happen (assuming they do not ban them); in the case of my building it came down to having to be the security guards since they are the only ones in the building permitted to bring a weapon (we went through metal detectors and xray scans every day)…

    2. fposte*

      Honestly, I don’t think the OP has to give them the opportunity for that policy. Look, I’m happy to work at an institution that doesn’t allow guns, and I understand why people might not want it at their workplaces either. But it’s not the OP’s job to tell the workplace how to prevent her from doing what the law allows her to do and what she wants to do. That’s on the workplace.

  32. Demonica*

    I find it odd that the Manager says:

    “From an ethical and philosophical standpoint, I think that your employer should get to make the call on whether there are guns in their workplace”

    Uh…the law states “it’s legal to carry with a permit unless there are signs posted with such-and-such language.” So it is already their call. It is not the LW’s fault they haven’t designed a policy about guns, maybe because they didn’t think of it yet. The law says its their call if they wanna opt out.

    Now, I’m pretty freaked out by guns and I’d be weirded out and scared if I knew I worked with someone who was carrying. But legally and ethically, I do not think the employee has the responsibility here.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      My point was about what ethics require, totally independent of the law, since that’s really the heart of what I think the OP is asking.

      1. WIncredible*

        How often do employers concern themselves with ethics? Why should employees have a greater burden than the employer? Most employers already have the right to deny concealed carry. If they are ignorant of the law, that is their issue. When personal safety is involved, I would defer to the person with actual concern about safety, not a non-concerned corporation.

        1. KellyK*

          The thing about ethics is that your responsibility to treat people fairly and reasonably doesn’t go away just because there are crappy employers out there.

          If the OP’s employer had already shrugged off safety concerns that the OP or others had presented, that would be a different situation.

          I don’t think it’s fair to assume that the OP’s employer will react unethically or irrationally without some evidence to support that conclusion.

    2. Amy B.*


      This is what I came here to post.

      ” In choosing not to tell your employer, you’re denying them the ability to have a say in something I think impacts them.”

      The employer is not being denied any say. They have had this say all along and either chose not to act on it or is ignorant of the law.

      Full disclosure: gun rights advocate.

      1. Demonica*

        I am pretty much the opposite of a gun rights advocate, but yeah, even ethically, I just don’t think it’s the OP’s job to notify the employer.

      2. Ash (the other one!)*

        I think the problem though is I would bet most employers don’t know that this is an opt-out situation they have to have an explicit policy for. When I hear about conceal and carry laws discussed in the media it is usually about public places. To me, an office building is not a public place so I would not automatically assume that that right automatically comes in unless I say otherwise — Allison even had to look this one up. That’s why I agree with Allison that the employer has a right to know and make their own call…

        1. EngineerGirl*

          But isn’t the onus on the employer to know the law in the area where they do business?

          1. some1*

            You would think. A former company I worked at had a policy written into the handbook that was illegal in the state where I lived.

            1. Annie O*

              +1! I’ve seen this.

              And I’ve also seen a company refuse to change a policy even after discovering it was illegal.

            2. fposte*

              That’s a different question, though–reading AAM will make clear that many companies don’t know the law. EG’s point (correct me if I’m wrong here) is that it’s not the responsibility of the employee to be sure the employer is aware of the law in this case.

              1. EngineerGirl*

                And it is the company’s responsibility to find out about the law if an issue arises. Which means that the company should have someone on retainer if they don’t have full time legal counsel. Many times I see HR departments act first question later. Unless it is an emergency this is a recipe for lawsuits.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  The problem is that you don’t always know what you need to ask. It never would have occurred to me that I’d need to ask about guns.

          2. JustKatie*

            I think most employers are (mostly!) well informed in regards to employment law, but less so in regards to matters like this.

    3. Joey*

      There are plenty of legal things you have a legal right to do that will piss off your employer that are completely rational. The law doesn’t always consider logic, courteousness or ethics.

      1. LBK*


        And there are plenty of things that are legal for you to do as an employee that you should still inform your employer about, or at least could potentially still have an ethical obligation. If nothing else, this is a CYA move for OP.

    4. Brett*

      In many states, only the property owner, not the business owner, can post such signs. Which matters because so many businesses lease their space.

    5. Bryan*

      I don’t think it’s fair to say because they haven’t thought about a policy then you don’t have to tell them. There are many things that could not have been though of when writing policy especially since it’s a fairly small company and the only way to handle the situations are when they surface.

      1. JustKatie*

        Not to mention it just sounds so bratty to do it without asking. My workplace has no rules about playing bagpipes every day at 2 pm, doesn’t mean I get to cry that there isn’t a rule against it when they call me on it.

  33. Elle*

    I would just simply ask my employer what /where the policy is for concealed carry in the office.

    Our state fairly recently changed and we now have postings up banning weapons in the office from HR.

  34. BB*

    You might need to check with your building as well? I’m thinking of in places in like NYC where you have to sign in with security and walk through metal detectors. I’m assuming that’s a building regulation and not enforced by each company that resides in the building?

    1. Demonica*

      Interesting point, if the building is not owned by the employer. Of course, if the owner is a real estate company, they are free to have a policy and post signs.

      Now I know why the academic medical center where I used to work had signage about weapons. I always thought it was kind of strange.

  35. Jillian*

    I feel like you HAVE to tell you employer, for the reasons Allison and others have given. But you also have to realize that, depending on how your employer feels about it, even bringing it up may affect future promotions. In many states/areas and by many people, you will always be considered the “gun nut”, even if that isn’t fair.

  36. Anonymous*

    I do not think I can tell you whether or not this is a good idea, but perhaps it would help you to have some perspective from someone who worked in a high-crime area without a gun.

    I worked third shift at a grocery store in a high-crime area when I was 18. For our multi-state chain grocery store (not one of the national ones, but still fairly large), my store had the record for most knifings per year. Orientation included instructions for how to avoid being knifed, what to do when robbed, what to do when confronted by angry patrons, etc. The grocery store management clearly understood the local crime issue. They made policies to make them a less attractive target than other local stores, and to protect employees and patrons. If requested, you could always ask for an escort from the security guards out to your car. The parking lot was covered with cameras, so I never felt a need for it. I was always alert when coming from or going to work, and if something had ever come up I would’ve just retreated back to the store and asked for a security guard to help me out. The view of the parking lot was fairly clear and unambiguous, and it was in the store’s best interests to keep the parking lot relatively safe.

    While I met a lot of odd and occasionally criminal people at that job, I was never personally threatened or attacked. I diffused hotheads by talking to them respectfully. Confronting criminals at work was not my responsibility, and the store had insurance to cover their property loss. Confronting criminals instead of retreating and letting them have the store property they wanted was actually the main cause for most of the knifings at work – hotheaded young male employees who wanted to show they were tougher than the criminals got knifed for trying to stop them stealing $5 pieces of junk, or $10 worth of food.

    Other job, same town, I was an evening library clerk. The worst that happened to me was getting my tires slashed during a snow-storm. Generally, nobody came to steal books – they came to vandalize, or to seek shelter. Kicking people out at night was rough sometimes, but they had policies to keep the crime low and push people out to easier targets. They locked the bathrooms at night, so that if you insisted on staying overnight you wouldn’t have anyplace civilized to do to your business. They had a cop come by regularly. I never had need of a gun or cause to use one, and the people who were most likely to bother me were either homeless or young children.

    I have a question for you about your gun self-defense. Have you ever shot another person? Have you had someone point a gun at you? I had to defend myself a few times (outside of work). I never had a gun for it, so I had to use whatever was at hand. While I’ve had to hurt people to keep them from hurting me, I never once regretted that I didn’t have a gun. Especially the guys who pulled guns on me; in the rage of the moment, I admit I would’ve shot them if I had a gun. Since I didn’t have a gun, I just came out with a bruised ego. In retrospect, they weren’t worth shooting. I’ve always been glad that when I’m attacked and I get angry, I don’t have a gun on-hand, because I would’ve used it where it wasn’t really warranted and brought much worse consequences down upon myself.

    1. Anonymous*

      Part of my long, rambling point is that your employer can and should take steps to make your business less attractive to criminals in high-crime areas, so that you don’t fear for yourself quite so much. This is good for their business and their employees, so it’s generally win-win as long as you aren’t explicitly catering to criminals as part of your business model. Some of these steps are easy and cheap, and there’s no real excuse for a good manager not to implement them. A well-lit parking lot with a clear view of any trouble sounds like it would solve half of your problem in one go. Fake parking lot security cameras if you can’t afford the real thing are somewhat effective.

      1. De Minimis*

        My wife currently works as a library clerk and safety is a big concern–they do handle money and unfortunately the management has not seen the need to at least not have it out in the open. We live in an alleged “nice” area which in a way is worse because they don’t see the need to have police presence or security, even though the weirdo factor is pretty high.

        I’ve had a lot of jobs where the company did not care about security, although in many cases it was leased space where they did not have the ability to do much, but it was very frustrating to always be having to worry about your car being stolen or broken into. At one job a co-worker had a car break-in at ten in the morning! At any rate, I don’t know if you can necessarily count on the employer to address security concerns.

  37. Jill*

    Alison, I respectfully disagre with the spirit of your statement, “Your coworkers are likely to feel that they had a right to know they’ve been working near a deadly weapon every day”.

    The idea of getting HIV creeps me out but I have no right to know if a co-worker is infected. The idea that I’ve been unknowingly working with a sexual predator would tick me off but coworkers aren’t obligated to disclose if they are one. The very nature of concealed carry laws is to enable the carrier to bear a weapon *without anyone’s knowledge*. Having to disclose that you carry, for no other reason than “people feel they have the right to know” flies in the face of the law.

    For the record, I’m not a gun owner and have no desire to be one. I just don’t think that just becauase someone’s lifestyle swings a little extreme that others are entitled to know about it.

    1. Demonica*

      Well, one difference is that in those other scenarios no one can steal your HIV infection or sex offender-ness to hurt someone else or turn it on you…It’s inherent to the person and not the same as strapping on every morning.

    2. alger*

      I’ve got a black belt in an Asian martial art. Do my co-workers have a right to know they’re working with somebody with that kind of skill? What about my co-worker who is a combat veteran, trained to create mayhem with whatever tools are available?

      What about the guys in the shipping department, who use boxcutters all day long? Those can be deadly, too, in the wrong hands!

      1. Kevin*

        Being patronizing by bringing up box cutters is not productive to the discussion over whether the OP should have to introduce their weapon to their employer. It’s a specific situation over something that is not really comparable to many other things and also has specific laws that pertain to this situation. You obviously have a certain view on the subject but looking at this with anybody’s specific opinion vs. approaching it objectively are two different things.

        1. fposte*

          I actually think alger’s response was pretty logical, and I’m not pro-gun carrying in workplaces; the problem is that all risk is not equal, logically or emotionally, so the situation doesn’t fit well into broader statement about hazards or deadly weapons.

        2. TL*

          I work with a guy who used to be a bouncer and has put armed people in the hospital using only his fists. I don’t particularly feel like he needed to disclose this to me and it didn’t change the way I felt about him (except I was glad that I had never had to do that. Violence is not my cup of tea.)

          I view concealed carry the same way. Lots of things are or can be as dangerous as guns are; we just don’t care as much.

      2. Aisling*

        I do work with a co-worker who’s a black belt, and I’m thrilled to have the knowledge. She’s never had to use it at work, but I do work in a profession where you can encounter strange individuals, so it makes me feel safer to know she’s there.

        Do I have a right to know? No. But I’m glad I do.

      3. OhNo*

        I know the point that you’re making is the exact opposite of this, Alger, but let me just say for the record:

        I also have a black belt in a particular martial art, as well as being a certified instructor in two other martial arts (and an uncertified instructor in yet another) – and I always, ALWAYS make a point to tell my coworkers at some point early in our acquaintance. I think that people with the skill set I have, and also the skill sets of trained combat veterans, etc., have a responsibility to tell people with whom they will be in close contact for long periods of time.

        Why? People who train that kind of activity a lot run the risk of having an “automatic” response to someone that they don’t intend (I, for example, once came within a second of breaking my brother’s wrist because he grabbed me when I wasn’t paying attention – just because I’d been working on wrist breaks for weeks and the movement was so ingrained in my brain). This is doubly true of people trained for combat and combat veterans, who may have issues with flashbacks or PTSD, and who are far more trained than a simple martial artists like myself would be.

        For the safety of your coworkers, YES, you should be telling them. You don’t have to give details, and combat veterans and soldiers don’t have to talk about it, but a simple mention (“I spent two years in the army”/”I train jiu jitsu for fun”/”I sometimes don’t react well to ebing startled, please try to avoid it”) is sufficient.

        In the case of guns, as per the OP’s question, a simple mention to the boss of “Hey, I noticed that we don’t have a gun policy yet. Do you think we should have one?” might be enough to satisfy his/her ethical obligations to the company and their coworkers.

    3. Bryan*

      I don’t think those are fair comparisons. Carrying a gun or having HIV are just too far apart.

    4. KellyK*

      I don’t think HIV is necessarily a good analogy. You don’t have a right to know about your coworkers’ health status, but you *do* have a right to that information from potential sexual partners. (I’m talking ethically, not legally.) The issue isn’t the OP’s “lifestyle”—it’s what they’re bringing into the office. *That’s* what makes it the employer’s and coworkers’ business.

      Concealed carry is a legal state. Not an ethical position. The OP is allowed to decide what measures he wants to take to protect his safety. In fairness, his coworkers should be able to do the same, but if someone is carrying without telling them, they’re denied the info to make an appropriately informed decision. (Which might be anything from deciding that since Fred is carrying, he’s the one they want to walk out with if they have to work late, to deciding that they want to look for work at an employer that explicitly bans firearms because they don’t feel safe with someone carrying. But it should be their call.)

      1. Jill*

        Well, I bring up HIV or status as a sex offender because of the same general repercussions that OP could face. We judge each other all the time, especially once we discover certain things about a co-worker’s private life. I think most of us would treat a co-worker differently if we knew they had a scary disease…or if they were a sexual deviant…or what their arrest record looked like. As others have said, OP may come to be unfairly viewed as a “gun nut” or a “crazy doomsdayer”.

        This may affect the willingness of others to work with OP on a project, or give OP a promotion. As long as OP is following the precepts of the law, I just don’t see that s/he is ethically bound to disclose this.

        1. KellyK*

          Yeah, I can see your point. I’m still on the side of disclosure being the ethical thing to do, but there are some risks there.

    5. AndersonDarling*

      Interesting perspective. I could be sitting next to a violent convict right now, I just don’t know it.

    6. Elysian*

      I agree entirely with your reasoning and was about to type something very similar.

      I don’t think that the line of reasoning a lot of people seem to have is very convincing – “I don’t like this at all, I wouldn’t want it to happen in my office, thus the OP should tell the boss about it so Boss can put a stop to it.”

      The OP is doing something that (while you may disagree with his right to do it) is entirely within his legal rights. Whether or not I agree, it doesn’t matter. I’m not particularly thrilled when convicted murders are paroled, but they shouldn’t have to wear a neon sign about it or announce it to me if they’re sitting next to me on the subway.

      OP seems to have a right to do what he’s doing. I don’t think he should have to disclose it, unless someone asks.

      I would consider, though, OP, getting a gun locker you can keep at your desk so you don’t have to carry during the work day. Then you could have your firearm for your commute and lower the risk of accidents while you’re in the office. I don’t know if that would work in your situation, but its worth some though.

      1. Elysian*

        I see that the idea of a work safe was suggested elsewhere, sorry for being a piling-on person!

    7. Mena*

      Not sure I agree with Alison that proximity to a deadly weapon is everybody’s business. We have large serated knives in the kitchen. There are box cutters everywhere and we all know what can be accomplished with a box cutter. The OP is acting within the law and not outside of defined company policy. Rock and a hard place, for sure.

      1. JustKatie*

        Box cutters and knives have to be used in close range AND serve a need in a workplace.

    8. Eric*

      HIV is a pretty poor analogy, though. It’s basically impossible to contract outside of a blood transfusion or exchange of sexual fluids.

      Besides that, with proper (albeit expensive and lifelong) treatment, it’s more akin to a chronic medical condition than a life-threatening illness.

    9. Rayner*

      Not at all a good comparison.

      HIV is not voluntary. You cannot choose to have that – it’s a disease that’s passed on through a number of different ways from person to person or bodily fluid (like blood transfusion) to person. There are very very few people in the world who would choose that, and even then, there are drugs and medicines to actively control that.

      It is the OP’s choice to carry a gun – a known, deadly weapon which is very controversial – into an office. Regardless of how well she is trained, regardless of how well she thinks she can use it (and the OP says they are very well trained which does mitigate some safety issues), that weapon still has the power to kill the wrong person, or to create massive liability issues for the company and the OP.

      A more accurate example would be carrying a vial of small pox to work – it may never break, it may never cause any co-workers any harm, and the OP may never have a reason to use it so they may never think about disclosing it. But if it accidentally was broken, or if the OP used it to get an attacker, and then another co-worker was exposed to it, then there could be massive ethical and legal implications – and it didn’t matter how the OP was trained, or how recent their certification was issued, they would not be able to control that situation completely.

      The company has a right to know that the OP is bringing in that vial of small pox – or a gun – into the workplace, and then to decide if they want to continue to allow it (which they may very well do, if the OP does live in an area where it’s culturally okay, or necessary), or to say no.

      When a company isn’t given that choice about a situation which may affect them significantly, not saying anything isn’t permission.

      1. Elysian*

        I don’t think that smallpox is any better an analogy than HIV. No analogy is perfect or without its flaws.

        But I disagree that the company has a right to know – I don’t think they do. If you’re planning to commit biological warfare, I’m pretty sure there’s a law against that. But the OP has specified that he or she is carrying concealed within the limits of the law.

        I think that Jill’s analogy isn’t a bad one, because there are a lot of things in the workplace (and the world) that might be dangerous to us – diseases, known criminals, etc. And people don’t have an obligation to disclose those things, even if they affect others. I think the same is true here.

        1. Rayner*

          You missed the point with the small pox thing. It wasn’t that it was a disease, it was that it was an active choice to carry it, whereas the HIV thing is involuntary and mandatory (you can’t put HIV in a drawer and leave it at home, but you can do that with a gun), and therefore, effects from it (accidental revealing of it as someone else mentioned with the whole ‘brandishing’ thing, or if it went off accidentally, or if someone found it during an official search etc) are often considerably bigger, or serious.

  38. BCW*

    I have a FOID card so legally I can own a gun, but concealed carry just passed in my state, and I have really no desire to carry or even own one. Would I be thrilled that my cube-mate has a gun on them at all times? Probably not. It would really depend on their person and their temperament. That said, if you are carrying it because you really feel for your safety in going to and from your car, then I don’t see a problem with it. Maybe there can be a compromise, like you can have it in the office, maybe in locked your desk, but not have it constantly on your person.

  39. CourtneyW*

    First time commenter…but this is an issue close to my heart! To the OP, ignore your mother’s views. My boyfriend has a concealed carry permit and always carries, including at his job. His mother is uncomfortable with it, not his problem though. I would approach the situation as you’re just letting your employer know, not asking permission. Example, “Mr. Boss, I have a concealed carry permit. Due to the nature of my work, I am often here early and leave late. I’d like to carry my firearm on my person. I practice weekly, attend training classes regularly, and am well educated on firearm safety. It will not be noticeable to anyone and I will not draw any attention to it. According to state statutes, it is legal to carry in this building, and I do not see anything in our employee handbooks prohibiting this. However, I wanted to bring this to your attention and make sure I have your permission.” Or something like that! Good luck and I wish I worked with you :)

  40. Celeste*

    I agree with AAM completely. Maybe your employer has a preference, but didn’t think it was an issue. You need to have the conversation in order to get it clarified. It’s their business place, not yours.

    I have no idea what your employer will say, but I think they’d be much happier with you discuss it than if you keep on withholding the information about what you’ve been doing. You don’t know that it’s wrong, but you also don’t know that it’s allowed.

    I commented above, but I also feel that if you have workplace security issues, you need to raise them with your management, and not take them into your own hands. Doing so is the kind of thing that makes people think your judgment is not so sound. Your employer has so much liability, and you are increasing it even if your intentions are pure and you are a stable person. I’m sure it also makes others wonder what you would do in a threatening situation such as a domestic violence issue of yours or anybody else’s that finds it way into the workplace, or even a coworker snapping for whatever reason.

    You have to speak up, and let the chips fall. Just the fact that you wrote in for guidance says to me that at some level, you know you need to do this. Soon.

  41. mina*

    Ohhhh I have to do this! This is the beginning of one of my fav book series – Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia. The accountant brings his concealed gun to work and turns out, his boss is a werewolf that he has to use it on. So really you just never know when your boss will turn out to be a supernatural creature. And that gun is totally going to come in handy.

    1. Amy*

      You forgot the kicker, where he ends up being fired due to violating his company’s policy regarding guns at work! :)

      1. mina*

        Another fan! That is awesome. And true, the bullets he had at the time weren’t effective, but shoving him out the window with that heavy desk did.

  42. The Maple Teacup*

    I live in Canada which has a very different cultural history regarding weapons. From that standpoint I would be darn freaked out if I knew one of my coworkers was carrying a concealed weapon legally. Especially if management didn’t know about it.

    1. the_scientist*

      I know, right? This Canadian is over here going “WTFFFFFFF”?!?!

      Last year I went on vacation to Atlanta and I was shocked (SHOCKED!) that you are allowed to carry guns with a permit on the MARTA. I wonder how many of my fellow passengers were packing but honestly thinking about it too much gives me hives.

      1. Laura*

        This Canadian has similar feelings to you two, and I had a similar shock in Atlanta, only it was in a restaurant. Random people carrying around concealed guns is just not something people are familiar with in Canada, unless they’re in a gang or something. Not that you’re in a gang! It’s just not something regular law abiding people do here.

        To be fair, if my coworker was doing that, it would be illegal. But I feel like weapons in teh workplace is ethical to tell the manager about.

    2. Zelos*

      I’m Canadian. I’ve never seen anyone carrying (that said, I Don’t visit the States much)…but I think strangers having guns around me kind of just ups my wariness/situation awareness, but doesn’t freak me out. Helps that my boyfriend and his father are both hunters and own several guns. Also helps that I like guns, in the awe/respect/wary kind of way.

      If a coworker of mine (someone I know) is carrying, I don’t think it’d bother me at all.

      1. Laura*

        My uncle is a hunter, but his guns are kept in a safe when he’s not hunting, and they’re not the same as a gun someone would conceal/carry. I don’t dislike guns. Concealing a weapon and carrying it around being legal is just such a foreign concept, as is carrying around a fully visible gun in the grocery store, so I don’t think I can offer useful commentary.
        Of course, where I live I’m sure there are people who carry around guns illegally, and there is gun violence, but it’s not the same culture

        1. Zelos*

          Yeah, I can understand that. I’m more okay with concealed carry than open carry–open carry seems…threatening to me, in a passive sort of way: “lookie here, I’m packing!” whereas concealed is more like…”I have it, I’ll use it if need be, but I’m not showing it off.” I’d be startled to see open carry, and if I go somewhere where concealed carry is legal I’d assume someone was packing even if I can’t see it.

          I can’t see strangers letting me know they’re carrying if it’s hidden, but if I somehow figured it out, I think I’d be warier just by the virtue of not knowing them. But if it’s someone I know/see regularly (coworker, friend, etc.) and they’re carrying a firearm that’s concealed, I think I’d be fine.

          …I think. I’ve never been observant enough to notice when someone was carrying, so maybe this is moot.

  43. Apollo Warbucks*

    I’m from the UK do guns aren’t something I’m familiar with, but can I make the suggestion that you do not leave the gun in your car whilst at work some one might steel your car and then have access to the gun which would be bad, assuming they are already a convicted felon and won’t get a gun legally.

    As for carrying to work if you are the first or last to leave and you need security is there another way that would keep you safe and is the area that dangerous you feel you need a gun on your person?

    I would see what your company had to say and maybe work out away of keeping the gun locked up in the day time, hopefully it’s only before and after work you feel unsafe.

  44. Joie de Vivre*

    A fascinating question. As a Canadian who has had virtually no exposure to guns at all, I would be extremely uncomfortable to learn that any colleague of mine had a weapon at work. Even though it’s a little ‘ostrich with the head in the sand’ I think I would rather not know.

    However, you’ve obviously given the subject a great deal of thought and determined that you feel that it is necessary to carry. So, before disclosing and risking that it will then be forbidden, is it possible to get a general sense of your manager’s feelings on the subject first? Maybe in casual conversation? It could give you a sense of what the reaction to your carrying may be. Also, if you do decide to let them know, you will need to have a plan for what you’re going to do if they do decide to forbid it.

  45. Liz*

    Another point to consider: while the OP sounds about as educated, trained and thoughtful as anyone could want a concealed-carrier to be, if the workplace makes it clear that weapons are allowed, would they institute similar requirements? I don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harriet carrying just because they’re allowed to – just the ones who take regular training classes and are educated in safe gun carrying and usage.

    1. red tape*

      That’s just what I would be worried about, just because the OP is responsible and knowledgeable, that doesn’t mean that everybody is. If the employer allows it for one person they’d have to allow it for everybody, and that’s a can of worms they would very likely not want to open.

      1. Elysian*

        I mean, it’s really for the state to determine whether a person is qualified to carry concealed. So what you would want is better state laws, I think, and not a policy where the employer is in the position of testing your firearms qualifications. It isn’t an “all or nothing” choice.

    2. Elsajeni*

      Well, the state sets the standard for who’s allowed to carry concealed; anyone who has that permit should have pretty similar training and knowledge to what the OP has. It does sound like the OP is very conscientious about keeping her training up-to-date, and may well be going above and beyond the requirements for a concealed-carry permit; even if someone’s just done the minimum required training, though, if they’ve received that permit, you should be able to trust them to carry responsibly. (And if you can’t, as Elysian said, that’s a matter for your state government, not for your employer.)

  46. AmyNYC*

    YES you need to tell your employer.
    I’m also concerned that you’re scared to walk from your office to car unarmed; this should also be addressed with your boss.

  47. Sigrid*

    Huh. I just walked down the hall to check the nearest “no firearms allowed in this building” sign — and it does cite a law in small print! I never noticed that before.

    Of course, we’re a hospital in downtown Detroit, and people come in with guns *anyway* (especially the ER), but at least it’s harder for the hospital to get sued when they have signs everywhere saying firearms aren’t permitted.

    1. Sigrid*

      Also, I had no idea that said signs were a legal requirement. I always assumed they were a statement of policy, like the “no smoking” signs.

      ….Wait, are the “no smoking” signs a legal requirement, too?

  48. Lily in NYC*

    My office fired our security director because he was doing the exact same thing. He had a permit to carry but never bothered to tell anyone he had it in the office every day – and when it was found out he was fired on the spot. He was a known police wannabe (you know the type) and no one was comfortable with the idea of him having access to a weapon.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      I should add that this is NY so things are super-strict. I actually don’t have a problem with concealed carrying – my only issue is that while OP seems very conscientious, there are lots of people like my coworker who should not be allowed anywhere near weapons.

      1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

        Good point. Even though the OP seems REALLY sound in judgment and well trained, if SHE does it, then ANYONE can. I know we’ve all worked with people who could barely tie their own shoes, let alone be allowed to have a gun on property.

  49. OP*

    Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone for their comments (and any comments that come). I know my perspective on many firearms-related issue is skewed – having many friends who often carry and spending time at the range (were everyone open carries) can sometimes distort my perspective of what is “normal.” I’m glad to have people that will give me honest feedback.

    I am definitely considering everything that Alison and the commentators have said – I think I will bring it up with the owner of my company, once I figure out how to have that conversation. I also like O’s idea of a little gun safe/lockbox for under my desk – it could be a good compromise between carry/no carry. (I’m a little sheepish that I didn’t think if on my own, actually.)

    For some additional context, to people who brought up the safety of the office – it’s a rather large(for this city) office building which has one security guard at a bank of video screens for a 35-story building, none of which are on the outside of the building. The other offices on our floor open later and close earlier than my office. The building itself is located in a weird location – two blocks one way takes you to a $500k+ housing area (pretty fancy for this part of the country), while going two blocks the other way bring you to a part of town where all the stores and houses have bars on the windows and a fairly healthy drug trade. It’s easy to avoid that area, so many people forget it exists, although the areas bleed into each other – One of my good friends was attacked on her way to her car (She managed to escape relatively unscathed, but now her boyfriend escorts her to her car every night).

    1. OP*

      I also want to throw out there that I have put a concealed lockbox in the car – as long as someone doesn’t see me put the gun in safe, no one will know it’s there (which doesn’t really help if someone just decides to steal the car, but it makes me feel better when I go to the post office). I’m not just leaving the gun in the glovebox.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      If you do talk to your management, please let us know the outcome. I’m sure many other offices will need to consider this issue as well.

    3. Bryan*

      I appreciate you even taking the time to ask and gather input about the decision. I think there is a fear that if brought up they will institute a ban so many would rather just not talk about so thank you for not taking that route. Please send an update on the issue.

      1. OP*

        I think that is many why I’ve hesitated to ask thus far. I think the owner and CEO of the Company would be okay with it, but I don’t know about the President (who is in the office more often). I guess I was/am afraid of being penalized/punished/though of negatively for this, even though I really like this job and am otherwise willing to stay at this company for a while.

        To be honest, I also never even though about my employer’s potential liability – I mean, it’s not something they’re sanctioning (Ideally, no one would even know) and/or encouraging, so why would they be liable? I mean, I see how it can be construed, but that hadn’t even crossed my mind before writing in.

        1. Bryan*

          While I don’t usually promote lying I think it’s a valid concern that there could be consequences. Could you leave it at home one day and phrase it more as you noticed there wasn’t a policy and you wanted to carry it because of safety concerns however you’re asking before doing?

          I know it’s not honest but there’s a chance it could negatively impact you when it shouldn’t since the employer did not have a policy in place.

        2. littlemoose*

          Your employer’s potential liability depends heavily on the situation, but it is not at all inconceivable that they could be held liable for an employee’s tortious actions on workplace premises. And as others mentioned above, it’s likely material to your employer’s insurance coverage as well. It sounds like your employer leases space in a large building rather than owning a building outright, and then you have the matter of the employer’s contract with the landlord and the landlord’s insurance coverage as well. I know you would not be intending to represent or act on behalf of your employer while carrying (or using the firearm if necessary), but the law may not see it that way.
          I wish I was at home, because I really want to do some legal research on this issue!

          1. fposte*

            Post later if you still have energy to find it! I think that’s a really interesting dimension of the problem and it’s likely to be the one that matters most to the Powers That Be.

        3. Brett*

          Since I raised the liability issue…
          It is not so much liability, but that most states have specific conditions under which your employer would be _immune_ from a lawsuit if you used a firearm on the premises. Your employer is going to want to take whatever actions are necessary to make them immune from a lawsuit if you use your firearm.

          Since it sounds like your employer leases space in the building rather than owning the building, the owner of the building also has a significant stake in this. In a building that size, the building owner almost certainly has a firearm policy and their policy could trump anything your employer says on the topic.

          1. Jonny B*

            my life is worth more than anyones money so the whole liability thing doesnt mean anything to me being i wouldnt use my gun unless i was in a life or death or life altering situation.

    4. B*

      I came here to suggest the same thing as O…a gun safe and telling your manager as a heads up. You sound very responsible and while I am not sure how I would feel, I know I would be more comfortable with a safe then with you just carrying it.

    5. O*

      Another thing I might suggest is taking classes on how not to let your weapon get taken from you, or at least ways that might prevent it better than just struggling over it, and what to do if your weapon does get taken from you. It’s better to have more than one line of defense.

    6. WorkingAsDesigned*

      OP, glad to hear that you’re working on a way to notify your employer. I, too, have a concealed carry permit (although don’t carry often).

      Should your employer decide not to allow you (and/or other carrying employees) to carry your firearm, have you considered learning other forms of self-protection that are solely the use of your body? This could address the issue of someone taking your firearm or another weapon and using it on you/others.

  50. Rev*

    OP, I’m from Cajun/Creole country, so my opinion may be flavored a bit (Green Tabasco is my personal preference), but, having said that, if I were you, I would:

    1–Go to my state’s website and make a copy of my state’s firearm law. ALL of the laws, not just the conceal carry section. Read them thoroughly. Training facilities are notorious for only giving their students the bare minimum of information required by law.

    2–“I practice weekly and attend training classes regularly…”
    Get WRITTEN proof/confirmation from your training facility. If an incident would arise, say, a year or so from now, written proof of responsible gun ownership is an investment you’ll be glad you made.

    3–I would not tell my employer, any more than I would not tell the manager of my local grocery store when I enter, or any of the other places where the law allows me to carry concealed. You’re dealing with a sensitive issue, and, despite your best intentions, you may be dealing with an emotional, irrational mindset that will disregard your obvious care and attention, will respond in a negative manner and negate your attempt @ personal safety..

    1. Just a Reader*

      What is irrational about not wanting an employee to carry a gun, and/or not wanting to work with someone who carries concealed?

      1. fposte*

        He didn’t say that it necessarily was an irrational view, though; he just said that it could be somebody who is coming at the question from an irrational mindset. And there’s no controversy that doesn’t involve people on either side with irrational mindsets, so I think that’s valid to point out.

    2. Mallorie, the recruiter*

      Being extremely anti gun – I have to say… your argument of “I would not tell my employer, any more than I would not tell the manager of my local grocery store when I enter” is actually really valid. I would absolutely NOT want guns in my workplace (and for all I know, people do have them) but this argument is very logical in that, that’s kind of the POINT of conceal carry, isn’t it? Being AGAINST conceal carry is another thing entirely (I am) … but very nice point! Thanks for sharing!!

    3. MousyNon*

      re: 3 – not telling your local grocery store is very different from not telling your employer (notably, because you’re presumably in your office most days of the week, which increases the risk to the employer in terms of liability). Not telling your employer runs the very real risk of getting you fired if a weapon is discovered later on, so I don’t know how sound this advice is on a practical level.

      1. Del*

        Agreed; additionally, the employer-employee relationship is extremely different from the business-customer relationship, so the liabilities I have to imagine would be significantly different if an incident were to occur.

    4. Rev*

      #3 is the upshot (sorry, couldn’t help it) of #1. Having a firm understanding of the law makes one aware of the ramifications of choosing to conceal carry. Once you make that choice, then you have chosen to live with the results of that choice.

      As a manager (pastor of a moderately-sized church), I regularly handle sums of money in a high-risk neighborhood. Everyone in my community knows I carry, especially during offering time.

      IJS, I feel where OP’s coming from, and I share his sentiment.

      And, as to not be hypocritical, I allow other parishioners to conceal carry, in accordance with LA law.

      (LA law prohibits CC in churches, but we’re structured as a business, so legally, we’re OK. That’s what I mean by knowing your state’s individual statute; you’d be surprised at how it varies.)

      1. Jayhawker*

        I just want to thank you Rev for making these points. I was about to do the same (I’m glad I read this far down.)

        This issue is near and dear to my heart because when I was growing up some very bad things happened to some very good friends of mine.

        I too have my concealed carry permit and I carry everywhere, all the time. Boy scout motto: be prepared. I know that I’m not going to depend on anyone else to ensure my safety as it is not their responsibility to do so (police, employer, landlord, etc.) and there is no way to hold them liable. If you don’t take care of yourself no one has to. That being said, everyone who keeps saying they would be freaked out if they knew their co-worker had a firearm on them needs to really evaluate their fear spectrum. It is an inanimate object designed to do a job, but used wrongly it can injure,maim or kill. Much like every other object out there. Just because I want to carry a specific tool with me at all times doesn’t mean it’s any of your business. How many people carry pocket knives or pens everywhere they go? Those objects can injure, maim and kill if used for that purpose (granted not as effectively, which is why I have my firearm.)


        1. C average*

          I’m sorry about what happened to your friends in the past, and I offer up this question with all due respect.

          Why does your fear of a recurrence of a one-time event fall under the “reasonable” area of the fear spectrum, but another person’s misgivings about spending 40+ hours of their waking lives in proximity to a deadly object fall under the “unreasonable” area of the fear spectrum?

          I would not like to work in an environment where people were routinely carrying firearms or other deadly weapons around as a matter of course. It would make me nervous. I would vastly prefer to be in a gun-free workplace (either by law or by culture) than in one where there was a likelihood my colleagues were carrying. I think many share my outlook, and it is not an unreasonable outlook.

          1. Jayhawker*

            Watch the news. Bad stuff happens to good people all the time. The reasonable spectrum (in my opinion) is skewed in my direction because you can spend every second of your life in the safest environment possible until one day for 1 minute you’re in danger. When that danger is there I have the right to protect myself. The fact that you’re nervous around guns should have no bearing on my right to defend myself. I’d rather not need it and have it, than need it and not have it.

            For the record I’ve never personally had reason to use it and the fact that it sits on my hip all day has no bearing on anyone around me. They’re not in more or less danger than they would have been without me around. The fact that “It would make me nervous” to even be around firearms makes me scratch my head. Licensed concealed carriers have a lower rate of criminal activity than cops. The US DOJ and TX DOJ have reported numerous times that licensed concealed carry permit holders are in the bottom half of 1% of criminal activity (meaning they contribute to less than 1% of all crime) and less that 0.25% of all firearm related crime.

  51. Dawn K*

    I’d love to sit next to you, OP. I’d feel safer. There are many crazy people out there and the organization I work for makes people angry regularly. Unfortunately, there is probably something in the handbook that would prevent me from carrying concealed to work even if my state were not one of those with onerous, overbearing gun laws.

  52. Brett*

    The more about this, I think that more so than ethics, rights, etc., this is a liability issue.

    Carrying a firearm at work is changing your employer’s liability, and when you use that firearm, you have created a serious legal problem for your employer.

    So, the real question here, I think, is whether or not you have an obligation to tell your employer that their lack of policy has created an enormous legal liability for them. You really don’t. But not informing them can have consequences.

    1. fposte*

      That’s been mentioned upthread, and I’m wondering–is the default to opt-out changing the liability issue at all (especially if it really is true in some places that the property owner and not the business owner would have to enact the ban)? What recent incidences have put the employer on the hook?

      1. fposte*

        Okay, I’ve dug more, and I see what you’re saying–it’s not actual incidences but the absence of an immunity clause, so at least in Illinois it’s unclear what would happen, and that’s enough for insurers to raise their rates.

      2. Elysian*

        Yeah, I’m not exactly sure where the employer’s liability issues would stem from here. If the employer doesn’t know, I don’t think they’re any more liable if the employee spontaneously shoots someone than they are if an employee spontaneously punches someone in the face.

        1. littlemoose*

          An employer generally would not be held liable for an employee’s criminal actions, even if they occurred in the workplace, like assaulting a coworker or customer. But if the OP used the firearm in a situation in which he was defending another employee or the company’s property, then his non-criminal actions could be construed as done in the scope and course of his employment, and employer liability will generally attach then. Again, it really depends on the circumstances, and it’s unlikely but certainly not impossible. And even if a court ultimately wouldn’t find the employer liable, there could still w significant litigation costs just to defend against the suit.
          And what if a plaintiff’s argument was that the employer was negligent in not having and enforcing a specific firearm policy? I don’t practice in this area and would have to know more about the state’s specific laws, but I think it’s feasible. This is the kind of thing that the employer’s lawyer would want to know about, to advise the company accordingly.

          1. fposte*

            From what I, a non-lawyer, can see, the issue right now in Illinois is that insurance companies have been alarmed by the absence of an immunity clause (which apparently usually does appear within concealed carry legislation) and therefore are jacking up their rates to make sure they’re covered in case the courts find the absence of such a clause significant. So it’s an insurance problem as well as a legal question.

      3. Brett*

        Immunity is more of the issue here than liability.

        If the employer is not immune, they are going to get dragged into the lawsuit. That is going to result in legal costs and increases in insurance rates.

        Now, if they end up liable too, then you are talking the sort of thing that could end a small business. But even if they ultimately are not liable, just not being immune in a lethal force case is going to be a serious problem.

        1. Jayhawker*

          You’re all so worried about liability after the usage of a firearm. If that person needs to use a firearm and can’t due to the workplace policies and something horrible happens, what do you think their liability is going to be like?

          1. fposte*

            At the moment, it looks like it’s zilch in states with immunity statutes, and I’m not finding a case where liability was ever found for preventing concealed carry. I understand you think there should be, but I’m not finding any.

            As Brett notes, the Illinois problem is that the absence of immunity language raises questions on all sides.

  53. Jipsy's Mom*

    One other thing for the OP to think about is how his employer’s reputation might be affected if it becomes broadly known that the OP is carrying?

    I work at the headquarters of a national consulting firm, with 30+ offices nationwide. Our headquarters are in a very small Western town, and we have a pretty strong presence West of the Rockies. As other posters have mentioned, concealed carry in our geographic area is probably more common than folks realize. In addition, many of our employees travel to client sites, might work in very remote areas, might work in high crime areas, etc. We know there are employees who are licensed to conceal carry, or who have weapons in their cars. Our management and HR group have recently been researching state laws where our offices are located in order to post compliant notices and prohibit guns in our buildings – so yes, as others have noticed, growing awareness of folks who carry has created a reaction intended to ban the weapons in our workplace.

    One of the biggest concerns from a corporate standpoint, though, has been ‘how would our clients react knowing many of our employees carry?’ Many of our clients take the safety of their own offices and project sites very, very seriously, and would not be amused to learn a consultant is carrying – regardless of whether our client has posted notices. Many of the contracts in place with our clients specifically prohibit weapons, and I doubt every client site physically has notices posted in compliance with state law. That said, if one of our employees carried onto that client’s site (because hey – no notice posted!) and damaged our reputation with the client, I could see termination of employment being the result.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not much into guns myself, but many coworkers are. Thinking of some folks, I would be terrified to think of them carrying to the office. Others it wouldn’t bother me as much.

    1. Aisling*

      I think that the issues you’re talking about would be the same if guns were not involved. If one of your employees damaged your reputation with a client, without a gun, the employee would still probably be fired. The gun doesn’t automatically make the issue worse. As far as clients being worried about your employees carrying, I’d think it would be strange if the clients thought no one did, especially in a western state. If people in the general population carry, why wouldn’t anyone at any company they work with? If they were truly concerned by that, they can post the appropriate signage.

      1. Jipsy's Mom*

        I agree to an extent – an employee showing up intoxicated would be similarly damaging. I do think weapons do escalate the concern though – as we’ve seen in the comments here, it’s a hot-button issue. I think a company could be tainted with the reputation of being full of ‘gun-nuts’ (right or wrong, the perception could be out there) in the same way an individual might be labeled. It’s important enough that clients specifically call out the concern in a consulting contract, and marking their site is not practical – think project site in the Nevada desert, or similar locations. Putting up the required legal language prohibiting firearms isn’t practical in all cases.

  54. BCW*

    Also, I think a lot of people are assuming the “walk to the car” means the car is on company property. Many places don’t have parking on-site, so someone may have to walk a few blocks. If it was a parking lot, sure, then its a management issue. Otherwise, I don’t necessarily think it is.

    I’m wondering if it wasn’t “walking to and from the car” but was “walking to and from the bus stop/subway station” if people would be a little more forgiving? As I said, I think a compromise of a gun safe is the best route. But, unless there is a REALLY good reason (like you work at a bar) I don’t think the manager banning it is necessarily good.

    1. Betsy*

      Thanks for bringing this up. I’d been reading through all the comments about safe parking lots and thinking that at a lot of places, even if you drive to work, you may be parking on the street five blocks away.

      And even if there is a parking lot, at a lot of businesses the parking lot is a shared resource of a property management company, and individual tenant companies may be unable to make changes.

  55. Collarbone High*

    I would tell your employer, and here’s why:

    Right now, you have a chance to make a clear, reasonable argument — as you’ve done here — as to why you should be allowed to carry, and maybe present some ideas that other people have suggested to make that more palatable, such as a gun safe or a sample policy that has worked for other employers in your state.

    That conversation is likely to go much differently if someone in your office finds out by accident that you’re carrying. What if you, say, lean back in a meeting, your clothes shift, someone sees the gun, freaks out and screams “Jane’s got a gun!” and panic ensues? What if you have a medical emergency at work and the paramedics cut off your clothes? Then management is going to be reacting under stress, under pressure from colleagues who are upset, and are much more likely to make a knee-jerk decision and implement policies that probably won’t go your way.

    1. De Minimis*

      It depends on state/local law of course but I recall reading something a while back that claimed a firearm made visible by shifting clothes could somehow be construed as “brandishing” which apparently would be illegal.

      1. OP*

        That is true in many places, and is designed to combat a gun carrier threatening another person by pulling back a jacket/sweat/other cover garment without actually drawing the gun.

        1. De Minimis*

          I think it was on a message board where police officers answered questions–someone had a concealed weapon and was at Starbucks or somewhere similar and their weapon became visible while they were reaching for creamer or something. A cop happened to be there too and told them [more as an FYI than an admonishment] that it was considering brandishing.

      2. Jess*

        That’s exactly what I was going to mention. I believe some states even require you to report any time your weapon is made visible…so if you’re carrying a concealed weapon you keep it concealed unless and until the unlikely event where it’s actually needed.

    2. Aisling*

      I know a number of paramedics, and this happens more often than you think – specifically because paramedics also work on cops when they’re hurt. Medics are trained to assess risk when working on someone, and this is one thing they check for.

    3. Apple22Over7*

      This is my take on it too. By starting the conversation, being open and proactive, you’re giving further proof of responsible gun ownership (alongside the regular training/practice etc). I get the idea of concealed carry is so that others *don’t* know you’re carrying, but if you’re carrying for self-defence reasons then I see little issue with letting your employer know. I think it’s naive to believe that no-one will ever find out, and to me being able to control the context in which the subject is addressed and present reasonable arguments in your favour. The benefits of being seen as a responsible, careful gun owner outweigh those of having a hidden weapon on your person and being “found out”.

      Of course, your employer may then start things in motion to forbid weapons – that is the risk you take. But even then, by being honest about the fact you carry, and bringing your security concerns out in the open will give you a decent platform to have a meaningful conversation about the issues, and come to a solution which is acceptable to everyone.

      Personally, I live in the UK and have never so much as seen a gun in real life – my experience with firearms is strictly limited to videogames and TV/movies. I would be very uncomfortable working with someone who carried a gun regardless of their reasons for carrying. But I know that I would be a lot more uncomfortable working with someone who had intentionally hidden the fact they were carrying a gun, than I would be working with someone who was upfront about it.

      1. JMegan*

        But I know that I would be a lot more uncomfortable working with someone who had intentionally hidden the fact they were carrying a gun, than I would be working with someone who was upfront about it.

        Agreed, 100%. And fwiw, I’m in Canada, so I have the same (lack of) experience with guns that Apple22Over7 does.

      2. Jayhawker*

        I have a problem with this for 1 major reason.

        The OP has laid out a clear reasonable argument here as most of us would all agree. And the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative towards him/her with more than a few comments saying “I would be freaked out if ….” People don’t really react rationally around firearms for whatever reason and the OP is extremely likely to have the company throw up a no guns policy for no other reason than they’re freaked out (be it rationally or irrationally) now that they know. And they are in no way responsible to provide for their employees safety (ethically: yes, legally and practically: no)

        Now if I knew my place of employment was extremely level headed and forthright with their employees and generally extremely ethical, I might inform them. But most likely not.

  56. Stephen*

    I don’t think OP has any ethical obligation to inform his/her employers or colleages. They all know they live in a concealled-carry state and that that means anyone they meet out in the world could have a gun.

    That said, people feel strongly about guns and some people are not comfortable knowing they are around them, so OP has to think about the potential impact that this will have on your relationships at work.

    OP should know that if they inform their employer there is the possibility that they will be asked to stop. The employer may not be willing to go as far as posting the required signage, but then OP will have to decide whether this is important enough to them to justify the bad feelings that will be generated if they choose to ignore that request.

    On the other hand, if thery choose keep this under your hat and it does eventually come out, some of their colleages will feel angry that it was hidden from them. Some will likely consider OP to have put them in danger without their consent or knowlege, and fell that a trust has been betrayed. I’m not saying that is fair or even rational, but it is the emotional reality of the situation, so OP should keep in mind it is the risk you run when you carry at work.

    I don’t know how cool OP’s co-workers are likely to be about guns, and I don’t know how dangerous the neigbourhood really is, but a little risk analysis is called for.

    1. BCW*

      Re: colleagues feeling angry about it being hidden. Someone mentioned this. THATS THE POINT OF CONCEALED CARRY. Some places have open carrying laws, which is fine. But if you are allowed to hide it, then why should you have to disclose it to your colleagues. I kind of see bringing it to management (although I do agree that it makes it a big chance they will be banned), but even if that is the case, there is no reason everyone you work with needs to know this information.

      1. Stephen*

        Like I said, I don’t think that the OP has a duty to disclose. But that doesn’t mean no-one in the office will, and if someone becomes upset, it’s unlikely they will be talked out of their feelings just because OP is acting within their rights. Maybe OP is okay with that, but maybe its worth thinking about the working relationships involved.

    2. Poohbear McGriddles*

      “They all know they live in a concealled-carry state and that that means anyone they meet out in the world could have a gun.”

      Good point. After moving to Texas I noticed that places like Target had signs posted prohibiting weapons. Then I finally noticed the word “unlicensed”. So your fellow shoppers may be armed (legally)! Other places, like my gym, forbid all firearms licensed or not. Either way, you know what you’re getting into – except for the fact that the bad guys don’t always bother with CCW licenses.

      1. Us, Too*

        I live in Texas and pretty much assume that just about anyone could shoot me at any time. Perhaps that’s the root of southern hospitality. LOL.

  57. Kerr*

    Katie the Fed mentioned upthread that if you don’t tell, and your employer does find out (by accident – or worst case scenario, you have to use it), there could be major consequences. The exact consequences would depend on your employer: potentially ranging from mistrust of you in the future, to being angry, to being fired. Those ARE serious consequences.

    With that in mind, you may want to see if you can’t get your employer to change the environment to be more safe: maybe more lights, security to escort you to your car, parking lot gates, secure entry – whatever.

    I’m pro-gun rights, and I think you ought to be able to carry in the office (or at least TO the office). But it’s worth noting that unless the area is very unsafe, you may be better off carrying a non-lethal defense option, and advocating for better security, simply because of the potential issues.

    That said, you know your situation and office location best. If you honestly believe that the serious consequences of ticking off your employer or being fired are outweighed by the risk of the serious consequences of being dead or seriously injured, I’m going to come down on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” side. If it turns out that they’re pro-carry, great – but they’re also likelier not to fire you if they find out after the fact. If they’re not, well, I see a no-guns office policy in the future.

    And because it was brought up, do make sure you’re getting training where you have to practice under stress. And bring a portable safe to keep in the car, just in case you have to leave the gun unexpectedly.

  58. Poohbear McGriddles*

    By bringing this to their attention, the OP would be asking them to create a policy either allowing concealed carry or prohibiting it. By not prohibiting concealed weapons, they are effectively allowing them. But it’s not clear if they understand that.
    There is always the chance that the company will find out about the OP’s situation through other means. And the person who finds out will probably be someone who detests guns in the workplace – that’s just how the universe works. Although the OP is within her legal rights, it is probably better to get this resolved now and not when the rumor mill takes care of it for her.

    1. LBK*

      That’s not necessarily a fair assumption. Presumably there are offices out there that consciously allow guns even while being aware of the opt-out nature of the law. Who’s to say OP isn’t working at one?

  59. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

    I’ll state my (strong, and likely unfair) biases upfront: I loathe guns and I don’t allow them in my home (which means barring some family members, who refuse to leave their guns at home). I would be very disturbed to discover that a colleague was carrying at the office, and it would very significantly affect my views of that person and his or her professionalism.

    But my own stuff aside: I suspect that you know that you’re probably getting away with carrying only because it hasn’t occurred to this organization to comply with the laws requiring posted signage/etc. If you genuinely believe that they would be ok with you carrying, there’s no harm in giving your boss a heads up. If you suspect that they don’t want you to carry and just haven’t gone through the process of banning guns on the premises, then you owe it to them to alert them to the need to make a clear statement on this issue.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        People who “don’t leave home without it”. I have a few of those in my family. So if they are out and about, you know for a fact they are carrying.

      2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        To be fair, you could say the same thing about me: What kind of person chooses refusing to allow guns in their home over seeing their family?

        1. C average*

          I would absolutely take this stance. And not because I’m anti-gun, but because I’m anti-gun nut. Someone who feels the need to be armed everywhere, including in the private home of their relative, doesn’t strike me as a rational individual. I’m not keen on the idea of my stepkids (who are young, insatiably curious, and have never been around guns) being in proximity to a firearm, but I’m even less keen on them being in proximity to fear and paranoia. For that matter, *I* wouldn’t want to be around that type of person, knowingly or otherwise.

  60. CarrotNotKarat*

    At my mother’s place of employment (a factory), one of her co-workers (Bob) recently brought his gun to work. It didn’t have bullets in it. Bob was cleaning it while on his break and another co-worker happened to see him and asked why he had it with him at work. Bob said that he just brought it to work randomly, that it wasn’t loaded but was planning on bringing bullets this next day. The co-worker got really freaked out and reported it to HR. Bob got fired the next day. Until this point, Bob had been a great employee and hadn’t shown signs of mental instability, problems getting along with others, etc.

    Did Bob show a lack of judgement by bring the gun to work and with his statements? IMHO, he did. It’s disappointing that his work record will potentially be effected for many years to come, but from the employer’s perspective, you can totally understand why they made the decision they did.

    (For the record, I am against bringing weapons to work for the reasons others have outlined previously.)

    1. Poohbear McGriddles*

      In this case, I can see why he was fired. First, the weapon was not concealed – he had it out in the open. Then, he commented that he had brought it “randomly”. And to put the icing on the cake, he added that he would bring bullets next!

    2. hildi*

      I am pro-gun rights and I think Bob was a fool to do that. To be chilling in the lunch room cleaning your gun?! And then casually mention he’s bringing bullets the next day? Whoa, I agree that others should have been alarmed. But I think it’s people like Bob that do a disservice to those who view gun ownership as a sacred responsibility. The narrative becomes that gun supporters = people like Bob; when the people that you want carrying are those like OP. oh crap, sorry if I went off track and philosophized. I just wanted to respond about Bob and say he sounded really sketchy. I would love to know if that was just a really stupid idea on his part or if he ended up being a shady character.

      1. CarrotNotKarat*

        From what my mother told me, Bob (until this point in time) had been a pretty stand-up guy, made good decisions, and got along well with everyone, which makes the story even more sad.

  61. MousyNon*

    I think the employee should run it by their manager, and that manager should absolutely take it to HR. Almost certainly, the company will decide to enact a comprehensive policy (likely restricting gun ownership on the premises wholesale, within local and federal law), because the insurance considerations alone of having a gun owned by a non-professional on the premises would be a complete nightmare.

    However, OP, you should use this conversation as a launch point to discuss means of making your to-and-from-office commute safer. Maybe your employer should consider a door man, or video security, or instituting a policy that there must always be at least two people in the office at a time, 0r any number of reasonable accommodations they could make to make their staff feel safer (because an unsafe office can ALSO be a liability for your employer, after all). You can also consider non-lethal options, like carrying mace or pepper spray if that’s legal in your state, a panic button, taking self-defense classes, etc.

  62. Ann Furthermore*

    OP, I agree with everyone else here that you should offer the compromise of keeping your gun secured in a gun safe while you’re at the office. I think it’s a solution that everyone should be able to live with.

  63. Tinker*

    I’m generally not averse to discussing that I’m a martial artist, that I own firearms, and that I have a CHL. I do carry a knife quasi-openly and use it without any particular concern. That said, I would not bring this issue up to anyone I worked with unless they demonstrated an inclination to do likewise or possibly if truly compelling circumstances applied (e.g. I had a stalker and needed to make arrangements related to that).

    I’ve got a general rule to strenuously avoid personal disputes involving my ownership of firearms — hence, for instance, I won’t date anyone who doesn’t start from at least neutral on the topic — and I’ve seen too many people react exceedingly poorly to the overall concept to be willing to put myself that far out, particularly at work.

    Since every place I’ve worked for has had a no-weapons policy, albeit for some of them probably as part of a boilerplate agreement they bought off of some HR-in-a-box company, this would be one reason why I don’t carry at work. The other main reason being, basically, that for any trip where I’m not going to put water bottles on my bike or where I leave the laptop sleeve out of my bag to save weight, I’m sure as hell not putting four pounds of metal in my pants.

    1. Tinker*

      Actually, I realized I skipped over an underlying point that’s probably the most relevant thing to the OP: The reason I strenuously avoid personal conflicts regarding my firearm ownership — as contrast, say, impersonal conflicts such as online debates (which I largely avoid for other reasons) — is because the prospect of someone throwing around the idea that I’m an angry-dude-with-a-gun when the material aspect of that theory can be trivially and unambiguously determined to be true (and the immaterial part is a matter of interpretation that may by some people be assumed from the material) is really, really not my idea of a good time.

      I recommend this attitude also to others — that if you want to get into abstract arguments, whatever, but as far as matters related to your own personal bits of metal and stuff you had better be as unto a gun-toting Buddha and have nothing but politeness, agreeableness, and kind regard for others in your manner. Because the other way can easily go seriously sideways in a way that you cannot afford.

  64. Allura*

    I’m ignoring the comments because I have too much to do for a debate. But if the OP wants to carry to work and it’s legal to do so, please exercise your right. I wish I could, but my home state won’t allow me to defend myself with the best tool for the job. Do not inform your employer. It is your Right in this country. Just use it. And may you never need it.

    1. LBK*

      The advice here is about what is realistically going to produce the best outcome, not what is legally most acceptable. The fact is that even if OP is well within her rights and the laws to carry the weapon at work, there could be potential impacts to her at her job. Even if the law prevents OP from being formally disciplined (which, to be honest, I have no clue if it does) it definitely doesn’t prevent OP’s manager from seeing her differently and potentially impacting OP’s ability to work normally.

      Think about it this way. It’s perfectly legal to date a coworker, or even for a boss to date their employee. That doesn’t mean that an interoffice relationship has no potential impact on the way people view those in the relationship. It also doesn’t mean that there’s no reason to voluntarily disclose the relationship if it could potentially prevent backlash from it coming out involuntarily.

      And, to take an extreme example, there’s no law against me taking all my calls on speakerphone, but that doesn’t mean I should do it. The law is not always equivalent to what is ethically acceptable or best in the interest of self-preservation.

      1. Elysian*

        I understand what you mean about the law vs what may make the best outcome. But the purpose of concealed carry is so that people don’t know.

        If this person were a convicted felon, and their employment application didn’t ask about felonies, and the law was that they had a right to be tight-lipped about it, I would never suggest that a job applicant/new employee alert his employer to the matter just because others in the office may be uncomfortable. I get where you’re going, but this isn’t an office relationship, I think it’s a more fundamental right (that may be where we disagree).

        1. LBK*

          My only point is that the OP has to be aware that this perfectly legal action may still have ramifications on her job. Saying “Do it because it’s legal and it’s your right not to tell anyone” is bad advice that does not take all the realistic factors into play, specifically what may happen to her working relationships if she decides not to disclose and her manager finds out some other way.

          I completely, 100% agree that she’s within the law and within her rights, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Basically, if she chooses not to say anything, she’s gambling that her employer will never find out.

          1. Elysian*

            Would you suggest that a convicted felon disclose their felony status, even if not asked? I ask in the most non-hyperbolic way possible. That could also have ramifications on their job – they could be fired once the employer found out, or your coworkers won’t want to work alone late at night with your anymore, etc. But is the person really in a better position by disclosing? They’re still gambling that the employer never finds out (or that if they find out, they’re ok with it – that’s still a possibility).

            1. LBK*

              To be honest, I don’t have an answer to that. If a gun is physically in the office, I feel like the risk of someone finding out it’s there is a lot higher than an employer finding out a piece of information from someone’s past that they would likely have to dig for. I think the immediate reaction is also likely to be less extreme if it gets out, because some people are physically uncomfortable/afraid of just the presence of a gun in a way they might not be about a person’s past.

              I understand what you’re getting at, and both situations are about risk management. In my assessment, I think the risk of not disclosing a concealed gun is almost never worth the potential consequences, but there are (more) situations in which not disclosing a felony would be worth the risk.

        2. fposte*

          I’m not hugely conversant with concealed carry theory, I admit, but is it really that if anybody knows you’re carrying, it’s no longer concealed carry? That makes it sound like spouses, families, roommates, etc., are never to know of what’s in their house either, and that doesn’t seem fair to me. I’d like to think there’s ground for people to acknowledge that they’re carrying in a space that they don’t have total authority over without it being a breach of the point.

          1. Elysian*

            I think that’s fair and that they can acknowledge in it if they’re comfortable doing so. But the OP is obviously unsure where the comfort level is here. I think that the “I’m uncomfortable, please disclose!” argument here runs against the idea that the OP is allowed to carry even when others are uncomfortable.

            I guess I just think that since part of the practice of the concealed carry is nondisclosure, that that lowers the bar on the ethical implications of disclosing.

            1. fposte*

              Yes, I can see what you’re saying. And while I’m somebody who doesn’t care for guns, I also think that it’s not necessarily the workplace’s job to make you comfortable with everything that your co-workers bring to it. Maybe this has a certain amount in common with the recent post about the sexual offender co-worker and the woman who couldn’t take that–it’s not her job’s obligation to ensure she’s protected from discomfort about that.

              1. fposte*

                Oh, looks like that was in the open thread, not a regular AAM post, in case some people are trying to remember it.

                1. A Cita*

                  Can you provide a link? I rarely go into the open threads because I know I’ll lose a day (I’m a slow reader, I admit). But am curious about the debate around it.

  65. Anonalicious*

    What this comes down to, for me, is people feeling safe at work. Your employer is responsible for your safety, my safety, and our coworkers’ safety, while we are at work. If you are not feeling safe to the point where you have to bring a gun to work, then that is a conversation you should have had with your employer long before you started carrying a gun.

    1. fposte*

      But it’s not even at work, it’s going back and forth to work. The employer can’t ensure a whole neighborhood or town is a safe place for its employees (remembering the days when I public-transit commuted to Gary).

      1. Anonalicious*

        Right. But the parking lot, which I believe is where the issue starts, is (presumably) part of the employer’s area of responsibility. If she was bringing the gun in her car on her commute and carrying it places she went between work and home, we wouldn’t be talking about this. But she is bringing it into her building because she can’t leave it in the car because she fears something may happen in the parking lot. So she needs to bring this up as a personal safety issue first and foremost. If there was more security in the parking lot, I assume she wouldn’t feel a need to bring the gun into the building and could leave it secured in her car. Also if there was more security in the parking lot, fearing that her car, and thus gun, could be stolen would be less of an issue.

    2. Bryan*

      In the process of the OP feeling safe it might mean a number of their coworkers no longer feeling safe.

      1. Anonalicious*

        Well it really shouldn’t, that’s what I’m saying. What the OP is doing now may make some of her coworkers feel unsafe. I’m just saying that she should bring up the parking lot safety issue to her employer, which is something that they can somewhat control. I also think that if she’s feeling unsafe walking to and from her car, she’s probably no the only one. I can’t believe she’s literally the only person who has ever shown up to work off hours or stayed late. I think her employer can do some things that would make her more comfortable and thus enable her to leave her gun in her car. Everyone feels safe, problem solved.

        1. Jess*

          A weapon is not a security blanket to make you feel better; it’s a tool used to protect yourself in the unlikely event that your life is threatened. Feeling safe and being safe are two very different things. Feeling safe or secure is subjective and not necessarily well correlated with the actual level of risk.

          On a daily basis, I’ve always felt very safe in my various workplaces. I also work on the Washington Navy Yard where there was a mass shooting last year. (Frankly, I still feel pretty safe coming to work everyday.) But my or anyone else’s general sense of security doesn’t mean that a weapon will never be needed. A sense of security is important, but so is actual security. And sometimes the unthinkable does happen.

    3. Jeff A.*

      Your employer is not the sole party responsible for your safety. That’s like saying the government is solely responsible for the safety of its citizens. Do they provide a baseline level of protection? Yes, of course. Is that adequate for us to be safe? Of course not – violent crimes happen constantly, in and out of the workplace.

  66. Kelly*

    In my opinion – if the policy doesn’t mention it – neither would I. I choose to carry a firearm for MY protection. If I am working in a high crime area or if I will be arriving/leaving alone I am carrying my weapon, concealed – as I have the appropriate permit to do so. It is my legal right. If my employer wants to addressed weapons it is up to him/her to address it and not for me to bring to his/her attention.

    This subject takes me back to the story of the woman who decided to leave her weapon in her car when going to a restaurant with her parents. It just so happened that a crazed man crashed into the restaurant while they were there and opened fire on everyone in there…she could do nothing but watch her parents die right in front of her. Had she brought her weapon in she would have had at least the chance of stopping this person from killing her parents and the others – all she has now is “what if’s.”

    Heartbreaking story. My permit is to allow me the “chance” to protect myself should the need arise. My employer can choose to ban them but I’m not going to invite them to.

    1. JuliB*

      Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who I have had the pleasure to meet. It’s one thing for everyone here to talk in hypotheticals, but it’s another to talk to someone who saw her parents slaughtered before her very eyes.

      Most gun owners are better shots than the police, and most police support concealed carry. Ask the Detroit Police Dept.

    2. Bryan*

      She also has the what if she shot another innocent person. The “facts” are going to side with a person’s position on the issue so please it’s irrelevant.

      1. JuliB*

        Right, because she carried (and carries still) she wouldn’t be able to know if the man who shot her father in front of her was actually an innocent little 9 y.o.

        This has all descended into political opinions. My initial gut reaction was to say to you ‘spoken like an anti-gunner’ but then I felt it was too dismissive and unfair. But, I have no way to answer a person who thinks like you do.

        I suppose rather than deal with facts, with what actually happened, it’s more convenient to ignore her murdered parents.

        1. JuliB*

          And what kills me is that 40 years ago, we had gun clubs in school. How on earth did we ever survive. /sarc

        2. Bryan*

          This is the type of comment that doesn’t have a place on this website. All I was saying was nobody has 100% marksmanship. You can’t sway my views on the subject with by using the awful event that occurred as propaganda.

          I think we can both agree there is not a 100% trusted study on whether people are more likely to stop bad guys with guns or if they will accidentally hit someone else. People tend to choose the examples that suits them which makes sense. And it’s not like things were amazing 40 years. Things change and progress.

          1. JuliB*

            Ok – I apologize for the sarcasm. However, if CC was such a risk, FL would be the bloodshine state, not the sunshine state. I am old enough to remember that propaganda slogan from the earliest CC arguments.

            No, there isn’t a 100% study. But, as I just pointed out, with 49 states (IL being the last one to change, bringing it t0 50) having some form of CC, we’d be awash in accidental shootings from CC permit holders. And that is NOT an example but an argument.

            With regard to hitting people on accident, with all due respect to former VP Cheney, the number one rule is not to shoot if you can’t see what you are shooting at. Also, merely brandishing a gun tends to make ‘bad guys’ run away. Criminals don’t want the hassle.

            You mistake my comment about 40 years ago – I am using it as an example of ceaseless anti-gun propaganda. Or you might call it progress, as it were. I don’t.

            FWIW, I am in the middle of reading a book called ‘On Killing’ by Dave Grossman examining the increase in weapons fired to psychological methods and conditioning used by the Armed Forces since WW2. While I haven’t gotten to the point where he compares it to the what’s happening in society (with the increase in murder and violence across the Western world), he compares modern violent video games to what the military uses to desensitize its members.

            So why is this relevant to the discussion? Because we are more at risk now than we were 40 years ago overall, concealed carry or not.

            I get sarcastic, no – full out upset – that people wish to deny my rights to defend my life at virtually no risk to them. While I don’t know if I would get a CC permit in my state, it’s really the bad guys that you, or anyone else, needs to fear.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I am going to ask that we not stray into the larger topic of gun ownership, as that will derail the point of answering this letter. Thank you.

        1. JustKatie*

          I appreciate this forum for discussion, but can we… not have questions like this in the future? I love this community, but this question is killing my Ask A Manager buzz.

          1. fposte*

            Not being snarky here–what’s “like this” to you? Is it the divisiveness of the issue?

            1. JustKatie*

              Yup. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy hashing out the various philosophies behind gun ownership- I’m very political and frequent sites that tackle all sorts of issues like this and discuss them with friends and family a good deal. I just feel like this site is a safer space to tackle to weird reality of workplace issues. Which this question certainly falls under, but with a very political bent. I think people generally handled this conversation well, but don’t think we got anywhere. Seems like most people’s views fell in line with their already existing views on guns.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Same question as fposte, but assuming it’s the divisiveness of the issue … I actually find these questions really interesting as long as we can handle them reasonably well, which I think this proves we can.

            I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea though. My best advice is when you see one coming that you think will set your nerves on edge, skip it! (And I don’t mean that in a snarky way, but as a genuine encouragement to not subject yourself to stuff that you know you won’t enjoy when there’s no need to!)

            1. JustKatie*

              Oh, I absolutely understand (and appreciate this thoughtful community you’ve worked to grow). I think I’m just grumbling because this is the final outpost of the internet I troll that isn’t political, aside from puppy videos. Rock on, I’ll skip these in the future!

            2. JuliB*

              But AAM, you underestimate your pull. I can resist alcohol at business dinners, etc but find it hard to pass by one of your interesting posts.

            3. Turanga Leela*

              Just adding that this is really interesting to me, and I’m glad you posted this question. I had never thought about the concealed-carry rules at my workplace.

            4. Not So NewReader*

              FWIW, I thought this was a very informative read.
              I am glad I worked my way down allllll 500 plus posts. It’s a difficult topic and many, many of the comments were well thought out and interesting.

              However, yes, I agree. People see the head line at the start. A column that starts with “My coworker abuses puppies…” I have to skip that one. Seriously. I will not do well with that discussion. I am sure there will be other topics that I will have to skip.

              I believe I benefit anytime I do read through these tough topics, though. Insight/knowledge is power. Anytime I can let go of my own thinking, long enough to hear other voices, I might grow in some tiny way. Hopefully.

          3. JuliB*

            Hear hear! I love AAM, and wish I had passed this thread by.

            I took a 4 year Bible study put on by my diocese, and loved it, but we had one instructor in the 3rd year who injected politics more than once into it, and it crushed me. Had it been my first year, I would have left the class.

    3. Joey*

      Hmm. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but saying things like “it’s my legal right” at work creates an adversarial relationship which probably isn’t the best outcome.

    4. Jean*

      Heartbreaking stories can usually be found on _both_ sides of any constitutional or social issue.

      I could see (grudgingly) accepting the need for a coworker to carry a weapon while entering and exiting at odd hours a building located in an unsafe area. But once that gun enters the workplace it needs to go straight into a gun safe for the remainder of the coworker’s work day.

      At the very least the OP needs to tell his/her employer, because as soon as the OP crosses the workplace threshhold, his or her right to self-defense collides with the right of his/her colleagues to be safe AT WORK. I don’t care how responsible and reliable and regular at gun practice someone is. It only takes one oops, one woops, and you have another heartbreaking story bleeding to death on the office floor.

      Disclosure: Yes, I am strongly anti-weapon. However, I’m trying not to go beyond the scope of the current discussion.

  67. Geegee*

    If you choose to carry a gun, and it is legal for you to do so, and it is not illegal to not inform your employer – then you should do so. It’s the same to me as if someone choose to carry a knife if legal, mase, or whatever else. It is not illegal and they are under no obligation to inform the employer. I do feel somewhat uncomfortable with this but reality is this is not illegal. And informing the employer at this point will only cause a stir where there is no need.

  68. JuliB*

    I wouldn’t bring it up. If there’s carry in the state, it’s up to them to prohibit it. My right to self-defense doesn’t stop from 9-5. Be more concerned about the people carrying without permits.

  69. Kay*

    I really think, like many other situations, this is one that you have to navigate by taking what you know about your boss and your coworkers into account. Is your boss a hunter or sportsman? Do your coworkers own guns (that you know about), or do you think they would freak out if they knew? Do you think your manager would implement a company policy not allowing guns on the premises? If so, I can understand the inclination to not tell. And legally you’re not obligated to, and I would argue that even ethically you’re not obligated to. That is what conceal/carry is for, so no one will know.

    A few people have noted that employers should have to opt in instead of opting out and maybe the employer doesn’t know. My opinion is that when you start a business, you should do your research. Not just on getting a small business loan to get started, but also all kinds of other things like security and labor laws and payroll taxes and business law.

    However, I think you’re also worried about courtesy, not just ethics. Courtesy probably would require you to disclose because people want to know things. In my mind courtesy is a much higher standard than what’s ethical. I do not think what is ethical is always courteous.

    This is a tough situation to be in. Let us know what you decide to do and how it plays out.

  70. JW*

    I just don’t see the need when the concern is about walking to and from a car. If OP is that concerned about safety matters, why not resolve to arrive/leave at the same time as others or carry pepper spray? What exactly is the parking situation?

  71. Disguising my name for right now*

    may I also suggest that not carry the day you go ask? If they ask if you’ve been carrying it, obviously don’t lie- tell them yes. But if they don’t ask, you don’t need to offer it up. By not wearing it, you can show them where you would keep it and how easily hidden it is.

  72. Not for this topic*

    The first rule of self-defense with a handgun is to have a handgun. And concealed carry means just that, concealed.

    If your coworkers know you’re carrying, you’re doing it wrong (absent a need to protect yourself or a coworker.) My immediate supervisor knows I’m likely armed at any time, odds are he is as well. Upper management? Probably no idea and they’d likely freak; they are miles away, ensconced in their (literal) glass tower. We are remotely located and the last time 911 was called from here, response time was ~20 minutes. Failure to provide our own security is irresponsible.

    1. Joey*

      Failure of the company to provide a safe workplace is the company’s failure, not yours. But you’re not even giving them the option to do that by raising the issue. So please don’t make it sound like you have no option but to carry a gun at work to be safe.

      And for the record I’m pro gun.

      1. Anonalicious*

        Thank you. This is exactly what I was trying to say above. This is a safety issue that should be worked on by the employer. The OP may not be the only one who feels this way. Her employer should be able to mitigate this in a way that is satisfactory and that allows her to leave her gun in her car.

      2. Not for this topic*

        So, maybe we should ask to have a permanent peace officer assigned out here in the sticks? The closest paved road is 2.5 miles away. And let’s ignore the wildlife issue, bear and cougar scat in the parking lot isn’t unusual.

        Can’t move the plant closer to civilization, this is where the raw water is.

  73. Gail L*

    This is definitely a call for the employer. I know I’d be pissed as an employer if an employee noticed a giant gaping hole in our safety policies, and failed to mention it because they wanted to exploit the absence. Maybe it’s intentional, but I would guess the lack of a weapons policy is an oversight. If they allow weapons, they should have something written about it with guidelines.

    I said this in one thread on insurance, but I think it has its own point…

  74. Celeste*

    OP, I wonder if the talk doesn’t go in your favor, would it be possible to talk to the employer about how to make your entry and exit walk safer. Maybe it could just be as simple as scheduling so you aren’t in this situation of being alone?

    I think you need to keep the conversation focused on your safety and what your employer can do to help you, and not on your gun or your gun rights.

  75. Jill*

    And one other point to keep in mind…this question is stemming from OP’s *mother* being uncomfortable with it. It doesn’t appear that any of his co-workers are aware or expressing any discomfort.

    So why should OP rock the boat at all, just because of mom’s discomfort? She is neither the emploer nor a co-worker.

    1. Disguising my name for right now*

      My boyfriend’s friends all have guns and I know that. He wears one occasionally, but not very often. I know many people wear them in public and you never know who is, etc, but I would want to know if one of my co workers was wearing one. I also have to think about people who are anti firearms. They deserve to know.

    2. AVP*

      Well, I think one thing we’ve learned in this thread is that there are a lot of people uncomfortable with the idea. So just because it was initially brought up by Mom, there are enough managers and CEOs in this thread expressing that a) they would not be supportive of an employee carrying, even when its legal, and b) many companies don’t realize that they should have policies about this if it’s something they feel strongly about. I think a lot of us thought they were opt-in when really they are opt-out.

      I think Mom’s point is that OP could be endangering her career by not bringing it up, which may or may not be true. But she won’t know, if she doesn’t.

    3. Rayner*

      Just because you haven’t asked if someone is uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean they’re not. Silence is not consent to do something.

      Given that the issue at hand is a coworker carrying a device capable of killing someone, and that can go off accidentally etc, I think the coworkers deserve a little more consideration by the OP.

      1. fposte*

        But comfort and consent aren’t requisite either. That’s the tricky part of this in a place where this is a legal right on a par, at least in interpretation, with wearing a headscarf because of your religion.

        1. Rayner*

          I’m not talking the law here, though.

          I’m talking about ethically, and just because the company hasn’t come down on either side of the debate (yes, it’s fine, no it’s not) doesn’t mean that they don’t have that right to make that choice. They could very well side with the OP, or create a half way point, with a gun locker etc, but unless they have that choice with the information that’s necessary, they can’t make an informed decision (or, in fact, one at all, since they apparently don’t have a policy in place.)

          All I’m saying is that saying nothing is not the same as agreement/disagreement with her carrying, and because it may be outside their consideration, and the OP should definitely consider that in her follow up actions.

          1. fposte*

            But your ethics are built on a culture that’s built a different law. Another culture could also say that a headscarf or a medical history needed to be cleared with the co-workers because it makes them uncomfortable, too. These things are not immutably, universally one way or another when it comes to ethics.

          2. A Cita*

            I would argue that your sense of ethics (people have a right to know) runs counter to the law (conceal carry means people don’t have a right to know) and subsequently the ethics of someone who does conceal carry (they agree with that, thus they carry a concealed firearm).

            So this is very interesting opinion, the ethics on this are far from universal.

        1. Rayner*

          No, but they can be misfired while in a dangerous situation or the OP could make a mistake in identification of a threat, or even just fiddling with it. Even if the gun doesn’t go off, it cold create alarm and panic if it was revealed unexpectedly.

          While the chances are lower if the OP is trained (and they said they are), they’re not negligible, and it should be taken into account.

  76. Mochafrap512*

    Allison is spot on, but if your employer doesn’t want you carrying a gun, maybe you can come to an agreement because you are in danger coming and going late at night. Maybe it’s possible to compromise and have it in a small locked safe/or use a trigger lock, in a secure area or place and only wear it when going to and from the office. Basically come up with a way to carry it to and from, but not have to wear it around the office. I don’t know what you do or where you work, so I may be wrong, but most places are pretty secure once inside and around people. If they aren’t willing to compromise maybe it’s time to ask if they are able to take any measures to ensure your safety.

    1. Anonaconda*

      I think this is a great idea. I would not want to work with someone carrying a weapon around the office, but I would have less of a problem with this approach.

  77. Mena*

    My first thought is that you have reviewed all policies and do not see anything blocking you from doing what is your legal right to do, and what you’ve received authorization to do. If you speak up, you risk the company banning weapons and then you don’t have our gun with you when you potentially need it. If you don’t speak up, management may find out later and be annoyed to find out what you’ve been doing, even though this is not prohibited. You are in a very difficult position and will ‘lose’ in someway regardless of the route you take.

  78. Ask a Manager* Post author

    This might be the only Internet discussion of gun issues that I’ve ever seen that didn’t devolve into heated attacks and fruitless debate, but still had participants from both sides of the issue. So interesting to see what it can look like when that doesn’t happen on a topic like this.

    1. Bryan*

      I’m really happy you decided to post it even though commenting has strayed a little recently and this had the potential of blowing up. It’s nice to see most people at least attempt restraint and objectivity.

    2. Mochafrap512*

      I was worried about it too, and I’m glad it was peaceful. Heated arguments Generally just offend and don’t actually solve any problems. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and everyone is going to have a different one. That’s what makes us an interesting breed!

    3. hildi*

      Agreed and I think it’s a testament to the type of community you foster around here. I’ve always thought that. I think your recent post about racheting back the yucky behavior was helpful in making this discussion go more smoothly.

    4. Del*

      I’m really impressed with how reasonable everyone is being, and how good about minding your request that we don’t stray into the larger topic of gun ownership. Even if things have gotten more cantankerous lately, the regular commenters here are pretty awesome.

    5. JustKatie*

      I initially thought this was an April Fool’s post! It’s so outside what is normally discussed here.

  79. Lanya*

    Personally, I own a gun and I have a concealed carry permit in the state of Pennsylvania, where concealed carry is very common – but I do not bring my gun to work. If I wanted to, I would absolutely ask first out of courtesy to my boss.

    I think it’s important to remember that people are carrying guns all the time, everywhere you go, and in 30 years I have yet to witness a concealed carry firearm accidentally going off in someone’s pants, whether at work or at the grocery store or at Target. So, a lot of the speculation here is about what could happen in a worst-case scenario. But it is definitely important to consider all possibilities in these sorts of situations. And I think it’s a very healthy sign that the OP has asked this question, because it shows he is thinking it through.

  80. HM in Atlanta*

    OP – Are you going to stop carrying your weapon on you if your employer says no? Are you prepared for the reaction from your employer/coworkers if they ever found out? Really think about how you would handle it if they said no. If you’re not willing to stop carrying, no matter what, they why ask? You know what you’re going to do. If they may say no, and you can abide by it, have the conversation.

    If it accidentally comes out that you’re carrying a weapon (it happens – even to experienced gun users), expect that there may be repercussions. For example – there are a group of employees that won’t be in meetings with another employee because they are afraid of him. He’s very vocal how he should be allowed to carry a gun everywhere (there have been no incidents or violence). The exact statement from one of this group is, “I need a place to escape when this guy loses it.” Rightly or wrongly, there’s a perception that they will need to hide from this coworker. How effective do you think his work is when he has to collaborate with others?

  81. Sandrine (France)*

    I’ll be honest: I don’t like guns, loathe the idea of the amendment in question, yadda yadda yadda. However, this is not the point at all here, of course.

    To me, there are only two points to consider: is it legal, and does the company allow it. If the law says “ok” then it’s ok. If the employer says it’s not and has the right to depending on how they say it, that’s another thing.

    Since you do, in fact, appear like a reasonable person, OP (and no matter my reservations I am amazed by people like you – in a good way!) , I do hope that you find a middle ground, so that whatever goal it is you wish to accomplish gets done, whether it’s with guns or not.

    Best wishes, OP!

  82. Tinker*

    For your levity as comic relief for a potentially tense discussion:

    Last time I went packing heat in public, by which I mean having an object in my pants which could not be viewed without causing offense and possible alarm, I was at a public awareness march sort of event with a guy on a leash. It was a great time, we raised awareness and all that, I chatted with a lot of people I knew in the community, and some one came by selling those really nice Mexican popsicles. Really fun day.

    Then the aforementioned item not to be exhibited in polite company turned sideways, and the edge of it landed in a very unfortunate alignment with parts of my body. All attempts at adjustment within the bounds of civilized behavior proved vain.

    I ended up walking back to the car like a cowboy with my guy-on-a-leash trailing behind me laughing like the dog on Duck Hunt, and then driving home. Fifteen miles. In my car. Which is stick. And let me tell you, I was starting to regret that purchase by the time I got home.

    So what I’m saying, y’all, is this: If you’re going to go around with something concealed in your pants, make darn sure it is fastened securely before you go marching around with it, or you may be very sorry.

    1. fposte*

      “No, seriously–*is* there a gun in your pocket or *are* you glad to see me? I genuinely can’t tell.”

        1. KJR*

          Side note…my sister has a concealed carry license, so she carries hers in a specially designed sports bra for when she jogs in the park. Your story made me think of that.

  83. C average*

    For the record, I’m neither pro-gun nor anti-gun. I’m from a part of the country where gun ownership is common, and I’m relatively comfortable around firearms when I’m aware of them. I’ve hunted with a gun and enjoyed it. My parents own guns and I’m OK with it. I choose not to own them myself, though.

    You are choosing to carry because you perceive a possible risk based on your informed knowledge of your surroundings. You don’t know what might be lurking in your work parking lot, and you want to be prepared to deal with it.

    Your colleagues, if they knew you had a gun on your person at work, might perceive THAT as a risk, and they might choose to deal with it by asking you questions about it to reassure themselves that you’re conscientious, by seeing that it’s kept in a secure area while you’re at work, and maybe even by avoiding contact with you. They’re not currently doing these things because they have incomplete information.

    Are their fears and misgivings less reasonable than yours? I think, in this situation, the fair thing to do is to be transparent at least with your management. Just as you would want them to be sensitive to your desire to be safe, you should be sensitive to your colleagues’ likely desire to be safe in their workplace. Depending on your workplace’s culture, your colleagues’ potential discomfort with being in an environment containing firearms might outweigh your discomfort with crossing a parking lot alone after hours and traveling through less-than-safe neighborhoods. Your management is best equipped to make a fair assessment of everyone’s comfort level and, if necessary, adjust the policy.

    That said, I agree with everyone who’s suggested posing this question as a hypothetical “I’d like to carry a gun” rather than a “by the way, I’ve been carrying a gun.”

    1. Elizabeth*

      Good point. A lot of the conversation has been focused on OP’s right to feel safe coming and going from his/her workplace, and rightfully so. But I also think it’s legitimate that people may not feel safe working in proximity of a colleague carrying a deadly weapon, no matter how level-headed that person may be. Putting the gun in a secure safe during work hours would also be a good option, whether you choose to tell your employer or not.

      OP, it’s a tricky situation with both options having potentially unfavorable consequences. I’m anti-gun, but you sound smart and responsible about your choice to own one. I guess I would recommend talking to your boss about it in the hypothetical. If you frame it as, “I don’t feel safe, so I’m looking into purchasing a gun” they might realize they need to make available accommodations to get you and your co-workers to your cars safely, via guard, shuttle, etc., just to avoid people taking matters into their own hands. Perhaps you could see if any of your colleagues also feel unsafe, and approach management as a group to request additional safety measures?

      I know that won’t necessarily help you if you also feel unsafe getting from your car to your home (or vice versa). And it’s also running a risk that just broaching the subject will lead them to ban concealed weapons on the premises.

      It’s definitely not a situation with an easy answer. Good luck!

  84. Sanonymous*

    I think you should let your employer know. Now, whether or not your coworkers should know – I would prefer knowing. Because then I have the chance to make some noise and let you know *I’m* the one around. Long story short, I once learned of a colleagues weapon when they had it out, due to concerns of a break-in. No. It was just me there at a different hour than usual. Had I known, I would have hollered out when I heard someone come in. Thank gods it didn’t actually get pointed at me… (Afterwards, I made sure to holler anytime I was there first!) I was furious to learn in this fashion, far more than had I just known.

    So I suppose what I am saying is that concealed does not have to mean secret from those around you. I can’t say I liked that there was a weapon at my work. But I had to live with it, and then by knowing, I could be safer around my coworker. In the end, all was good.

  85. Anonaconda*

    Two things: I would not have the gun on you when you broach the topic of concealed carrying with your employer. That just seems like it has the potential to ignite a strong reaction and make them feel like you’ve been deliberately misleading them (which, well, maybe you have). I would also see if there is a better way to address the safety concerns you have about walking to your car. Your company should definitely be interested in that, if only from a liability standpoint. I’m sorry that you don’t feel safe in your city, that must be a burden.

  86. Eden*

    My walk from my parking lot is ~15 minutes. I think this is probably true of lots of us who work on large campuses and aren’t senior enough to park close by our buildings. That walk to the parking lot might not be as simple as people are imagining. If it’s a long and scary walk, I imagine the employer might be more open to this, than if it’s out the front doors and into your car.

    I don’t have a gun, nor would I feel comfortable carrying one, but I completely support licensed, trained gun owners bringing guns to work. That said, I agree with everyone who said that the gun should subsequently go into a safe for the working day. I certainly wouldn’t have any issue with someone who demonstrated good gun stewardship having a gun in a safe during the day, but I imagine I might be in the minority on that one.

    Year ago, I lived in Arlington, VA and worked in downtown D.C. In those days, I didn’t own a car, and commuted via metro. My walk from the station was about 10 minutes. My firm was supposed to provide transportation if we worked past 7 pm at night, but since in my group that was a constant, we were told we couldn’t put in for taxi reimbursement all the time. One night, I got off the train alone, no guard in the station (this was about 10 pm) and I was followed and then chased by a lone man in the station. Mercifully, he was apparently unarmed, because I outran him. I personally wouldn’t have been safer with a gun (I’m the kind who’d end up having it used against me), but I do understand people who feel safer with more protection than an old bottle of pepper spray.

  87. Another Emily*

    Canadian here. I’m not going to comment on gun culture/laws outside my own country because it’s not something I understand.

    I think the bigger issue is that you work and commute in an area so dangerous, you only feel safe carrying a concealed gun. I know you can’t just up and get another job, but I would seriously start looking.

    I think you should first bring up your safety concerns with your employer. There’s nothing your employer can do about the rest of your commute, but maybe the office can open and close at safer times, so that two or three people are always leaving together.

    Then you could feel out the gun culture at your office. I think ultimately you should tell your employer that you carry a concealed gun, but it would be probably sensible to get a sense of the issue first, since it’s a difficult issue for both you and your employer.

  88. Brett*

    I work in public safety. I don’t own or carry a firearm at work or personally. I am around firearms at work all the time. I see shotguns on racks in the parking lot. I have co-workers who open carry an array of firearms. I know lots of co-workers are concealed carrying too. We own a firing range and have an armorer. This has taught me:

    You have to stop being afraid of co-workers with guns.

    I am sure some people are thinking, “But you work in public safety, you can trust your co-workers.” No, I can’t. At least not in the way that makes them any less dangerous than a co-worker in any other line of work with a valid concealed carry permit. There are lots of issues with firearms in the workplace, but fear should not be one of them (and is a completely different issue than safety).

    1. Rayner*

      I do not have to stop being afraid of co-workers with guns, and neither does anyone else.

      They are a reasonable thing to be concerned about, especially in a job role which does not use or interact with guns as a matter of course as the OP is in . Although in this case, the OP sounds nice and very reasonable, what happens if my coworker is not? What happens if I do not trust my coworkers, or if I don’t know them?

      You have a lot of positive experience with weaponry which gives you one perspective – other people may not. Other people may have experienced very negative times with guns in their own or other people’s hands or may not feel safe at all around them. Legally and ethically, guns create issues and while the OP has one opinion of them, she has to be aware that her bosses and their legal obligations may give them another.

      Guns are a part of life for much of America, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be given careful consideration by people who both do and don’t carry. Safety is paramount to both sides of the debate, and the OP should consider giving the warning to her manager part of that safety and good judgement.

      1. Brett*

        I have definitely had more negative experiences with weaponry than most people because of my profession. Being afraid of firearms does not help at all.

        Now, being afraid of the person is a different issue. But that is not solved by a workplace firearms policy. Unless you work in a highly secure environment, that co-worker you do not trust or know can still bring in a firearm. Or any number of other dangerous weapons. Or simply do extreme harm to you with their car.

        Safety, liability, legal obligations, ethics, all present great arguments in both directions.

        But fear alone gets cited too much and should not be the basis of a decision like this.

        1. doreen*

          Fear shouldn’t be the basis of a decision- but I also work in a place with lots of firearms around. In fact, I am required to carry while I am working. I might be comfortable if non-officers were carrying with a permit (although its against the current policy) – but I absolutely would not be comfortable if they were doing so secretly and I only found out when there was a shooting. I don’t mean an unprovoked shooting by staff- the reason we carry firearms is because the people we deal with are violent and there have been a couple of shootings in our offices. The officers all get the same training – but a non-officer with a permit may have different training or none at all ( doesn’t seem to be required in my state) . If an admin for example, is carrying secretly, I have no opportunity to ask about what training he or she has. More importantly though, I won’t be expecting that admin to draw a firearm when something does happen.

  89. angie*

    Super interesting question…and responses. FWIW, I’ll add :

    …tell the employer? Yes, but I would schedule the time to have a discussion and in it I would:
    – lay out the training you’ve done and continue to do to hold a permit. Not everyone understands the level of training it takes to get a permit, but it’s germane, and important framing to get a considered and thoughtful reaction from your employer.
    – talk about what’s led you to pursue concealed handgun which opens a discussion of why/where you feel unsafe. That enables the employer to offer to do something about that and/or develop a policy, but it may lead to a partnership on solutions that could work for both of you, if the concealed handgun does not and an anti-policy ensues.

    F/U question to OP: if the employer’s reaction is, in fact, to develop and post an anti-conceal policy as laid out by AAM, have you considered what you’d do then? Therein might lie part of your answer on what the right thing to do is.

    1. MomGeek*

      angie – your points are well made.

      Adding to the conversation: if the employer wants to ban weapons from the office (within their rights to do), then the next question must be what actions is the employer prepared to do to provide adequate safety of employees who work late, or who travel thru this dangerous area to get to the office?

      By refusing to allow employees to reasonably defend themselves (reasonableness based on OP’s statements of necessity of CCW), the employer (in my opinion, I am not a lawyer) takes on the responsibility of the employee’s safety while going to and from the office since the employer chooses to remain in the dangerous location and has (hypothetically) forbidden employees from protecting themselves.

      1. Beti*

        Along the lines of angie’s and MomGeek’s comments, we don’t work with you and only you can say what the vibe of your office is and what your co-workers politics/views are like. If you are really considering telling your manager and others, it might be a good idea to talk around the subject first to suss out where people stand on guns. Mention news articles or studies and see how the conversation goes. Then you might at least be prepared for what kind of answer you’ll get.

  90. Wilton Businessman*

    You employer can tell you not to wear purple socks on an odd-numbered Tuesday. It’s up to you to decide if you want to continue working at that employer.

    Employers can control every aspect of your lives. Having a gun at work is both a safety device (if used properly) as well as a danger. Same for Marijuana, a perfectly legal drug (in some places). If someone goes out and smokes a jay at lunch time, do you want them interacting with customers in the afternoon? Do you want your untrained nephew that tokes up every couple hours operating your forklift? Of course not.

    Face it, your employer owns you and everything you do. If they don’t want guns or drugs on their premises, they won’t.

  91. Canadian*

    Uh .. this seems so insane to me. I am so glad I live in a relatively gun-free area. (Not perfect in any sense of the word – we still have gun crimes, obviously) but I would be terrified if I had to come to work with someone who was carrying a gun around 24/7.

    So I would DEFINITELY mention it to your employer.

  92. Elizabeth West*

    I’m with AAM on this one; it’s something that the employer, though they haven’t put any policies in place for it, would likely be concerned about. I think the OP’s mother may be reacting to that more than she is to the OP having a gun at all.

    While your company may not be able to discipline you, OP, for carrying (since they have no explicit policy against it), hiding it isn’t likely to do you any favors if it comes out. I agree with the other posters who pointed out that since you feel your security concerns are legit, you should discuss it from that standpoint.

  93. A Cita*

    Huh, I might be the only person on this thread who has zero opinion either way about guns. Most people I know have very strong opinions one way or the other, and I’ve heard lots of impassioned (and rational) arguments from both sides, but I still don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about it.

    I would not uncomfortable if a co-worker was carrying. But I have a very high risk tolerance and have a very low fear response (unless we’re talking about spiders–and I have been in scary situations–in markets that have been bombed, on a bus that was attacked in a riot, etc). I think I lean more on the side of in this conversation that it’s the OPs right and she shouldn’t have to disclose (especially since that’s the point of conceal carry)

    HOWEVER there is should and what is going to create the best outcome for the OP. So I appreciate those arguments very, very much. I think for me, it would come down to 2 key factors:
    1. Personal: Is the safety risk more important than the firing/bad professional outcome risk? (Which outcome do I consider worse.)
    2. Political: is my right to carry concealed more important to me than risking a potentially bad professional outcome (for some, this would be a hill to die on; for others, it would not be).

    1. A Cita*

      *that should be “not be uncomfortable if a coworker were carrying” in that it wouldn’t bother me.

  94. On The Fence*

    Once you ask permission for something that is already your legal right, chances are good that you will lose said legal right. I can’t imagine a responsible employer taking any other stance. They won’t want to be legally responsible by giving their blessing.

    I might try a different tact. Tell your manager you feel unsafe walking by yourself to and from your car. Listen to all ideas.

    If any of them will work to make you feel safe in leaving your gun in your car, start doing so.

    If your manager can offer no solutions that make you feel safe enough to walk to and from work without a gun, then ask yourself which is preferable: the chance that you’ll be somewhere where you need your gun and be without or the chance that you’ll be fired for carrying a gun without their knowledge.

    I’d err on the side of continuing to keep a secret until you can figure out your options. You shouldn’t need to talk about carrying just to get your company to improve employee security.

  95. Sydney*

    I do not think you have a duty to tell your employer. You are within the law and you are a responsible gun owner. As a colleague, I would feel safer knowing you carried.

    Disclaimers: I have not read all the comments yet. I live in Texas. I was raised around guns. I own guns. I do not have a concealed carry license. I believe strongly in background checks and good education.

  96. TheExchequer*

    I must admit I never thought of bringing a loaded weapon to work. It seems like, in theory, it would be a legal thing to do.

    What I don’t know is if it is going to be /seen/ as a reasonable thing to do – unless you live in a very conservative area or work in an area of law enforcement, it’s /very/ unlikely to go over well with your employer or coworkers, no matter how dangerous the area is. The first question in their minds is going to be: “Is that really necessary?” They will think of alternatives, like mace or tazers. (I am aware that both of those methods of defense can be faulty, but the general public is not as aware of that). The second question in their minds is going to be: “How well do I trust this person?” If your track record is anything less than unimpeachable or if you’ve ever shown the slightest bit of flightiness, they’re going to show a lot more nervousness about it, whether or not that’s fair. And then, the third question will be: “How badly will things go if, indeed, they do go badly?” Names of certain schools will likely zap through their minds. There’s a possibility that this will end in some very bad personal back lash for you. How strong a possibility, I don’t know.

    So – IF you have a calm boss who is aware of the danger of the location you are in and have an impeccable record of responsibility, I would consider telling them about the weapon. If either of those things are not true, I would reconsider the weapon. Just my 0.02 cents.

    1. S.A.*

      I actually carry a mace, uv marker, and tear mixture. It was dirt cheap and I check the expiration date just to be sure. Literally point and press which is much cheaper than a gun. I’m aware that they can be faulty as a member of the “general public” but I’m also too poor to own a gun, let alone train with it and maintain it.

      I also used to use the buddy system and now refuse to work for or with anyone who would put me in a situation like the OP is in. You may not always be able to work elsewhere but I see what you mean.

  97. AB Normal*

    Personally, I’d rather my coworker kept the information about a concealed weapon a secret, because making it known by others could just place everybody in the office at risk .

    I know someone who had to fire an employee, and was physically attacked as a result. I keep thinking that said employee, knowing that a coworker had a gun on her, might decide to try to forcefully take the gun to threaten the boss with. Regardless of how successful the attempt was, I just think the risk of someone getting hurt in the process is too high to justify a disclosure.

  98. b*

    Haven’t read through all the comments (forgive me, but goodness gracious so many!), but I have been on the other side of OP’s question (kind of). I found out that one of the partners at my firm has a firearm in a safe under his desk. We’re a financial firm, and we don’t have a lot of customers/clients coming in and out. We also aren’t located in a “bad” or dangerous part of town. We have, however, had a few unsavory characters come into the office and steal laptops late at night and early in the morning. These people have gotten increasingly brazen and have actually tried to come in when we are all in the office, attempting to steal laptops and printers. The building has hired a security guard and we lock the doors at all times, but we had an office-wide meeting to discuss what had been going on and the partner I mentioned earlier told us not to worry because he had a gun in his desk. Everyone was caught off guard (none of us had any idea), but to be honest it has made me feel much safer. He is someone that I trust immensely and sounds quite a bit like OP (well trained/practiced, safe, etc.). I understand that some coworkers might feel uncomfortable with the idea of OP carrying, but it actually made everyone in our office feel much safer.

  99. Karen*

    I believe the fact the you have a concealed weapons permit is public record. (It is in my state.) That being said I don’t feel you have any obligation to notify your employer.

    I personally would not want you to carry a gun anywhere that I worked, but I think you are only creating problems by bringing it up.

  100. Cassie*

    I work at a public university and I think (if I remember correctly) that guns are banned from campus. If carrying a concealed weapon was allowed, I don’t think I would have a problem with people in our campus community doing so. Hopefully they are responsible gun owners but who can guarantee who is and who is not? Also, our campus is open – there’s nothing prohibiting any random person from walking onto campus with a weapon and shooting people, regardless of whether concealed weapons are banned or not.

    If I were the OP, I would opt for not telling or asking the employer. I most likely wouldn’t need to know anyway, if I was the OP’s coworker.

  101. Rocky*

    Context: I live in a country where firearms are extremely rare. I think the OP’s situation has parallels with maintaining a high level security clearance (which I do as part of my job). If I encounter anything untoward (eg have an unexpected conversation, however innocuous, with a foreign national), or hear about anyone handling a document not to its appropriate security level, I am obliged to proactively tell my security officer. None of these things are illegal or reflect badly on me in and of themselves. But if I don’t mention them to my security officer, *that* could reflect badly. So, in the OP’s case, it’s not illegal to conceal carry, but it is most prudent to disclose that to the manager.

  102. Not So NewReader*

    Just a couple more thoughts if you can stand it, OP.

    1) What does the boss say in light of your coworker being attacked? Any concern going on there at all? Can you use that attack to open a general conversation about safety?

    2) It sounds to me like you are walking a fine line by asking the employer about carrying. You could get fired, that is a possible out come.
    Or you could decide to go along with the employer’s wishes (assuming the employer says NO guns) and put yourself at major risk.
    Or you could stay the course (of silence) and hope all remains well. Which also has its own set of risks.
    These choices really suck, OP. Because even if you win, you still lose something. My stomach would be in knots if I had to earn a living this way. I’d have the doctor bills to prove it, too. I hope at some point you can find another place to work.
    Frankly, I am not happy with my own thought here but my idea is to have a general discussion about the safety of the office and the safety of the parking areas. Never mention the gun.
    Why. You have to stay employed and you seem to be managing the situation so far. You can’t possibly be the only person who is concerned, so why not open it up for a general and on-going conversation? This allows you to continue on for the moment, perhaps things will change in some manner because of the discussions.

    My final thought. How much would it take to get people from businesses around you to organize and form a volunteer committee that is interested in beefing up the neighborhood and making it safer? Maybe if a group of business people approached the police there would be patrols added. Or maybe someone from the city could be persuaded to put up more street lights. [Fill in with ideas that are actually relevant to your setting.]
    Far-fetched. I know. But how bad does it have to get for people to put their collective foot down and say “something has to give here”?
    It takes a group of voices saying the same thing, in order to be heard.

  103. TotesMaGoats*

    I wanted to think about this overnight before responding. I’ll caveat all of this with the foundation of growing up in the south where open carry was the norm, being a gun owner myself and having a spouse with a CCW for another state. Our state it’s like jumping through flaming hoops to get a CCW.

    I would appreciate being told, as your manager, that you are carrying and I wouldn’t tell the rest of the team. I would feel safer knowing a qualified person had a weapon. I probably wouldn’t be too thrilled if I found out after an incident. But if my company doesn’t specifically outlaw it then you have no reason to tell me.

    I work at a university and guns aren’t allowed but as we all know criminals rarely obey laws.

    And if you are terrified of guns, go educate yourself. You don’t have to buy one but you should know how to use one. Education is power.

  104. Jeff A.*

    I know I’m late to the game with this comment, and much of the following has been echoed in the previous comments, but I wanted to chime in for the OP.

    You absolutely should NOT disclose to your employer. You have a legal right to carry in the manner in which you are. Your employer (NO employer, unless they already have pro-gun carrying on premise policies already in place) will authorize you to carry in the workplace.

    And the above mentioned suggestion that you could suggest a gun safe for securing the firearm during the day? No way they will allow it. Talk about creating a liability for the employer?! Imagine you leave for the day and have to discharge your firearm in the parking lot on the way to your vehicle and harm someone. That person now has MORE legal standing to bring suit against your employer than before, because they’ve indicated consent to your carrying to and from the building.

    The whole point of legally carrying a concealed firearm is so no one will know you are armed. Inform your employer and you lose this advantage, an advantage that you have legal right to.

    1. Brett*

      “That person now has MORE legal standing to bring suit against your employer than before, because they’ve indicated consent to your carrying to and from the building.”

      That is not necessarily true. Each state has different laws on employer immunity (some have none). I know there are states where the employer is specifically immune if they expressly allow their employers to carry to and from the parking lot.

      Of course, the OP could research how employer immunity works for their state before deciding what to do. Their employer might not even matter at all, since their employer does not own the building in which they work.

  105. Bonnie*

    While I think I agree that your employer should know. I think letting your employer know and letting your co-workers know are not necessarily the same thing. There a many people who are uncomfortable knowing there are guns around them even if they are not in danger of those guns being used against them but I don’t know that you have the same duty to tell them you have to tell your employer.

    Our office moved from a downtown, well lit, secured building with parking for all employees attached to the building to a “gentrifying” neighborhood with a high concentration of homeless, a bank next door that gets robbed a couple of times per month, fist fights in the area every day, and open parking lot parking. When we re-wrote our employee handbook the lawyer we were working with recommended a no guns on the property policy. One of the owners pointed out that he knew there were at least three guns in the parking lot at that moment but were probably more. He also stated that if an employee was legally carrying a gun because they were uncomfortable in our neighborhood he didn’t think he could be comfortable banning them from the building. The lawyer was horrified the possible number guns surrounding her.

  106. Juanita*

    This topic is of concern to me also. I personally have my carry permit as well as several other employees that I work with. I work for a construction company with 40+ employees. Most days, I am on the property entirely alone with an unlocked door for public traffic i.e., men coming to fill out applications, sales people, etc. Our owner keeps a loaded handgun in his desk and on one occasion, I admit I did get it out when a disgruntled employee was making threats. My handgun is in my purse under my desk. I am not wearing it, but it is within arms reach if God forbid I were to need it. This being said, if I worked in an office with numerous employees, I’m not so sure I would want others “carrying”. The most ever in my office is 6 people. Needless to say, I see both sides of the argument on this topic.

  107. S.A.*

    Ok, I also live in Texas (unfortunately) and only get to deal with the people who carry concealed hand guns who are more than trigger happy. It’s a horrible attitude to have and this person doesn’t have it. I completely understand why they carry it and why they are so nervous about bringing it up. It’s serious issue and while I’m all for responsible gun ownership I’ve lost friends and family members to gun violence.

    This is an idea that I have and maybe will help with a solution you’re both happy with.

    If safety is an issue I’d bring it up first with the manager and ask about the concealed carry as well. See if they offer anything to put you at ease and go from there. There should be a way to negotiate seeing as how you’re obviously alone and it’s reasonable to want a form of protection. I personally can’t stand the idea of working with someone who has a handgun close to me because the kind of people I’ve worked with did at one point threaten to harm me with a gun.
    Your actions may alienate coworkers but keep being a responsible ambassador and I do hope it works out. I have nothing against responsible gun owners, but the angry people with guns are frightening. There is no stereotypical look for a villain in real life.

    Maybe if more people at your place of employment were to speak up your employer would do something that works for everyone as well. If several people were to brainstorm the company as a whole could set up a buddy system where everyone is much safer. Crime is all about the right person being in the wrong place (preferably alone) and the right time for a criminal. Best of luck to you and let us know how it turns out.

  108. RAS*

    I would never, ever tell my employer something like this, and the very uncomfortable response from AAM explains exactly why. If a decent fraction of the people here become extremely uncomfortable addressing the existence of firearms in a workplace through a computer screen, how exactly can employee who is commonly armed attempt to broach this subject in person? Maybe have the chat just downstream of the metal detectors at the airport?

    I’d expect that the OP asking his or her manager about this would probably get him or her fired on the spot and possibly arrested. It does not take much imagination to see how such a conversation, even initiated deferentially by a highly responsible armed employee, would be construed by a significant fraction of managers as an imminent threat of deadly force.

    If I carried, I’d just keep silently carrying.

  109. Human Resources*

    Answering the original question – should the poster tell? If the local law allows people to carry concealed weapons unless otherwise posted, and the business does not choose to post the required signs, then the employee should not go to the employer. The employee is following the law. The premise of concealed carry is keeping the weapon concealed so others are not aware of it.

    I read many of the posts and almost everyone wants to post their feelings about a coworker having a gun. One poster did mention that the employer should know because of the risk for other employees in the event of a hostile situation. I understand that. With that risk also would come gratefulness if a hostile situation presented itself and the employee with a concealed weapon was able to stop a gunman before employee deaths occurred.

    My advice is – No, the employee should not tell his/her employer.

  110. trolllolo*

    Criminal’s don’t follow gun laws. A sign saying “No Guns” will not stop someone from shooting up the office.

  111. Certified Pistol Instructor*

    Should you tell your employer?

    No! Because the moment you do you’ll point out a potential discrepancy in company policy that will be promptly addressed.

    Neither is it fair to your fellow workers for you to do anything that might preclude them from being able to carry, too.

    Do you have a moral obligation to tell your employer that you’re going about armed might be the most appropriate question of all. The right answer? NOT UNLESS YOU’RE ASKED! Your first moral obligation is to yourself and to your own personal safety.

    Concealed means concealed! You are, however, earning your living in an urban and highly populated environment. You would do well, however, to forget about how many safeties your gun has, and simply be smart enough to carry that potentially lethal weapon around with you in C-3.

    (If you ain’t got a round in the chamber then I’m never going to read about you, ‘letting one go’ while you’re doing something incredibly mundane like taking a bathroom break!)

    You said you practiced, regularly. That’s good! Then C-3 carry shouldn’t be any sort of hindrance to you, at all.

    Now, the last place you ever want to leave a gun is in your car; and, no, I haven’t forgot about your car safe. A gun should never be left in a car – Period.

    Finally, TAKE THE GUN-ORIENTATED BUMPER STICKER OFF YOUR VEHICLE. (What, the hell, are you thinking?)

    * Written for you by an NRA Life Member and Certified Firearms Instructor who has carried a sidearm almost everyday for the past 40 years, and can truly say that he’s seen and done it all.

    1. Taren*

      I loved your post. Everything you said is absolutely true, and my father ( an NRA-lifer) has taught us the same lessons since we were old enough to walk. Great advice!

  112. partnerNcrime*

    I am a business owner with 5 employees. I tell them the first day that I encourage them to get their CCW and carry daily. 1 man and 4 women ranging from 21-49 in age carry every. single. day.

    no issues. no gasps from clients who walk in the door.

    life is peaceful.

  113. Susan*

    Concealed means concealed from everyone. If you are legal then keep your mouth shut because it’s no one’s business.

    1. Taren*

      Absolutely, you’re correct. She’s following the rules, and that’s the only thing that is in question here.

  114. Jim*

    There will always be pro’s and con’s on guns to carry or not and weather guns should be removed from society for the protection of society! But as an individual you have a God giving right and a constutational right to protect your self and your loved ones ,we are governed by laws to protect us so we don’t need to carry guns But there’s the problem! There are a lot of people who don’t follow the law and law enforcement be ever were to protect you so you want play Russian rulette with your life. In my city police response time is 10 to 30 minutes, I wish to protect my self ! And if you so be it that’s on you.

  115. Taren*

    I don’t believe she should be required to inform her employer that she has a concealed weapon. It is exactly that, concealed, and by law, she doesn’t have to inform anyone. Telling her employer that she carries a concealed weapon is no different than asking someone who is HIV positive to inform their employer of that fact. It sounds like she is doing everything possible to be responsible, educated, and to follow the letter of the law. Again, if her employer doesn’t ban firearms in her building, then it’s no one else’s business but hers.

  116. Amanda*

    The reader should exercise discretion here. Right now, conceal carry is permitted in her office. If she brings it up and makes an issue of it, her employer may decide to opt out of allowing firearms on the premises. Why go there? If I were her employer I would not want to be informed of someone’s concealed carry, because that could put me in the awkward position of having to create a policy or setting a precedent.

  117. Bob*

    After reading all the comments on this post, it seems very apparent that many folks are truly worried about a legally licensed person carrying a concealed weapon in a place where it is perfectly legal to do so. My main thought, is why are so many people concerned about this? Can ANY of you folks give me even one example in which a legally licensed concealed carry person has ever killed an innocent person in any places they were carrying their gun legally? I truthfully am not aware of even one single instance of this happening, yet I am aware of MANY instances in which folks armed with an illegal weapon has killed MANY innocent people… so the logic of fearing a legally licensed concealed carry person having a gun, more than being fearful of an illegally armed maniac coming into your work place, and finding your self completely defenseless (and dead), completely blows my mind and seems highly illogical to me!

    With that being said, I would NOT talk to my employer about whether or not I was carrying. If they have not prohibited it, then I feel I’m both legally and morally in my right to carry in a concealed manner. The entire purpose of the conceal laws is to allow a citizen the right to defend their self or others in the event that they ever encounter a life threatening situation… and the law is specifically designed to be secret/concealed/not known, as the known presence of a weapon can make a situation unsafe all by it’s self, that’s why most states don’t allow open carry. You won’t ever see or know if someone is legally carrying a gun, simply because it will never be seen unless that worse case situation happens… and my money is on the fact that if it’s YOUR life that was saved when that concealed gun was seen, you’ll very likely change your mind about who to fear with a gun, and who not to fear!

    Also, I read comments that if you don’t let the owner know you’re carrying, you are increasing their liability… in my opinion, that is bull… a companies liability is going to be what ever it is based on existing state law, period, and whether a single person does or does not choose to legally carry their concealed weapon, will have zero bearing on that issue! Now if a insurance company would offer lower insurance rates based on if a company bans weapons, they can certainly do that, but if they choose not to, that is their choice too, and in either situation, as long as the concealed carry person is observing the LAW, then it will not effect a companies liability one bit. In Texas, the law goes even further and specifically prohibits a company from being sued because of the fact they allow concealed carry on their property.

  118. Mel*

    I realize that this is an old thread, but after stumbling across, I felt like I should add something interesting about the laws. In Alabama, they passed a law preventing Employers from completely banning firearms. Employees are allowed to bring their guns to work, regardless of company policies, as long as it remains in their vehicle. The law itself is extremely specific, but I think the ultimate point is that any company that does not want to have employees bringing concealed firearms into/onto Company property should have a policy stating as much. With so many workplace violence events cropping up, I believe it’s prudent for the HR department to be on top of such matters. At my workplace, I have brought up the suggestion, but as the CEO has his own guns, I have my doubts that it will ever happen. Still, even if they are allowed, it should be clearly written so there is no question in employees minds as to whether or not they are violating company policy. Personally, I opt to bring pepper spray with me, but I also grew up in a large city with high crime rates, so it’s habit. I do not personally have any issues with responsible citizens utilizing their 2nd amendment, but the HR brain in me screams out that there could be a huge liability to having firearms in the workplace without being able to verify that the employee is responsible enough not to shoot someone. Imagine if the company was doing some type of emergency drill and the employee panicked?! I believe the gun should be left in the vehicle and the employee should use a non-deadly option for traveling from the car to the workplace.

  119. T-Bone*

    Do we need to discuss exercising all constitutionally protected activities not explicitly mentioned in their written HR policies or in state/federal law? If it’s legal and not mentioned in the policies and you’re comfortable with any potential repercussions should they find out then carry on. Do you feel compelled to discuss your religious preference with your employer to ensure that your choice is acceptable to them? How about your sexual orientation?

  120. theplaintruth*

    I dont understand why people are saying that they “deserve” to know if their coworkers bring in a gun. You dont deserve anything. The truth is no body should say anything about anything. Period.

    Here is why

    Scenario 1
    You have told your office that you carry and they are ok with it. Someone storms into your office and everyone around you starts looking at you wanting you to do something. Guess what, the criminal who broke in see this too. You are shot.

    Scenario 2
    You tell all of your coworkers that you carry. You are now judged as a criminal and people avoid you. You are then less safe than you were before.

    My point is, no one needs to know if you have skid marks on your underwear the same way that’s its non of their business what you legally carry. That is, as long as it is on your person and you are always in complete control of it. (Leaving a gun in your purse is the dumbest thing you could ever do)

    1. Ed*

      As an IT security person, I disagree wholeheartedly: it is the companies business to know what is on their property. A prudent company should ban any and all USB hard drives and flash drives from company property, except for those strictly controlled by IT, because it is so easy to use those kinds of devices to spread malware.

      Furthermore, a company should not allow you to hook up your smartphone to the company WiFi because it introduces another unknown variable into the network. Sure, it’s legal to own USB sticks and smartphones, but just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that I want it in my office.

      Your response in scenario 1 for instances shows me perfectly well that you have no background in crisis situations: human beings without training for these situations tend to panic and cower rather than stare at the person they think is “trained”. As a result, I would not want you carrying a firearm in my office: you would make any situation with an armed intruder worse.

      Because there are legal, financial, and employee safety/security ramifications for carrying of firearms in the workplace, I would say that employees have a moral obligation to talk to management about their desire to carry firearms, and that an employee should NOT carry a firearm without explicit permission, and if I discovered that an employee were carrying without talking to management, that employee would be let go. Employment-at-will and all that.

      As for my personal feelings on firearms in the workplace: all or none polices are probably bad. If you lack the budget for armed security, create a crisis team. In fact, you probably already have one, you just call them something else, like “floor captains” or the like.

      But as for anything else: employers have the right to know what employees are bringing to work.

      1. Greg*

        i would disagree that it would be the employees who are obligated to talk with management before bringing their firearm. a company that does not permit usb drives, pocket knives or personal usage of wi-fi is up-front about their desire to not have those items. that company should also be up front about their armed security or presence of a crisis response team as well. it would be more appropriate for a company to bring up their stance during the hiring process rather than leaving the security details open for questions so that each person has to bring up and ask for the details of. “hey, what would you do if someone brought a gun in here?” <- that sounds pretty bad, especially in the interview process. if nothing is said and a month goes by, you find out the guy has been carrying for years and you just send him down the road? granted, the guy might not fit in with your work culture, but if you truly feel that they are a liability or a loose cannon, then you're pretty deep down a rabbit hole at this point. there have been a few jobs where someone gets fired, then that worker comes hauling into the parking lot headed straight for the manager right around closing time a few hours later… if she doesn't burn, she must be a witch
        i would think that if you found out after some time that joe-bob had been safely and quietly packing heat, you would want to make sure that he has the proper safety equipment and is aware of the company's desire for his role should he feel the need to draw his weapon. he's probably only carrying so that he's not caught with his pants down and so that no one steals the thing while he's at work. if you already have employee security taken care of and hold the company liable for each worker's safety in one of those situations, then that info should be made clear ahead of time

  121. Isaac Asimov*

    If you carry a concealed weapon and end up in a situation where you justifiably must use it, there are more dire consequences at hand than if your coworkers feel betrayed because they unknowingly worked in the same building with a loaded handgun, whether or not you’re at risk of being fire or prosecuted by your employer, or even the consequences of serving jail time.

  122. Patina*

    Concealed carry should be concealed, that’s why it’s not open carry. If people find out they may be distressed, but that doesn’t mean you should pre-distress them by telling them up front. By telling your employers, you’d just be shifting the burden of this concern to them, and unless they turn out to be very gun-friendly, asking if they’re concerned is bound to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    If you’re interested in normalizing weapons to people to whom they’re exotic, being open and matter-of-fact about what you do could help, but work isn’t the place to gamble with the potential negative reactions.

    1. Patina*

      By the way, I wouldn’t lock the weapon in a car with a range sticker in a bad part of town. That seems like an good way to get it stolen, especially if it’s outside some place where you can’t carry, like a bar or any business with a bunch of shiny new signs prohibiting firearms. Scrape off the sticker or leave it at home.

  123. K*

    My dad works with state police in their barracks. He isn’t a police man, he’s a paralegal. He carries concealed every day to and from work. The only time he does not carry is when his clothing doesn’t permit it or he is going into a state that doesn’t recognize his permit. It makes him feel safe. He is a very good shot and is very level headed in emergencies. I think that it’s your own business if you carry a gun to work in order to feel safe. You went through the classes and the background checks to get your permit and that is enough verification that you are qualified to carry that gun.
    I think if other people are alarmed that guns are even in their vicinity, then they should be the ones not carrying guns to work.

  124. D*

    Good conceal and carry gun owners only take out their gun if there’s a mass murder taking place and they are trying to stop it. Over 300 in the US this year so far, that’s considering mass murders as 4 or more people killed at once

  125. Greg*

    i do not understand why a manager would be upset to find out that one of their workers was responsibly carrying a gun. what added benefit is there to knowing whether someone has a gun or not? knowledge of the presence of a firearm has no command over how that firearm is going to be used. someone who is going to shoot up the workplace is not going to consider whether or not that’s ok with anyone, and if a responsible gun owner is using the gun to defend their life, they don’t care what their manager thinks about it either. what possible danger does a secured firearm an an employee’s pocket pose to the workplace? is it common practice to reach into workers’ pockets and start pulling on triggers? are workers beat with sledgehammers or set on fire?
    i could understand if a criminal or a bully preferred that their victims weren’t armed, but i see no legitimate reason for someone to be upset or change their attitude upon learning that the person they are talking to is also carrying a smoke wagon. “oh, if i piss you off, you might shoot me.” <- that's just a fact of life. luckily, this employee is registered, law abiding and respectful of human life. sounds like someone you want nearby in case of an emergency, not someone you want to isolate or keep on the other side of the building. that's like getting mad at someone for knowing the location of a fire extinguisher or how to use a first aid kit. how about someone who is CPR certified? do we get pissed as hell at them for not mentioning that they learned how to apply a tourniquet or perform an emergency tracheotomy without asking if it was ok? "how dare you carry a needle and thread in your wallet!?"
    "what?! you've been carrying a gun?!" heck yeah, i've got a good gun and thankfully hadn't had to use it. any one of those days could have been a day that someone with bad intentions carried a gun to work and used it. what would happen then? a good gun does no good if it's not present in a firefight. that stuff happens quick and all the workplace policies and pissed as hell and scared-of-firearms managers in the world won't be what stops it. the manager does not "have a say" in whether or not a deranged person does these things.
    training is more than target practice, it is using a firearm in stressful situations and making correct decisions when using it. the fact that this person trains once a week sets them above many firearms owners already. this is responsible gun ownership. a good manager would find workers like these and see about getting them some good, applicable training. a better one would put signs up offering free training for all interested employees. maybe that manager knows a former secret service member who could train the workers at a good price. maybe that trainer would do an extra-fine job training those workers in situation-specific procedures if he had a personal interest in the safety of that company.

  126. Eric foreman*

    Yeah. I doubt that a disgruntled amployee is going to pay attention to “no weapons” signs if he were to go postal and start mowing down people in the office. It’s not up to the manager to stop someone from being able to protect themselves because they don’t like guns.

  127. Justin*

    In my office not only do they know that people might carry firearms, carrying firearms on the premise during working hours is permissible. the owner wanted to carry his concealed, and figured the rules apply to all, so.
    We did have a incident at our facility. A coworker who was taking medication for mental issues, received a new position, it was stressing him out badly, He had his medication changed, he became unstable, he then starting doing Meth. That obviously made things worse ( we didnt find out about the meth, until after he was let go). He came to work one day with a shotgun in his car. You dont need a permit for a shotgun, local law states he can have it in his car, workplace rules state firearms permitted onsite. Some employees were scared at the situation, but all who do not carry were relieved that there are several concealed carry holders in the small building. Obviously the man was let go do to poor job performance due to drug abuse.

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