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

Remember the letter-writer way back in 2014 who wondered if she needed to tell her employer that she was bringing a legal concealed weapon to work? Here’s the update.

I will fully confess that the answer I wanted from you was “Go ahead and carry, it’s none of your boss’s business” or something along those lines. I do appreciate your answer though, and the responses of everyone in the comments (both pro and con), because it made me realize how much I can put myself in an echo chamber sometimes. Once I got over the fact that someone whose work advice I love and respect was telling me that I was wrong, I did some thinking about the answer I *wanted* versus the answer I *needed.*

Long story short (too late?), I still carry at work … but rarely. I don’t carry in the office on a daily basis anymore. I do still carry if I go in on the weekend, when I am likely to be the only person in the office, and I still haven’t told anyone/asked permission. I know you’ll probably still be disappointed by that, given your stance of “your employer should get to make the call on whether there are guns in their workplace.” Sorry. The security in my building remains lackluster, the parking area/walk to the building is no safer than it was a couple years ago (there were a couple of muggings in the meantime), and I am not entirely comfortable with no one else around.

However, since I’m getting better at my job and they’ve hired some new folks, my late nights and long weekends are much reduced, and I kind of feel like I can justify occasional (every other month or so) carrying as 1) there is literally no one else around and 2) it’s still concealed, so it shouldn’t ever be found out unless something truly horrible is happening anyway. I know that “getting away” with something is not the same as something “being right,” but it is still technically legal. That sounds very wishy-washy when I type it out, but this is the compromise I’ve worked with myself and it’s okay on my conscience, at least for now. I also know that I’m being a little hypocritical because the Duck Club (as an example) would not be okay if it was just once a weekend every now and then, so why should this be (both being legal things not explicitly forbidden in a policy)? I know that some people (including me) will think it’s the coward’s way out to rely on not being noticed versus asking permission, and I really just ought to have that conversation…

So what do I do to feel safe the rest of the time (since the lack of the gun did not change the environment)? I started taking martial arts/self defense classes (krav maga) and I just got my green belt a couple months ago! Honestly, this was probably a better solution to many of my safety-at-work issues since the effective range of a gun is much farther out than most people realize, and this gives me a better feeling of comfort in crowds, between parked cars, when drinking (does not happen at work!) and so on and so forth. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not Jackie Chan but I am much more confident about my ability to hold my own/protect myself. Added bonus: I am in so much better shape and have gotten much stronger. Also, I can now kick as high as my head, which is awesome albeit largely impractical. I still like to say it, though. Martial arts/hand-to-hand self defense really fills that shortfall of protection that I felt I had being unarmed and alone (and gives me another tool in my toolbox when I am armed).

Note: 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 letter-writer’s situation. Thank you.

{ 473 comments… read them below }

        1. Jeanne*

          in some ways Alison ends up being a therapist. But I respect honestly thought out positions even if I disagree. The thought process here took time and effort.

  1. AMG*

    Thanks for update! Glad to hear that you are still in the ‘technically allowed’ zone, that you are safe, and that you are building your ability to protect yourself in other ways as well.

  2. Temperance*

    I’m not sure if this is feasible for you, LW, but at my last job, we had a client who was terrorizing us. So, long story short, our Area Director started visiting my office more often and bringing his gun. He had some kind of briefcase wtih a fingerprint lock that was made for gun storage and transport. (Sorry, I’m not a gun person so I couldn’t tell you brand or whatever). So only he could unlock the bag if needed. Thankfully, the deranged client didn’t come back after he was evicted.

    That may be a solution if you still want to bring your weapon to work.

    1. burnout*

      That’s great as long as the AD isn’t the first one attacked and gravely injured or killed before he can get the briefcase open. :/

      1. Turtle Candle*

        Chances are good, though, that the first person attacked would be unable to defend themselves anyway–there have been many, many situations where armed people with training (including cops, SWAT team members, FBI, military, etc.) have been killed simply because they were the first target had zero warning. Active shooters often do not give much or any warning, and it takes some time to get a gun drawn and the safety out in any situation, so the “what if you’re the first target?” question is still an issue unless we’re all going to walk around all day with guns drawn and safeties off.

        1. TL -*

          Not to get too dark, but it’s also not going to do any good against a larger scale attack, either. It’s something that might be helpful in certain highly-unlikely but terrifying situations and completely useless in others.

        2. Chinook*

          You are correct. We had a Mountie killed when he and his partner were walking in a casino to investigate something non-violent who was shot and killed before they could even react because bad dude saw them and panicked. If an experienced, on-duty officer with an easily accessible firearm can be surprised, then anyone can be.

        3. Database Developer Dude*

          This is why, Turtle Candle, that if I’m carrying, I’m carrying concealed. If I’m open-carrying, I’m going to be the bad guy’s first target.

        4. Database Developer Dude*

          Turtle Candle, you make an excellent point. This is why, *if* I’m carrying, I carry concealed. My work often takes me onto federal property, so if I’m working, I’m not carrying at all….but the point remains.

      2. TL -*

        A gun in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use it (which is a lot of people) isn’t going to do anyone any good in that kind of situation, though, and has the potential for a lot of harm.

        1. Charlie*

          This is a thing my wife bears down on very hard. She’s ex-Israeli Defense Forces, and has seen combat. And she has said a number of times that if you’ve never had to use a gun against another human who wishes you harm, you cannot imagine how that scenario goes, and how you will respond and perform.

          1. Natalie*

            Yeah, it more than “knowing how” to use it, it’s having practiced so much that your muscle memory can take over if/when your conscious mind vacates the premises isn’t available. And it’s true for plenty of things besides guns – I “know how” to drive a stick shift, but I’ve never practiced enough to be any good at it, particularly in a difficult driving situation where I need to use my Thinky Brain to make other decisions.

            1. Amadeo*

              Heh, and here I traded my Mustang back in August and still stomp the floorboard of my new truck with my left foot sometimes.

              1. Jadelyn*

                I’ve accidentally flung myself forward in a car by hitting the brake with my left foot when I’m borrowing someone else’s car – that’s what you get after 10 years of driving stick, lol.

          2. A Cita*

            Right, and along those lines, are you prepared to use lethal force against another human who wishes you harm?

            1. TL -*

              Historically, the answer to that question is almost always yes. We are very lucky to live in a society where violence is minimized but most people want to live and aren’t super good at making accurate assessments of danger in stressed situations.

              1. A Cita*

                Yeah, I might be projecting here a bit. My experience so far tells me that I’m not prepared to use lethal force, and I’ve been in some very hairy situations.

            2. Database Developer Dude*

              It’s not just about “are you prepared to use lethal force against another human who wishes you harm?”….it’s also about “do you have the presence of mind to be able to judge when innocent bystanders might be hurt and *NOT* fire the weapon, but seek cover instead.”. A gun is a tool, and should not be used as merely a blunt instrument.

          3. Anion*

            True. One of the websites I visit regularly is a gun site, very pro-2A, but very critical of those who carry without training and act like fools (and very supportive of prosecution for those who go beyond or outside the law, as in, a recent case of someone shooting at harmless trespassers who’d already left her property). They regularly do stories about situations where people have had to defend themselves, and in the few where something has gone wrong they analyze it and explain the problem.

            They also post videos of people doing training and discuss what they did right or wrong–and emphasize over and over again what your wife says, and that if you’re panicked, not able to think clearly, and not sure what to do or how to do it, leave the weapon holstered.

            P.S. Your wife is awesome.

      3. Temperance*

        He wouldn’t have been – it would have been whoever had the misfortune to be at the reception desk that day, judging by the setup of our office. Happily, no one was ever hurt and the creep went away.

        We had to follow legal eviction procedure when dealing with him, because he threatened to sue. This guy was absolutely nuts.

      4. Honeybee*

        It’s still great after that. Only people who are trained should be using guns (and even then, it’s risky).

    2. Purest Green*

      Yeah, I was thinking about a solution where the gun remains in a secure container while OP is on the premises but she can pick it up on her way out. Of course, that would require a conversation with the boss, which brings me to: I think any decent employer would want to know that an employee is so concerned with her safety at work that she feels the need to conceal carry and train in krav maga.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Yeah, that’s the thing that did and still does stand out to me – the part where the employer really needs to be concerned with their employees’ safety.

        1. TootsNYC*

          And that you need to share your unease w/ them as well, because maybe it simply hasn’t occurred to them.

          Or they’re pooh-poohing some other concerned employee, and your feedback will make them take it more seriously.

  3. ZSD*

    I like this update. Even as someone who’s squarely on the gun control side, I think that concealed carry at times when you’re the only one in the office is fairly reasonable. And I’m glad you’re learning martial arts, which both help you protect yourself and are less likely than guns to lead to you inadvertently injuring a colleague.

    1. SJ*

      Agreed on all points. The initial post made me go “yikes,” but when OP is the only one in the office, it seems more reasonable.

      1. blackcat*

        Yeah, I think the circumstances make sense here, and I’m someone who is super uncomfortable around guns.

        My brother was in a similar situation–a coworker got mugged and stabbed between the office and car one night–so he got a taser and training in how to use it. He figured 1) he was more comfortable with a taser and 2) if someone disarmed him and used the taser on him, it was less likely to be fatal than a gun.

        1. Steve*

          When I was a young man, I went to a class at the police station that was required to get a pistol permit. 90% of the class was telling us that we should carry pepper spray instead.

    2. BRR*

      I like this update as well. I’m not sure if martial arts was a suggestion in the original letter but that seems like a great solution to me. I’m a huge fan of this LW.

    3. Emma*

      Yeah, this strikes me as a pretty reasonable compromise, though I do get why some people still wouldn’t find it acceptable. I really like how the OP took not getting the answer they wanted and the resultant debate as a prompt to do some deep thinking about the issue – even if they hadn’t changed their mind at all, putting more thought into it and understanding where others are coming from is a win in my book, not least because it helps you explain your reasoning better.

    4. sam*

      Me too – I’m also someone who is definitely on the “less guns” side of the whole debate, but I think the way the OP has resolved the situation for herself has been very…reasonable. So kudos, OP.

  4. Christy*

    I think particularly since you feel more comfortable thanks to the krav maga, you should come clean to your management. You know you sound wishy-washy, you acknowledge the limitations of carrying a gun for self-protection, you have other ways to protect yourself. I imagine it would be something of a comfort to no longer hide this from your manager.

    1. sunny-dee*

      One thing the OP should do is check the laws in their state. (Which she should be familiar with as part of the concealed carry class.) Actually telling someone “I am carrying a weapon” can be considered *brandishing* the weapon, and is illegal.

      I mean, if she feels like she needs to ask, then it should be framed as a hypothetical, as opposed to actually saying “I have a gun right now.”

      1. Turtle Candle*

        If the LW does decide at some point to discuss this with their boss, I’d actually strongly recommend they do it on a day when they are not carrying. “I’m not armed right now, but sometimes I bring a concealed weapon to work, in situations X, Y, and Z” (or the more vague “I would like to bring a weapon to work in situations X, Y, and Z in the future,” if you don’t want to get into the “I’ve already been doing it without saying anything” part) is much less alarming to many people than “I have a gun right now,” however phrased–and even with a hypothetical, if you aren’t carrying you don’t have to lie in the face of a follow-up of ‘do you have a gun right now?’, which seems a not-unlikely thing to be asked. (I don’t want to get into whether it should be alarming–that is a whole other thousand-word discussion thread that Alison doesn’t want us to get into–but the truth is that it is for many people, and that might include LW’s bosses.)

      2. Lucyfer*

        The way to pharse is to ask under what circumstances they would be ok with concealed carry. It is not to say “I am carrying.”

    2. Roscoe*

      I don’t know. I mean, she is still in the office alone at times. Her management banning this won’t increase her safety. I think has found a very good compromise where she essentially doesn’t have it if others are around.

      1. Czhorat*

        It isn’t a compromise if nobody else agreed to it, or even knows about it.

        It’s deliberately hiding something which the LW knows would cause a potential issue with their employer. If they found out about it AND found out that LW been keeping it a secret they’d be not wholly unjustified in terminating LW’s employment.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m not sure that they would. I don’t know the law in this area so I’m just speculating, but generally when a behavior is specifically protected by law (as it is in this case — in most states, you can carry as long as the employer hasn’t posted signs to the contrary), employers can’t fire you for engaging in that specifically protected behavior. I don’t know if that applies here or not, but that’s the typical pattern with stuff where laws have gone out of their way to say “this is allowed unless X.”

          1. Jeanne*

            Gun laws vary quite a bit. My workplace was very explicit that we couldn’t have guns. But security did have guns. A lot of workplaces probably don’t think about it.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              The issue, though, is that 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. (More on this in the original post.)

              1. KarenD*

                And some states, mine among them, have a law that explicitly allows workers in most industries to bring weapons to work under certain conditions. The guns do have to stay locked in the employees’ vehicles.

                Under previous ownership, my company did fire an employee for carrying concealed (but not concealed enough) during fieldwork. She was apparently in the habit of carrying a smallish handgun in her purse and more than one of her contacts knew she had it. She was warned a few times then they lowered the boom.

              2. JessaB*

                The problem is that even if it’s legal to carry in your office in many cases it’s NOT illegal to fire because of it. Ohio just went through a thing where they finally decided NOT to make carrying a gun a protected class of persons regarding firing. You can fire people for doing something legal as long as it’s not impacting against a protected class thing.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          LW sounds like she is meticulous about what she is doing. I suspect that if management finds out it will be because of a larger story that has unfolded. At that point, LW might be okay with immediate termination. Or LW could suddenly quit, too, that is another possibility.
          Not ideal, I do agree. However, I also know that we do what we have to do to earn a living. I was robbed at work and I chose to quit immediately, it was not worth it to me. I took the job because it was close to home and the hours dovetailed well with my other job. Since that job, I always checked out the security of a place before applying or while interviewing. Honestly, it all boils down to making an educated guess when trying to calculate how much risk is involved with a job.

          1. CM*

            I’m not really sure why concealed carrying with a permit would be cause for termination if the workplace never said you can’t do it. I tend to be anti-gun in general, and would feel less safe if I learned a coworker were carrying a gun, but if it’s legal and there is no policy against it I would think it was unfair for someone to be fired over it. I would expect that if management had a problem, the person would be told not to bring their gun to work. If they continued to bring the gun even after being warned, that’s a different story. But I think it’s a less clear-cut situation than the “duck club” which is obviously not appropriate for work by any standard.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              It’s because you don’t need a reason to fire someone at will. Additionally, bringing guns will often invalidate an employer’s premises liability, which opens them up to a slew of legal pitfalls they don’t want or need. A lot of workplaces don’t have policies b/c it’s taken for granted that you should not bring a gun to work (I’m excluding jons where being armed is a requirement of your job duties). But I do think that, absent a reason for thinking this is a huge lapse in judgment, many employers would admonish, not fire, an employee from carrying at work.

        3. Augusta Sugarbean*

          The LW doesn’t know for sure the employer would have an issue. I think that’s why she wrote in to begin with. With the training she discussed, I think we can assume good faith and that she knows her state law and is obeying the law so it’s not clear they could just fire her outright.

          If an employer feels that strongly about it, then they should already have a policy. Guns are debated every day in the US. A company policy about guns on the property is not some new idea that no one has thought of yet.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        1. I hope that along with Krav Maga, OP has had training in how to use and maintain her weapon.

        2. I can understand the sort of binary thinking of “but if I ask, you might say no, and I can’t take that chance” but…

        3. I think someone — the boss — should know that there is occasionally a weapon on the premises because what happens if something happens to OP and someone goes looking through their stuff? I mean, if there is an accident — OP slips on a wet floor — someone may need to contact her family. Or if the gun is kept in a drawer, what happens if someone goes looking for a pen while OP is away at lunch? If the boss can be reasonable about this, they should be able to work out some arrangement “I don’t like the idea of you having a weapon in this office, but so long as you can show me that you store it safely while you are here, I can see why you may feel the need to carry it if you are alone here or it’s late at night and you are going to your car… ever considered a taser?”

        4. I also think that if the boss says oh, HELL NO! — OP has to abide by that, but they can also ask boss what other options are there? Can OP refuse to work on weekends or late nights when she would be alone? Can extra people be assigned on weekends? Can OP call the security guard to get a walk to/from her car? Are there plans to relocate the office or do work from home? Personally, I would go with “OK then, I guess from now on, I will be working standard hours with no overtime or weekends so that I may come and go with a group of coworkers.”

        1. Jeanne*

          For 3, I’m afraid there are a million things that could happen that you don’t need to plan for. If the gun is only there when OP is alone, who would go through a desk? Sure, OP could die and the gun discharge through the mainframe but prob not.

          For 4, I wondered also if it was possible to not work those dangerous hours alone. OP says they are diminishing but I think it would be reasonable to say “I don’t feel safe and can’t work those hours.”

        2. catsAreCool*

          In the original letter, the LW said “I practice weekly and attend training classes regularly.”

    3. Rachel*

      I admit I’m personally on the control side but I really like how OP handled this situation. And while I agree that I wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing a colleague is carrying a gun, I’d be concerned if a friend of mine was the person carrying the gun that they may be retaliated against by management if they tell management they are carrying. OP is allowed by the state to carry, as long as OP continues to make sure that she is following all state and federal laws regarding concealed carry in a workplace she shouldn’t say anything. Even a boss who may also have a permit to carry may view someone who carries as a potential liability and look for an excuse to fire them.

    4. paul*

      I would disagree entirely. Most of the US is an at will state; he runs the risk of being fired. Yes, he might get fired if they find out too, but there’s no reason to just waltz in and announce it…

      1. KarenD*

        I posted one issue above where a company would arguably have a right to know — in this case my ex-coworker was carrying the gun while doing field work and some of her contacts knew she had it. They were not happy about this, and contacted management to complain.

  5. Charlie*

    I’m sorry you perceive such omnipresent threat in the world, OP, but if this is what you need to manage those feelings, it seems as if you’re not exposing your coworkers to much risk doing what you’re doing.

    1. JKP*

      Since the OP says there have been 2 muggings since the last post, it seems like they aren’t managing their feelings as much as they are managing a legitimately unsafe situation.

          1. Bend & Snap*

            Muggings would negate a job being “good otherwise” in my book. It may not be an option, but if it is, something to think about.

            1. Honeybee*

              It might not be the job but simply the area of the city she works in, and that might be an issue that wouldn’t be solved even if she worked somewhere else.

              1. city*

                Yeah, I would say that there have been at least 4 or 5 muggings that I know about in the past month within a mile of where I live/work. It’s just the part of the city. An unfortunate part, admittedly, although not the worst part of being in cities. I generally deal with it by not walking with valuable items after–well not after dark since that’s at 4:30–but late at night.

      1. Z*

        I agree we need to take the OP at her word, but the original letter was posted in 2014. Two muggings in two years seems pretty statistically average (or possibly even low) so I wouldn’t consider that necessarily proof of a wildly dangerous neighborhood, although I certainly understand why it might lead the OP to taking precautions.

        1. Zillah*

          Ehhh, I’d argue that a couple muggings over two years in that particular parking lot (which I think is what the OP is saying, rather than in the neighborhood in general) is a pretty big deal, particularly if the OP is in the parking lot at times when it’s quite quiet. I’d be quite anxious and on edge if a parking garage I used for work had multiple attacks in it in recent memory.

          1. Z*

            Yea, I originally read that as 2 muggings in the area rather than the parking lot. If the former, not NOT concerning but hardly unusual over a 2 year period if it’s the latter then yes, absolutely it’s a big deal.

          2. Czhorat*

            Two muggings in teh “area” if the area is defined as the city, neighborhood, etc is not a huge deal [unless you’re the one mugged]. Two in the parking lot over a couple years is terrifying.

            Demanding better lighting/security/etc might be a reasonable step.

            1. LBK*

              In isolation, that statistic doesn’t really tell you much. If it’s a big parking garage that serves an office complex, there could be a thousand people or more going through it every day; 2 incidents for that amount of traffic barely even registers from a statistical perspective. That’s not really any more dangerous than most other public places.

              I know statistics aren’t emotionally reassuring, but when the OP’s entire argument rests on the premise that the garage is a notably dangerous hotspot, it’s worth evaluating whether that’s actually true or if she’s just convincing herself to feel that way so she can justify doing what she wants to do instead of putting herself in the uncomfortable spot of having to divulge this to her boss.

              1. A Cita*

                And actually, it’s 2 muggings in 2.5 years. But like you said, statistics are pretty meaningless when you’re concerned about your own safety. If I were afraid of anything besides spiders, stats would mean nothing to me. (Indeed, you can tell me all you want that the little fucker isn’t poisonous, but I KNOW they emerge from the bowels of Satan’s most inner sanctum to reign hellfire and wrath on all who dare to look into all eight of their beady, evil-bearing eyes.)

                If OP feels unsafe, she feels unsafe. Everyone has different levels of risk aversion.

                1. LBK*

                  Sure, everyone’s assessment of risk is different. But if your assessment leads you to believe that you need to bring a gun to work without telling your employer, you better be pretty damn confident in your assessment and that your assessment is similar to your employer’s.

                  I only harp on this because the OP’s letter reads to me more like an excuse to avoid an uncomfortable, potentially bad situation (disclosing her weapon to her employer) than someone who’s genuinely fearing for their safety, and the stakes in this case are pretty high so I’m less willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. This is an extremely serious decision to make and I’m not confident that she’s making it with open eyes.

          3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            It really depends on your context. 2 mugging so in a parking lot over 2 years is not out of the norm for many cities/communities, although there are also ways to mitigate that (already shall depending on where you live) risk.

        2. Jesmlet*

          2 muggings right outside her office when she’s the only one there late at night sometimes is 2 too many. I’d be nervous too.

        3. Temperance*

          I respectfully disagree. Two muggings in two years that LW knows about likely shows that, statistically speaking, there were far more than two muggings in that neighborhood/area. Not everyone reports, for example, and we don’t know whether LW’s company is the only one attached to that lot.

          1. Z*

            Absolutely. But it also doesn’t necessarily point to a wildly dangerous neighborhood either, which depends on a lot of context we don’t have. The nice, rich neighborhood where I work in Manhattan had 9 reported robberies in the last 28 days–barely a blip here but would be a crime spree elsewhere. I just wanted to push back on the idea that 2 muggings in 2 years is inherently alarming or a legitimately unsafe situation. It could be a lot of things, we have no way of knowing.

            I do take the OP at her word about her own risk assessment. But if we’re talking about lethal force it’s important to be aware of the differences between perception of risk and genuine risk. Assuming the former is the latter allows for situations to escalate unnecessarily.

      2. Rhys*

        Honestly the thing about the muggings is what concerns me, because if somebody is going to mug you, you pulling out a gun is only going to escalate the situation. The punishment for mugging somebody should not be death but it can end up that way if your default self-protection is carrying a gun. I’m relieved to see that OP has taken up self-defense which I think is a much more appropriate measure for the safety concerns mentioned.

        1. Artemesia*

          I am for gun control but a mugging is violent act — I am an old lady — an assault could very well end my useful life and leave me incapacitated and dependent for a many years or worse. I don’t care if a mugger gets shot. I do care if some random bystander gets shot by a careless gun owner which seems to be the greater likelihood.

        2. JKP*

          Generally muggers are looking for easy targets. Pulling a gun on a mugger will likely get them to back down. I had a friend who pulled a sword on a mugger once (they were heading back after an SCA event) and the mugger dropped his own knife and took off running. My friend kept the knife as a souvenir.

          1. notgiven*

            My son has the same story. His friend was the victim of an attempted mugging on the way home from an SCA event. The guy pulled his knife and she pulled out her bodice knife and he ran away because hers was bigger.

        3. Anion*

          I think the muggings were just mentioned to demonstrate that it’s not a supersafe area, not as an example of the LW pulling her weapon in response to a mugging.

        4. Erin*

          Statistics on justified brandishing are incredibally inaccurate. which is pulling a gun on someone who is trying to attack you. Many of the people who end up pulling a gun on a mugger don’t report it, because the criminal ran away and no shots were fired, and only the really stupid criminals would call the police in that situation.

    2. Cass*

      Not to derail too much – I understand your sentiment, but if you don’t believe that there are genuinely unsafe areas then you are very privileged.

      1. Jesmlet*

        Yeah I think we need to trust OP’s assessment of her environment since that’s the only info we have and unsafe areas definitely do exist.

      2. Charlie*

        I believe there are genuinely unsafe areas, but in general, I think a lot of people exaggerate the level of personal risk the world actually presents them with. Not saying either way whether that applies to OP, but in general, the risks of being mugged are pretty low these days – and there are better ways of managing that risk than carrying a firearm, which the OP acknowledges.

        1. LBK*

          Yeah, I agree- the US is a generally safe country and our more dangerous parts tend to be highly concentrated in singular cities (and obviously the OP could live in one of those cities, but we don’t know). There are also a lot of questionable biases that can go into assessing the danger of an area like the historical racial and economic demographics of its citizens; if we’re going to talk about privilege and position and how they influence your ability to measure risk, it’s a much more complicated conversation than just saying “believe people when they think they’re in a dangerous area.”

          I don’t know that 2 muggings in 2 years sounds notably dangerous to me unless the OP is in a generally low crime area where this would be an unusual concentration of attacks. I’d be surprised if any given high traffic location doesn’t average at least one mugging per year (and parking lots in particular tend to be higher since targets are usually more isolated).

          1. Z*

            Absolutely agreed. I take the OP at her word re: her own risk assessment (and regardless of whether they are statistically normal or not, a few muggings near me would heighten my security concerns), but people often label neighborhoods as “dangerous” that are, in actuality, just poor and/or non-white.

            Not speaking for the OP’s situation, but generally if lethal force has the potential to be involve it’s important people are assessing their risk off what they know to be true and not perceptions or what they’ve been told by others.

          2. LBK*

            Okay – I reread the original letter and the OP said she does live in a city with a high level of violent crime, although I think my caveats remain about whether that’s an emotionally drawn conclusion based on chaining anecdotes or actual statistics, because people tend to rely heavily on the former when it comes to talking about crime rates.

            Given that, though, I’m actually a little more irked by the OP’s justification, because she focuses on her workplace in particular being a dangerous area. If she said “I live in a dangerous city and I’m not comfortable going anywhere without my gun,” okay, fine. But to say that the office in particular is dangerous and that’s why she needs her gun there, then cite a crime rate of 1 incident per year (which honestly sounds low if this is a highly violent city)…I dunno, it feels disingenuous to me.

            1. sunny-dee*

              But she may not live in a dangerous city; she may work there. Many many people work in Dallas (where I am) but live in the suburbs or exurbs which are significantly safer. Or, in my case, I live in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Dallas, though technically in the city limits; if I worked in downtown, it would be much less safe than the neighborhood I live in.

              1. LBK*

                In her own words, from the original letter:

                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).

            2. Cass*

              I think the reasoning is to take the OP at her word. She says she lives in a high-crime city, so assigning on our own statistics isn’t really helpful.

                1. Mellllz*

                  I think what some people are discouraging here on some level is the idea of giving into fear…if it is NOT a reasonable response. Because that is very dangerous and can be contagious. Fear creates more fear and rubs off on people. If it really is that dangerous , then yes, she should protect herself. However the evidence is a little lacking and no …we don’t necessarily have to take her word for it. People get lost in their heads sometime …that’s why they come here to get perspective. I’m really glad this OP did because it seemed to have helped. Fear is a force that can make you lose perspective very quick and we can get in trouble as a society if we let it get the best of us. Unless it is truly warranted , it’s not a good thing to nurture. just my .02

            3. Honeybee*

              But that’s not what she said. The OP said, in the original post, that she lives in a city with a very high violent crime rate.

        2. Temperance*

          Eh, this is really location-dependent. My work occasionally takes me to bad neighborhoods, like Camden, NJ, so I’m going to take OP at her word. There is something to say for racism and people assuming all cities are dangerous, but I think it’s silly to pretend that danger is largely imagined.

          1. Jeanne*

            I agree. We all manage danger differently but the danger is still real. I know about Camden, I’m not far from Reading. I don’t feel the need for a gun every time I go to a restaurant in Reading but there are parts of the city with old buildings used by companies that are in more dangerous areas. I have to believe her that she does not feel safe. Does she need a gun? Debatable but still an actual question not one to be dismissed as silly.

            And the whole “get a new job” is quite disingenuous. Those types of cities don’t have tons of jobs open.

          2. LBK*

            But you understand that Camden is a highly concentrated area of danger, yes? That doesn’t mean it isn’t a genuinely dangerous place or that people imagine that it’s dangerous, but the existence of genuinely dangerous places doesn’t mean people don’t also overrate how dangerous other places are, or that everyone is always right about how dangerous their location is. For instance, even racial/economic connotations aside, people just generally tend to assume cities are dangerous even though not all of them are.

            I only bring this up because the OP’s justification for her actions rests pretty squarely on her being in a dangerous situation, so I think it’s relevant to press on whether that’s true, especially since danger is something that can often be assessed poorly. It’s a major point in The Gift of Fear: that you have to learn to separate out real from imagined danger so that when you are in a genuinely dangerous situation, your instincts are more honed.

            1. Jesmlet*

              It’s just not something we generally do here – press the LW on whether or not their presentation of the facts is true or not. She’s the one that’s been living there for years. If she still thinks it’s dangerous after several years, it probably is and I don’t think it’s right to question that. She feels unsafe and that’s all that matters, otherwise we’ll be arguing how many muggings a year is justifiably concerning and that’s just silly.

              1. GovWorker*

                Feeling unsafe is not all that matters. I am black. Black males are feared when wearing tuxedos, let alone average work gear or heaven forbid, urban attire. I would ask that the OP be extremely cognizant of fears that are not justified just because someone is different than yourself. Fear is not always an accurate barometer of risk. This could be a tragedy waiting to happen.

              2. LBK*

                If she were just going to her employer to ask for security cameras or better lighting or escorts to cars, sure, measure risk however you want. Deciding to bring a gun to work is not something you get to do in isolation based solely on your own feelings. It’s not a decision you get to make on behalf of your coworkers.

            2. TootsNYC*

              It also drives people away from sending in their questions, if they feel they’re going to face lots of questioning on whether their basic facts are true.

              And that’s why Alison has specifically requested that we NOT do that.

              1. LBK*

                I agree in situations where the stakes are lower, but deciding to bring a gun to work without telling your employer is a huge, serious decision that impacts a lot of other people aside from just the OP. This isn’t about someone burning their own reputation, it’s about make a very serious judgment call on behalf of your coworkers, one that could have a lot of fallout and is highly sensitive. I think that merits a more serious examination of motive than we might otherwise take here.

          3. Doreen Green*

            I work in Camden every day, and it is just like any other city in that the immediate risk to you depends greatly on where you are, what time it is, what you’re doing… and chance. Racism and classicism definitely affect how people talk about the city and its perceived levels of danger.

            But of course that still doesn’t mean that crime doesn’t happen there, or that personal safety shouldn’t be a concern. Personal safety should be a concern no matter where you are, as far as I am concerned!

        3. Baska*

          When I was doing martial arts regularly and helped teach self-defense courses, we told our clients that the first thing they should do in the case of a mugging is (if at all possible) give the mugger what they want. If they want your wallet, give it to them. If they want your watch / car keys / jewelry / whatever, give it to them. If they get what they want, there’s a good chance they’ll go away. (Obviously the situation becomes more complicated if “what they want” is to cause physical harm or sexual assault. Hence “if at all possible”.)

          Yes, it’s harrowing. Yes, you may need therapy after. Yes, life is going to be hard if you give up your valuable material possessions (especially if it’s your car, for example). But not so hard as being stabbed or shot, which may very well happen if you escalate by pulling a weapon (or trying to) on your mugger.

          At least that’s my perspective on it.

          1. drashizu*

            This is what stood out to me about the update, too. Self-defense classes should help you defend your life in a crisis — they are NOT a method of “preventing muggings.”

            I’m a 2nd-degree black belt and was at one point an instructor at the studio where I earned my belts. The #1 rule of self defense is that life is more important than property, so if you’re at risk of losing your property, give it up. Don’t make the situation worse by starting a fight and bumping your risk level up to losing life or limb, too.

            *Especially* don’t be that person who thinks that now that they can “handle themselves” they should take matters into their own hands during a mugging because they guess (rightly or wrongly) they have more training than their attacker. Even with all the training in the world, you can still get yourself killed by a lucky blow with a closed fist, let alone a knife or gun.

            Never, *ever* turn a nonviolent situation into a violent one. Ever.

            I know mugging is considered a “violent crime,” but there is a real big difference between a nominally violent crime where you’re threatened and afraid, and an actually violent crime where you’re tussling with someone on the ground.

            LW, if you read this, it’s wonderful that you’re learning Krav Maga, but never, ever turn the former situation into the latter by your own actions. If you end up in a violent altercation anyway, use all your skills to get yourself out of it. And I’m glad you feel safer now. But the goal of self-defense is always to keep yourself safe. Whether you have mixed martial arts training or are armed, your response to a mugging should always have been, and continue to be, “Here’s my wallet. Want my watch, too?”


    While I still think the employer should get to decide, I think the compromise you’ve made with yourself is ok – not perfect but I can’t fault you too much, since safety does seem to be a real issue.

    With that in mind, have you talked to your employer about the safety issues at all? If people have been mugged walking to their cars, I feel like the employer should be actively working on a plan to keep their employees safe. Is there a safety committee that can come up with a plan to present to the higher ups?

    1. Charlie*

      Exactly my next question. Why is the employer not taking more active steps to increase security? It really shouldn’t be on OP to pack heat so they can get back to their car.

    2. PK*

      Right. If the employer isn’t taking more active steps with security, I think I’d find myself looking for another job. CCW or not.

    3. SarahTheEntwife*

      I’m wondering if this is a situation where the parking area(s) isn’t controlled by the business, so there’s a limit to what they can do.

      1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

        Even still. I worked at a restaurant that closed at 2am. We often wouldn’t leave until 3 or later. The rule was none of the closers could leave until everyone was ready. So, the kitchen closer, manager, bartender, and 2 closing servers were all leaving at the same time in a group so no one was walking to their car in a shared parking lot late at night all alone. If it is a shared parking lot, a system can be developed. Even sharing the cost of security with the pother businesses that share the lot. You should still care that your employees are at risk and take steps ti mitigate it

    4. EddieSherbert*

      +1 on all accounts here.

      I am firmly on the “employer should know/decide” side, but I do appreciate that you came to what sounds like a compromise (I mean, you could have totally ignored AAM/comments!).

      You should absolutely talk with your work about safety in general though – you shouldn’t have to be afraid to walk to your car!

    5. k*

      This is a very good point. If there are proven security issues, to the point where employees feel unsafe being there alone, that is a big problem. No one should have to feel like they have to be armed to be safe in the workplace!

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I am happy to see this suggestion of talking to the employer about beefing up security. I have seen places use pendant alarms. You wear it on your person. Something goes wrong, you press the button and a silent alarm notifies the police. Your employer would have to check out radio range to make sure coverage happens in the parking lot. You would have to test the pendant every six months or so to make sure the batteries have not quit. But it might be worth looking into.

      Cameras that are beyond the reach of spray paint can might be helpful.

      Maybe the police can send a patrol car through at random times.

      I hope you are able to go out and move your car closer to the door before dark. I had one job where I parked right next to the door first thing in the morning. I got in the building and locked myself in. Once the sun came up and people were wandering about then I would move my car to a normal employee spot. Maybe you can get your employer to agree to this if they have not yet set up something like this.

    7. Lady Blerd*

      It is possible that OP simply didn’t mention it either because she doesn’t feel it’s enough/adequate or she feels it’s on her to protect herself.

  7. Turanga Leela*

    I have to say, OP, I’m disappointed. I’m glad for the update, but I wish you’d talk to your employer about concealed carrying in the office. It sounds like you feel bad about not bringing it up, and it might relieve some anxiety for you… or you’d learn that you aren’t allowed to carry at work at all, and you’d have to figure out another solution.

    1. RT*

      I agree – especially since the beginning of the letter spoke about really thinking about the advice given in the original letter. The key point of the advice was to talk to someone at the company.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          I don’t think she did, actually. She seems to clearly believe that she should tell her boss, and just doesn’t want to. That’s an uncomfortable place to be in, and I hope she resolves it soon. (Both because I think what she’s doing is clearly wrong, and because it’s not good for her.)

          1. Jesmlet*

            I think it’s just a matter of how you weigh things – ethics vs legal. Legally she’s not doing anything wrong and she’s decided that the law, along with her personal safety, are more important than a moral obligation to fully disclose to her employer.

            1. Anna*

              Yes to this, and frankly there’s nothing wrong with that even if you and I might make a different decision.

            2. Bellatrix*

              It’s also legal to bring your dog into the office. Yet doing so in secret makes you a bad employee.

            3. GovWorker*

              The employer is liable for what happens in the workplace. Heaven forbid if OP shoots a cleaning person or security guard making rounds because she was startled. The employer has a right to know if a loaded gun is on the premises, for whatever reason, it may want to up its liability insurance.

              Thank goodness guns are forbidden in my workplace.

              1. Turtle Candle*

                Actually, I am curious how that would shake out–if you’re in a concealed carry state and the employer can state with some degree of credibility that they had no idea that you were carrying (because you were not required to leave the weapon at home OR to disclose it), would they still be liable? I suspect this is another complex area of law, and probably varies greatly from state to state. (A quick Google seems to indicate that in at least some states that have concealed carry laws, workplaces that don’t ban weapons do have some immunity to lawsuits under those circumstances, on the principle that if you don’t know someone is carrying a weapon and they aren’t legally required to disclose that you can’t reasonably be held accountable. It looks like you might still be liable if you knew that the employee had a tendency towards violence and didn’t take any steps to corrrect that, but if they were peachy keen up until they shot someone–which is likely if the shooting was accidental in the ‘cleaning woman surprised me’ sense–you’d be protected. Interestingly, there appears to be no specific immunity if you do ban weapons but someone sneaks one in anyway; I imagine your liability there would be up to a court to decide. But of course this is all courtesy Google, Esq., and actual lawyers in the states in question would know more.)

                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  In most cases they could still be (civilly, not criminally) liable. The usual rule is whether the employer should have known the employee was carrying and/or likely to be violent, or whether the employer could have taken mitigating steps but didn’t.

                  What’s more risky for the employer than legal liability is the impact on your insurance coverage—insurers do not like to cover gun-related claims if the employer could have mitigated (or they charge a higher premium to cover places that do allow guns).


      As Alison stated in the original post, the advice of her FIL, unless the employer posted signs expressly forbidding guns in the workplace, even a conversation where the employer expressly tells she cannot carry is not enough. Also, didnt most states knock down those laws for conceal-and-carry, that in fact, you can open carry?

      1. Turtle Candle*

        The LW’s concern, I assume, is either that this would color their employer’s perceptions of them (possibly even in subconscious ways) indefinitely, to their detriment–or that if they reveal that they’re concealed-carrying, their employer might decide to take the steps to post the legally-mandated ‘no guns’ signs. (In the interest of full disclosure, if I hypothetically were an employer and someone told me that they were carrying guns into the workplace and I found out that I couldn’t prevent it without a policy and signage, I would definitely use that as a reason to jump through the necessary legal hoops to post the required signs–whereas if nobody mentioned it I might not even think of it–so this is not an irrational fear.)

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Right, which is how this LW ended up in an ethical dilemma. She is guessing that if she “confesses” she’ll have to stop. She doesn’t want to stop, so she doesn’t want to confess.

          1. AthenaC*

            To be clear, it’s not so much that she doesn’t want to stop, it’s that she thinks it’s necessary for her safety not to stop.

            How many times has a person who has gotten mugged / raped / killed been seen as “at fault” for failing to adequately protect themselves no matter how minimal the risk supposedly was? If OP believes she is adequately managing her risk through a mixture of things including concealed carry, I can’t say that I’m in a position to tell her she’s wrong.

            1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

              Well, ok. I don’t actually agree — she talks about how the gun isn’t effective at the range she needs it to be; that’s why she’s also learning a martial art.

              But regardless, I don’t think that changes anything about the dilemma the LW is facing. You can frame any “want” in more compelling terms if it serves you. I want a higher salary = It’s necessary for my family’s well-being for me to have a higher salary, etc.

              1. No, please*

                It’s not that a gun would not be effective. She is acknowledging that bullets travel very, very far and aren’t the best option for an office with coworkers. That was my take, but I could be wrong.

                1. AthenaC*

                  What she says is –

                  “Honestly, this was probably a better solution to many of my safety-at-work issues since the effective range of a gun is much farther out than most people realize, and this gives me a better feeling of comfort in crowds, between parked cars, when drinking (does not happen at work!) and so on and so forth. ”

                  So the gun becomes the most effective means of defense, but only at a certain range, such as the range an attacker might be while the OP is walking to and from her car alone (which she specifically mentioned in the original letter). To complete the self-defense package, the OP has supplemented with martial arts. Makes perfect sense to me.

              2. AthenaC*

                Likewise, you can frame “need” in more compelling terms if it serves you. I need my bodily integrity intact = I want to maintain ownership of all of my limbs.

    3. paul*

      At the risk of getting fired? I don’t blame her.

      My workplace has 30.06 and 30.07 signs up so I’m legally prohibited here, but given the area? I’d concealed carry if it was legal on premise and just never tell anyone. It’s not a bad job in a lot of ways, but it is a sketchy area and we’ve had violent crimes on/near premises.

    4. NotAnotherManager!*

      I have to agree with this. I do think that OP has read and thought about Alison’s advice, even though it wasn’t what she wanted to hear, but I do think her employer needs to know about her safety concerns and the presence of a weapon in their building.

      My concern is less for people like OP who are conscientious, trained, and up-to-date. But, if she’s allowed to bring her gun, anyone who can qualify for a concealed carry permit can, too, and concealed carry permit test are… not that rigorous in a number of jurisdictions. I can’t speak for OP’s, but my father-in-law has a permit and feels that he was not required to take nearly enough training to get it.

      I have worked with people who could concealed carry and it would not bother me at all — one of my coworkers is a former marine with urban combat certifications who regularly participates in training and give safety training courses. He wanted to CC? No problem. I also worked with someone who was legally allowed to own weapons and also had a CC permit — and was prone to fits of rage when we asked him do things like come to work consistently. How do we tell employee A that he’s fine to bring his gun to work but employee B that we’re genuinely afraid they’d shoot someone who pissed them off? (When we fired the latter, it is the only time in my professional career I’ve been scared a disgruntled employee would come back and shoot up the office based on their comments about their gun collection and temper problem.)

  8. PK*

    I think you should report it to your employer but carrying on days alone makes a lot more sense honestly.

  9. feminazgul*

    Wow. It’s not really just that your employer needs to know (they should) but I really think your coworkers deserve to know you’re bringing a gun to work. Even if you only do it when no one’s there. How do you know nobody will be there every time you do it? What if someone else shows up unexpectedly? I’d feel INCREDIBLY uncomfortable working alongside someone having no idea they have a gun. I feel horrifically uncomfortable just working with people that I know have concealed carry permits (2 in my current workplace). I basically assume they are always armed.

    Glad you’re turning to martial arts, though. That seems a lot safer.

    1. LCL*

      Her co workers don’t need to know. People working late shifts have to take care of themselves. Working late shifts is more dangerous because there are less people around, so it takes longer to get help. It is a different world during late hours, think of all of the people you interact with during the work day, then imagine being at the office with everyone else gone.

      A coworker’s uncomfortable feeling about weapons shouldn’t get to override a late worker’s concern about safety. Company policy does override one’s desire to be armed, but company policy often is against any individual worker’s best interests.

      I mean this sincerely, if you are on good terms with any gun owners, ask one of them to take you to a target range. Generally the way to get over or at least manage a fear of any technology is to have a more knowledgeable person share their knowledge.

      1. feminazgul*

        Yes, they do. Everyone needs to be able to evaluate the level of danger present in the workplace and evaluate if that kind of office environment is one they want to work in. Working late shifts certainly is more dangerous. However, there are about a -million- other steps to try before taking a CONCEALED DEADLY WEAPON TO WORK.

        The employee should be addressing workplace safety with the workplace. Not taking it in to their own hands.

        I’m not afraid of guns at all. I’m afraid of the people with the guns in a place that I HAVE to be.

        1. Czhorat*


          A loaded firearm IS a danger, whether the LW or gun-possession advocates wish to admit it to be so or not. That can be weighed against the perceived good of using the weapon to protect against attack; those who know me know how I weigh those factors, and it is possible to make certain well-educated judgement via statistics.

          What the LW did is decide it was their choice alone, and nobody else has the chance to even know about it. That they feel they have to hide it means they suspect they’d not be permitted.

          One aside: is there an employee handbook at your place of work? Some of them have prohibitions against the possession of weapons on premise.

        2. Lemon Zinger*

          Well said. I would be terrified to know that one of my coworkers carried a deadly weapon at work.

      2. Turtle Candle*

        I suspect that the implication that people must be uncomfortable with guns/pro-gun control because they have no experience with them or don’t understand them is probably trending towards the gun-control debate that Alison asked us not to have.

        1. LCL*

          I didn’t make any implications. I clearly stated something I believe would be a kindness to feminazgul. I have no intention of starting a gun control policy debate. My original advice to OP was for her specific situation, formed from my experience working and supervising night shifts. My actual opinions on gun control will remain unstated as requested by Alison of all of us.

          1. Turtle Candle*

            Ah, I see, I misunderstood. I often see the POV that if someone just learned more about guns or went to a shooting range, they’d feel less need for gun control laws because they’d be “less scared.” I apologize for incorrectly attributing that to you.

            (It’s an opinion that I often find somewhat amusing, because two of the most pro-gun-control people I know are my parents. My mother is ex-military and a marks(wo)man; my father is a 21 year Army veteran and an expert marksman. Neither of them are unfamiliar with guns; they can both field-strip and reassemble an M16 blindfolded, and my dad used to take my brother to the rifle range occasionally for fun. But they’re still very pro-gun-control, which often confuses people, because stereotypes are so strong!)

        2. bohtie*

          “I mean this sincerely, if you are on good terms with any gun owners, ask one of them to take you to a target range. Generally the way to get over or at least manage a fear of any technology is to have a more knowledgeable person share their knowledge.”

          Yeah, this is just really obnoxious, and regardless of the comments below, if this person didn’t want to come across as high-and-mighty and “oh you’re only afraid of guns because you lack experience, ignorant one,” they should have done some proofreading.

          1. Anondenominational*

            This. Every member of my family (both parents, sibling- who used to teach firearms – husband, FIL who is a hunter, and MIL) has handled a gun/knows how to shoot. I’ve handled a BB gun before when I was a kid/teen, but nothing else. I’ve told my husband that we won’t have guns in the house, and that when his father passes away and we inherit his guns (husband has no living siblings) they will need to be stored in a secure place with no ammunition in the house. The main reason for that is children; I have heard too many stories of children being accidentally shot (and actually, FIL was injured by a gun as a child) and I don’t want to chance my kids coming across a loaded gun. The other reason is a lot more personal. I am happy having other people owning guns and have no interest in taking them away, but I have lived with depression my entire adult life, and it has been very severe at times. I have been suicidal. It is medicated and under control, but it is still not something I trust myself about, and I don’t want a gun in the house because my greatest danger comes from myself.

            I don’t fear the technology in the hands of other people. I understand myself.

      3. anon for this one*

        Not always. My father was a Marine and then a cop and despite having guns around and him sharing his knowledge and taking me to a shoot range, they still make me really uncomfortable. I don’t like them and my understanding of them doesn’t make me less likely to fear the impact they have in the wrongs hands. Accidents happen even with people who are experts with their preferred technology.

        I’d be really, really uncomfortable working with anyone I knew had a concealed weapon. It’d put me on edge enough that I’d be distracted about doing my job or interacting with them. But at the end of the day, I’d prefer to know a coworker is carrying than not be told because I don’t want to get stuck unaware in certain situations. Even then, OP says no one would ever know they’re carrying, but what if there’s the rare chance that someone does notice or sees it or whatever? I know I’d panic and tell someone or call 911 and I know that’s cause more problems than if the coworker had just outright told her boss at least that she was carrying.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Your conclusion is based on faulty reasoning and misrepresents what anon for this one actually said.

      4. Czhorat*

        The gun-carrying co-worker doesn’t have a monopoly on the right to feel safe; I would feel less safe knowing there was a loaded gun on the premises.

        This is running the risk of veering into the discussion Alison didn’t want to have, but there are some who see that a loaded gun on the premises is a bigger threat than anything against which the gun would be protecting.

        In any event, it is the employer’s right to make that determination at their place of work. The LW is lying to their boss by NOT divulging this.

        1. Marvel*

          I agree. Honestly, if this were my workplace, I would have serious concerns, would feel unsafe, and might consider quitting–and my family is very pro-gun. If the LW is allowed to feel that carrying a gun makes her safer, than I am allowed to feel that being around guns makes me less safe, and make my own decisions accordingly.

        2. Lucyfer*

          Here’s the problem though: the “right to feel safe” has to be rational.

          Who’s rational here? You can’t answer that without getting into the weeds about feelings about guns and politics.

          What if I only feel safe if I’m surrounded by other women of my race? Is that rational or not?

          What if men of a specific race make me feel unsafe? If I’m an Indian or First Nations woman, it’s objectively rational for me to feel unsafe around white men.

          They are not lying by not divulging.

          I don’t think they ought to take then gun with them. I do think the business owner needs to step up.

          All of that being said, this is a very complex issue. Almost all of us respond based on our own POV and experience. Rational debate of what is reasonable to feel safe is pretty difficult in today’s world.

          1. Czhorat*

            I see not divulging as lying because at this point it’s clear that not mentioning it is not a mere oversight but a deliberate choice to hide information. It is a lie of omission.

          2. Marvel*

            While I understand that you’re trying to be equitable here, I think that’s a highly flawed analogy. Guns are deadly weapons; they have one purpose, and that is to main and/or kill (this isn’t a moral judgement–those things are necessary, sometimes). The same cannot be said for people. Asking someone not to carry a deadly weapon in the workplace because it makes others feel unsafe is reasonable and should not present an undue hardship; asking someone not to EXIST in the workplace because they make you feel unsafe, however rational that feeling may be, is not a reasonable request and is discriminatory.

            To me, this is a bit like asking people not to bring peanut products into the workplace because it’s a common allergy that many people have. Though peanut products are a major part of many people’s diets, they are not an absolute necessity, and should obviously go in this case. However, if someone was severely allergic to, say, cats, it would not be reasonable to ask that none of their coworkers own a cat in their own home. At that point, it would be on the person in question to manage their allergy as necessary.

            My point is: some accommodations are reasonable to ask for, and others are not. Opinions differ on where the line is, sure, but that doesn’t mean nothing should ever be accommodated just because otherwise someone could ask for something ridiculous. Asking people not to bring deadly weapons into the workplace to accommodate coworkers who may be afraid for their lives is reasonable. Asking not to ever have to work with someone of another race or gender is not.

        3. Honeybee*

          It is the employer’s right, sure, but the employer doesn’t need the employee to tell them they have a gun in order to make that decision. Really, by that logic, it’s the employer’s fault that they don’t have a policy about concealed carry in the workplace.

        4. motherofdragons*

          “The gun-carrying co-worker doesn’t have a monopoly on the right to feel safe; I would feel less safe knowing there was a loaded gun on the premises.”


      5. GovWorker*

        I do not agree. That gun could end up hurting or killing me if there is an incident and it goes sideways. Trained LEOs and the military don’t always hit their target. The feeling of security is illusory. OP should fess up to her employer or really try to work where she feels more safe.

      6. Honeybee*

        Yes, I agree with that. My ideas about guns and gun control changed radically after I learned how to shoot and handle a gun. Most ranges also have classes for people who have never handled a gun, and gun range owners are some of the friendliest people on the planet. They’re all about safety – they take it very, very seriously.

        1. Anna*

          The whole point of concealed carry is you don’t know. Does NYC prohibit concealed carry? If that’s not the case, you’re making a huge assumption about who does and does not carry based on geography alone and that makes no sense.

          1. Czhorat*

            For one thing, a concealed carry permit in NYC is very difficult to get.

            The other point is that I *no longer go to the office to work*. I have a few neighbors who may or may bot be home [and who, because of temperment and political leanings, are unlikely to be carrying]. In my home office, the population consists of:

            a five year old boy
            a ten year old girl.
            My wife.
            A housecat.

            None of the above carry,.

              1. Turtle Candle*

                Oh goodness, if my cats could carry and use guns, they would be totally spherical because I would never dare deny them kibble ever again.

            1. anonderella*

              now you’ve got me picturing a Quentin Tarantino movie with a five year old boy, ten year old girl, the wife, and the housecat carrying concealed and not-concealed guns all over the house, blazing Yosemite Sam-style.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I have been thinking that as I’m reading through.

        In his younger years my husband did some hunting. While not a gun enthusiast, he was still quite knowledgeable about firearms. This meant he could carry on a conversation about something I was not well versed in. I was totally surprised by the number of people we knew who owned guns.

        Because I was not familiar with the terms and so on, I never discussed guns with anyone. This meant they never mentioned having one or more. I (stupidly) assumed they were like me, they did not know about guns either. I was wrong. (This happens often when we assume people are like ourselves, not sure why I was caught off guard on that one.)

        But my husband did open my eyes on the topic. It surprised me how many people own firearms and who they are. I agree with you, Jenbug.

      1. Jake*

        Because unless you’re carrying throwing stars in your wallet, it’s not a danger to the people around you.

    2. Gene*

      I’d feel INCREDIBLY uncomfortable working alongside someone having no idea they have a gun.

      Do you always feel “INCREDIBLY uncomfortable” at work? Because you truly don’t know if those around you are armed or not. The key part of concealed carry is the word concealed.

      1. Lucyfer*

        “concealed carry” is like “schroedinger’s rapist”

        If the carry is concealed, you have to assume everyone may be armed. Judge them by their behavior.

        1. Jake*

          I think you missed the point of Schrödinger’s rapist. The whole point is that you can’t judge by behaviour, and you have no way of knowing if a person is dangerous until it’s too late. You’re right that it’s a principle that applies to concealed guns as well, though.

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            That’s… that’s basically the opposite of Schroedinger’s rapist. Like exactly the opposite.

            The point of SR was “Behavior is visible, intentions are not.”

      2. Marcela*

        Well, without any intent of offend (which I say because of some comments on the original post), I do feel terribly uncomfortable/nervous when involved in any disagreement or problem in traffic, because I assume all the other drivers could be armed and I am absolutely terrified of the idea of one of them losing their cool and shooting me or my husband. I come from a country where people do not carry guns, therefore I simply cannot consider them something normal, and that bleeds in many of my interactions in public, traffic being the most notorious.

    3. Rhys*

      Very much agree. I had a roommate for two years who, a few months before he moved out, I learned had kept a gun in his room the whole time we lived together. He was a good friend, but I was really upset. 100% of accidental shootings involve a gun. Having a gun in your house or office, no matter how responsible the owner, increases the risk of an accidental shooting just by virtue of the fact that you can’t have one without having a gun present.

      What if OP was working in the office on the weekend and a coworker (or maintenance worker, or hell, somebody who is lost but harmless) came in unexpectedly. OP, startled and afraid, pulls out their gun. Even if they don’t actually fire they have put an innocent person in danger of being shot.

      My personal feelings aren’t in line with the laws apparently (on this and many other things, sadly), but I absolutely believe that OP’s boss and coworkers have a right to know that they are in the same room as a deadly weapon and factor that into any decisions they make about their own personal safety.

      1. Michaela T*

        Your second paragraph is what scares me. I’m profoundly hearing-impaired. I could imagine a scenario where I pop into the office on the weekend to grab something, the OP hears me enter and asks who is there, and I don’t hear them and I round the corner to find a gun in my face. An unlikely scenario, but as a coworker I would prefer to know if my life depends on letting the OP know beforehand if I’m planning to stop by the office.

        1. TL -*

          So, despite what Hollywood tells us (and, yes, acknowledging there are situations where this is not the case), responsible gun owners don’t pull out their guns because they’re scared and unsure. Most people are not going to pull their gun out because they hear a noise and aren’t sure what it is. That’s an irrational, extreme escalation to a fairly normal thing.

          Many households in my family have guns and nobody has ever pulled a gun because there was a weird noise or someone came in the door unexpectedly. Probably my grandfather would keep his hands nearer his gun (he always wears it if legal), but he would not pull it unless he had confirmed somebody was a threat. And he would have the most extreme response.

          But there are non responsible gun owners as well.

          (tangentially, this is not true for non-lethal weapons, which are much more likely to be pulled and discharged when uncertain.)

          1. Opal*

            True. Hammers, knives, bats are often used in anger. There may be no intent to commit a homocide. Because they aren’t seen as lethal weapons they are often at hand in times of anger.

          2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            I’m a whole lot more worried about irresponsible gun owners than responsible ones! And the fact that when push comes to shove, I don’t know which one a given gun owner is going to be until the situation arises.

          3. Anion*

            Exactly. The OP says she receives training. One of the first things they teach you in training is not to just whip out your gun at every odd noise or shadow.

      2. Erin*

        Unless you live outside of the US or in California, illinois or New York or are a hermit, you already have contact with people legally carrying a concealed gun. It could be the clerk at the gas station or the little old lady pumping her gas in the parking lot, you don’t know because it’s concealed. In Michigan I believe (I’ve heard this stat a long time ago) 1 in 10 adults has a Concealed Pistol License.
        Like like it or not as an American guns are just about as big of a part of our culture as automobiles. I believe gun saftey education should be as common as drivers ed. Doesn’t mean everyone should own a gun, but I believe everyone should have basic knowledge in how they work, so if they come across grandpas revolver in his night stand they can safely and comfortably handle it.

  10. Amy G. Golly*

    OP, you made no mention in either your original letter or your follow-up of why you choose to carry a gun at work vs. any other non-lethal option, like pepper spray. Have you considered any other options? Because I have to agree with Alison that your employer should get to decide whether any guns are allowed in the workplace, and as you yourself noted, just because you only do it occasionally, that doesn’t make it right.

    1. sunny-dee*

      Again, this varies by state, but some states consider pepper spray a concealed weapon, as well. (That’s why it’s a concealed carry *weapons* license, not a gun license — while obviously it is for guns, it covers any kind of concealed weapon, including sprays and knives.)

      Also, if it’s a CCW state, the employer has already made a choice by not prohibiting weapons onsite.

      1. Amy G. Golly*

        I’m not arguing the legality of it: just that the consequences of a misuse of a gun are much more severe than the misuse of pepper spray.

        And has already been pointed out, it’s likely that her employer has never considered the issue of whether or not they want to allow weapons on their premises. The law may be on the OP’s side, but I still don’t think her behavior is correct. (If she talks to her employer and they have made a conscious choice to allow weapons, then she’s in no worse off state, and she’ll have the piece of mind knowing that she’s not “getting away” with something her employer might object to.)

        1. TL -*

          But pepper spray and other non-lethal weapons are much more likely to be used in a given situation than a gun and they can make a situation worse just as easily as a gun.

          (Not to mention, there are people who have no response to pepper spray; my best friend can take a faceful without blinking.)

          1. feminazgul*

            Let’s not beat around the bush, nothing is as likely to make a situation as un-reversible as a gun. This is off-topic.

            1. TL -*

              ? It’s not really off-topic; if you are carrying a gun, there are legitimate reasons why non-lethal weapons are not a good option, which is probably why the OP doesn’t carry them.

              And if you are carrying a gun, you are saying that Other Person Dead is not the worst outcome of a particular situation, yes. That does not make a non-lethal option the automatically better option.

                1. TL -*

                  It is, because people are offering pepper spray as an alternative to the OP’s CCW.

                  Also, I appreciate your input but it’s really not your call to make.

          2. Lucyfer*

            As someone who has been in multiple situations where pepper spray was discharged, what people who have never been around it don’t understand: it can irritate or disable everyone in the vicinity.

            It’s not a precise weapon.

            It’s not one that should be carried by civilians with no training. Because it is worse than useless.

              1. TL -*

                It is also true of guns. So saying “you shouldn’t carry a gun but get pepper spray instead!” is not a logical statement.

                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  I think the distinction is that the untrained discharge of pepper spray is less likely to kill someone than the untrained discharge of a gun (it can certainly still kill someone, but the probabilities are lower). But that’s not really at issue; my understanding of the question was: what non-lethal protections have you explored/considered? We know OP is pursuing Krav Maga training, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask about other not-inherently-deadly alternatives.

      2. blackcat*

        Yes, this was true when my brother carried a taser (see above). He had a concealed weapons permit and so forth. Part of his taser vs gun decision was specifically in case someone disarmed him and used it against him.

      3. GovWorker*

        Not necessarily true, the employer may not have seen the need or could be in the compliance process now for all you know. The OP should get the employer’s thoughts on the matter and not assume that strict legality makes her having a gun in the workplace OK.

    2. Amy G. Golly*

      On another note, I’m glad you mentioned the “echo chamber” of only talking to people who agree with you (and other people who carry!) about these topics. Thank you for taking the time to listen to the perspectives of others. I know I probably wouldn’t be comfortable working with someone who carried, and it’s not because I don’t understand the principles behind it: I grew up around guns. Your employer and your coworkers deserve to feel safe, too: imagine how they might react if they find out you’ve been carrying all this time and they didn’t know?

    3. Tuckerman*

      Pepper spray can be debilitating to the person spraying it if it ends up in her eyes or she ends up breathing it in. This is a concern especially when walking to her car, because the wind could blow the pepper spray back into her face.

      1. Leatherwings*

        I think it’s disingenuous to argue that pepper spray could be debilitating when we’re comparing it to a gun. Let’s talk about what’s more likely to kill or seriously injure someone.

        1. TL -*

          If you’re using the pepper spray to deter an attacker and you end up debilitated instead of them, that is a serious concern about the efficacy of the weapon you’ve chosen, not a disingenuous argument.

          1. Leatherwings*

            The exact same thing can be said about guns, but it’s often bystanders that are debilitated instead. We’re not talking about pepper spray in a vacuum.

            1. TL -*

              Okay, but if the OP is carrying a gun to prevent harm to her from attackers, pepper spray is very unlikely to effectively serve the same purpose; in fact, it could increase her chances of getting hurt, even if she is properly trained and experienced in how to use it.

              A gun, if she is properly trained and experienced (what constitutes that is a different conversation) will be much more likely to prevent harm to her. Pepper spray isn’t a good alternative to a gun. That doesn’t make carrying a gun the right choice.

              1. Leatherwings*

                Yes, nothing will save the same (potentially lethal) purpose as a gun. That a point in its favor.

                “A gun, if she is properly trained and experienced (what constitutes that is a different conversation) will be much more likely to prevent harm to her”

                is something we likely fundamentally disagree on so no reason to debate it further.

                1. TL -*

                  My point is, an angry, partially pepper-sprayed, aggressive mugger is much more likely to harm a victim, and badly, than a non-pepper-sprayed (or, yes, shot) mugger. Pepper spray can make the OP much more vulnerable to attack if used, even if used properly (the mugger just might have no response and then still be angry and aggressive), and significantly worsen her outcome.

                  So they are not a viable alternative to guns because they will not give the desired outcome the OP is going for with her CCW. You can still argue that the CCW will not give her the desired outcome, absolutely, but you can’t argue she should carry pepper spray instead.

                2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  TL, all this says to me is that people should evaluate the pros and cons of their choices, but I think others are also saying the magnitude and likelihood of the cons is important when comparing alternatives.

        2. Lucyfer*

          As a former LEO, Tuckerman is right. Pepper spray is worse than useless in a small, contained space. A gun isn’t.

          I think you are actually missing their point.

          That doesn’t mean that carrying a gun is ok in this situation.

          Just this: if you are in your car or an office, pepper spray will take out EVERYONE. Both you and the attacker.

        3. Kyrielle*

          This gets a bit close to the gun control debate again, but the risk that when you use the tool it hurts you *is* higher with pepper spray than with a gun – the wind doesn’t interfere with a bullet. And I say that as someone who really, truly does not want firearms in her workplace.

          (But if they’re here, I hope they’re with responsible concealed-carry folks and I never have to know.)

          1. Leatherwings*

            I’ll just say one more thing and leave it at that – The level of potential “hurt” we’re talking about is so vastly different that it’s laughable to compare them.

            1. TL -*

              Not to the OP, who is the potential victim in this scenario. She has Level of Harm A: attackers aren’t stopped and she is victimized and Level of Harm B: attackers are stopped and she is not victimized.

              1. Leatherwings*

                Yes, but the issue is that OP has unilaterally made that choice for everyone she’s around by not telling them. She’s free to make that choice for herself. I don’t think it’s right for her to make that choice for her coworkers.

              2. Amy G. Golly*

                In the actual scenario, there are multiple potential victims aside from the OP and an attacker: there is anyone else who happens to be around when the weapon is purposefully or mistakenly discharged. I was weighing the possibility of anyone being incapacitated with pepper spray against the possibility of anyone being shot. Generally speaking, I consider the consequences of the latter to be much more severe than the consequences of the former.

                That said, this argument does answer my original question, and I’m now convinced that the OP should not be carrying pepper spray without informing her boss and coworkers, either.

                1. TL -*

                  Consider this scenario: OP is mugged. She pulls out the pepper spray and fires. The wind blows it back into her face and incapacitates her, but only irritates the mugger. The mugger is now angry and startled so instead of just taking her purse, mugger assaults her as well. She is incapacitated, so she can’t defend herself. (There are a few variations on this but most end up in an escalated situation.) This is fairly likely to happen with pepper spray.

                  With no pepper spray, OP likely loses her purse and gets a few scrapes or bruises if she’s pushed down. Scary, but not terrifying. Or the OP uses her martial arts training and incapacitates the mugger and reduces chances of being both assaulted and mugged.

                  With a gun, the OP is training for a situation where she doesn’t get assaulted or mugged. There are a lot of variations on that, but I think it’s less likely that the OP comes away from that situation harmed then with pepper spray. Much more likely the mugger gets harmed, increased chances of bystanders getting harmed (though in the OP’s situation, sounds like bystanders would be rare).

                  If it were my grandfather – combat experienced expert marksman -, the gun would probably be the best bet for minimizing harm to victim and bystanders. If it were me, no weapon is the safest scenario; I would minimize the harm I incurred and not endanger bystanders or myself by using a gun or pepper spray, respectively.

            2. Tuckerman*

              Women are targeted for worse crimes than muggings, if we’re talking about the potential “hurt.” This is not just a matter of, “oh well, I got pepper spray in my face and got mugged.”
              We’re talking about horrific crimes that occur when women are isolated, targeted, overpowered. If OP is using a gun to defend herself, that means it’s likely nobody else is around. So there is minimal risk to others.
              I’ve looked for neutral source statistics on bystander injuries due to accidental discharge, and haven’t found much (in the short time I had to look). But if OP hasn’t looked into situations that increase the likelihood of an accidental discharge, it would be good idea.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                We are going way off topic into a debate on self defense and weapons choices.

        4. paul*

          our gusty west Texas winds won’t blow a bullet back on me at self defense ranges. They will do that to peppery spray (ask me how I know!).

          1. Leatherwings*

            1) We’re not talking about self-defense ranges. We’re talking about a parking garage and office.
            2) You’ve had pepper spray to the face and survived. Accidentally discharged guns don’t quite have the same survival rate so that’s an utterly ridiculous comparison.

            1. notgiven*

              Self defense ranges pertain to distance, not location. Most handgun shootings take place within 3-7 feet.

  11. Imaginary Number*

    The first lesson they teach you in combatives is that the winner of any fight is nearly always person whose buddy shows up first. The best defense is avoiding going anywhere alone, when possible.

    1. Imaginary Number*

      I want to clarify that I’m not saying “don’t go anywhere alone.” Just that it’s the best defense against any sort of attack, if that’s a concern.

    2. Lucyfer*

      “The first lesson they teach you in combatives is that the winner of any fight is nearly always person whose buddy shows up first. The best defense is avoiding going anywhere alone, when possible.

      Really, the first lesson I was taught as an LEO was that the “winner” was the person who was injured less or could get away.

      OP isn’t trying to hurt or kill another person, just trying to prevent injury to herself. These are two very, very different things.

      1. STX*

        I was taught that the only purpose of a gun is to hurt or kill, it is not a threat or deterrent. This was taught to me by my card-carrying NRA grandfather. If the OP is carrying a gun, I would hope she is prepared to kill.

        1. the_scientist*

          Indeed. Even if OP is only wanting to protect herself, she is carrying a weapon. Which, by definition, is designed to hurt/kill. That is literally the outcome for which a gun was designed.

            1. the gold digger*

              I strongly support the 2nd amendment, as did my father, who was a career air force officer who served in Vietnam. He would not let my siblings and me have toy guys. “The only purpose of a gun,” he said, “is to kill someone.”

              (That said, I would have no problems killing someone who was trying to hurt me. Better tried by 12 than lowered by six, as they say.)

              1. Czhorat*

                I detest that aphorism.

                “Better be tried by twelve than lowered by six” assumes that your life is worth more than that of others and that the certainty of causing a death is a better outcome than the potential of your own.

                This is veering off, but it’s the kind of thinking that gets cops acquited of shooting unarmed men because they “feared for their lives”.

                1. A Cita*

                  This is similar to the point Rhys made above:
                  The punishment for mugging somebody should not be death but it can end up that way if your default self-protection is carrying a gun

                  Which is the OPs scenario, which is even more poignant.

                  I could never carry because I’m pretty unlikely to ever be capable of using deadly force. And if the OP isn’t, if she hesitates or shoots to “wound,” there’s a nonzero chance she’ll miss her target and end up seriously hurting someone else given the range that bullets can travel.

                  So is the OP prepared to sentence someone to death for a mugging?

                2. N.J.*

                  This is going deeper into your tangent and probably isn’t a good idea for me to debate, but here it is. I hate guns, detest them in most situations. But your position that this aphorism is bad because it places the value of your life (the general you) over the lives of others is…unrealistic. My life, as an individual, a person, with a brain, a soul, IS more important than others if it is a direct choice between my life and someone else’s. I’m not disagreeing with your statement that causing certain death to someone else isn’t an equal worth or comparison to uncertain harm to yourself. I agree with that. But we get one life, when it is done, there is no coming back. If a situation caused me to reasonably think that it was either my life or someone else’s, my life wins. I think where this can get tricky is in interpreting what a reasonable my life vs. someone else’s life scenario looks like. But the basic belief that my life is my life and therefore valuable, most valuable, to me is neither s crazy one nor a bad one.

                3. catsAreCool*

                  Isn’t the life of a potential innocent victim just a little more important than the life of an attacker/killer?

                4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  I hate the aphorism, too, for similar reasons.

                  CatsAreCool, I’m not sure it makes sense to open an ethical debate on whose lives have more/less relative value.

              2. spocklady*

                I’m actually going to agree with the gold digger, for a couple of reasons.

                First — I used to know somebody who was killed by a mugger. I forget what the person stole, but people who knew him well believed he would absolutely have given whatever was wanted to the thief/killer if he had an option (he was on the phone when it happened so it’s clear he wasn’t offered the “your money or your life” option). So I just wanted to point out that there are times when “mugging” is only part of what happens and no amount of willingness to give up your stuff is necessarily going to help you.

                Second, and building off that — in those circumstances, I think it’s ok to say I will decide that my life is worth more to me than the life of someone trying to kill me. I had to do a lot of thinking about this, and I understand that not everyone will come to this conclusion. But I also don’t think it’s fundamentally unreasonable.

                Just wanted to point that out because I think we’re all assuming a lot about what “mugging” entails, and what order things can happen in. Accosting somebody for their wallet is really different in many respects than killing somebody and then grabbing some of their stuff, but I think it’s possible we’re conflating the two (or the possibility of one turning into the other).

            2. SimonTheGreyWarden*

              As a kid I liked playing Wild West with toy guns, and my grandpa – a WWII vet – had a very strict law that none of us cousins could ever point even a toy gun at one another, because you *never* aim a gun at anything you don’t intend to kill; that was his teaching and his rule.

      2. LBK*

        OP isn’t trying to hurt or kill another person, just trying to prevent injury to herself.

        Prevent injury…by hurting or killing another person. I’m assuming she doesn’t carry it around unloaded.

          1. Anna*

            I’m not entirely sure what is being argued here. If you or me or anyone here is attacked, they are most likely going to fight for their lives, and that may mean hurting or killing the attacker. What exactly is your argument?

            1. Leatherwings*

              Mine? On this particular thread? That there’s absolutely no difference between “preventing injury to oneself” and “hurting or killing another person” in this context. That guns hurt or kill people, and the distinction made above between the two doesn’t practically make any difference.

              Actually, if I’m mugged I’m probably not going to fight/attack/kill my attacker. I’ll probably hand them my stuff and run or follow instructions. Or hit them in the groin or something. Far cry from shooting a bullet.

              1. Czhorat*

                Carrying a gun is making the choice that a conflict can be escalated to lethal force. You are deciding that you’re willing to kill somebody.

                There are very, very few “kill or be killed” scenarios. Many more in which both sides of a conflict would be alive afterwards were there no gun.

  12. bohtie*

    “disappointed” is definitely the right choice of words here, I think.

    OP, I know you’re doing it for you, but the decision to tell your manager isn’t about you, it’s about the consent and safety of everyone around you.

    To use myself as an example (since it’s the one I know best, hey!), I have PTSD and am TERRIFIED of guns. (Heck, I know many people who are very afraid of guns who have no traumatic reason for it and that’s equally legit.) If I found out by accident that one of my coworkers was secretly carrying, I would genuinely have a panic attack and not be able to work anywhere near that person, and probably not be able to work at all for quite a while. The process of reading the original post freaked me out quite a bit thinking about what I would do if I worked with someone like you (fortunately I live in a state with VERY strict weapons control of all kinds [please don’t take this as a political statement, i mean ‘fortunately’ as in ‘fortunately for my personal psychological health]).

    If that person came to me and said, “Hey, I have a permit and I feel safer carrying,” or my manager told me that one of my coworkers was doing so, it would still be scary, but at least I’d be able to come to grips with it on my own terms and ask questions, like “what safety precautions is OP taking to make sure they don’t Plaxico Burress themselves during the quarterly teapot conference?” or, for example, request that you not bring it into my personal office if we have a meeting or something like that.

    1. Lovemyjob...truly!!*

      Agreed. I have very strong opinions on gun control and their proximity to being around me due to my own trauma with guns. If I found out that a co-worker was carrying a concealed firearm (no matter how legal) while at work I would not feel safe there anymore. I took a class with a teacher in high school who, on the first day, told a story about how he wore a concealed firearm while on trips with his family. Once the class was over immediately transferred out of his class, I was that freaked out. I could never separate the man and the weapon in my head. (In fact, as I write this, I cannot help picturing how he had pantomimed pulling out a gun and aiming it at a student for the story he told…it was – and still is – terrifying to me!)
      Luckily…the field in which I work doesn’t allow for weapons in the workplace so this isn’t a worry of mine currently. I would have to re-evaluate my position here if that policy changed.

  13. Tomato Frog*

    Ha, I remember skipping over the comments when this was posted originally! And that was back when I hardly skipped over any AAM comment sections. Thanks for updating, OP. I’m glad to hear you found some constructive ways to deal with the danger and your feelings of being in danger. High kicks are an objective good.

  14. Jialis*

    I agree with posters that others should have the right to know. Now, I’m in Canada, so I get that the perspectives are totally different, but we have guns safely stored in our home (law enforcement) and make sure that visitors are aware, especially the parents of children’s friends. I feel people have the right to know when they are expected to be in a setting with firearms around them. I really can’t accept the idea of not letting a person decide if they are comfortable or not with that. I think the answer is yes, a lot of people are NOT comfortable with that, and that’s why you are choosing to deny them the right to speak up about that. Hmm… I don’t think the OP was looking for anything but confirmation of their own view here.

    1. the_scientist*

      I think that the OP did really take Alison’s word to heart, but I feel a bit bad for the OP that she perceives the world to be such a dangerous place that she needs a loaded gun on her person while at work. And I have worked alone a fair bit! I’m also Canadian, and I get that I’m coming at this from a wildly different perspective but I agree with you that I absolutely cannot accept the idea of not letting other people decide what they are comfortable with. Yes, concealed carry is legal, OP has a permit, etc. but you’re still taking away the agency of your coworkers to know that there is a loaded gun in their vicinity and to make decisions about whether they are or are not comfortable with that and that’s what I can’t abide by.

      FTR my parents had friends who were into hunting and kept guns in their house. They were unloaded and kept in a locked cabinet with the ammunition stored elsewhere (I never saw them). They STILL told my parents about that before they went over and brought us over for the first time so my parents could make a decision about what they were comfortable with.

      1. CanCan*

        (Also a Canadian here.) I’m not sure I agree with you two. We have a hunting rifle in the house (unloaded, in a locked safe in the “utility” section of the basement, where no guests are permitted go), so should we be warning all visitors to the house? Why, – because a gun is potentially dangerous? There may be lots of things potentially dangerous in other people’s houses that they don’t warn us about, – prescription drugs (which kill more people than guns), household cleaners, nuts and other allergens that can be deadly to some people.

        1. the_scientist*

          Well, by not permitting your guests to go into where your guns are stored, you’ve added an additional layer of safety/protection, which to me is all the warning is, really. It’s a courtesy; an additional piece of information.

          I think the comparison to cleaning supplies, prescription drugs, allergens, etc. is disingenuous, personally, because of the relative level of danger and exposure. Yes, more people in Canada die per year due to prescription medications, but that is because prescription medications are more widely available than firearms. It’s all about relative exposure.

          Also, yes, actually, I would warn people coming over about potential allergens. Or at least, if I was preparing food for them I’d ask if they had any allergies I needed to know about.

        2. Kate*

          Late to the party but also Canadian here, I think the real difference is that a child growing up in a household with no guns would not understand that they aren’t the toys that they see in the stores or the things that don’t really* kill the actors on the tv. My parents child-proofed the house for medications and cleaning products, but they also provided education and guidance on the consequences of trying to put a fork in the socket. But in a house with no guns we didn’t get any gun-safety training/information as kids and as a parent now I’d be more appreciative to have another parent let me know there was a potential hazard in their home that I hadn’t prepared my child for that I need to be aware of.

          I have a friend with a (very well trained and normally non-agressive but scary looking) Rotweiller and they always warn new acquaintances about him and keep him in another room if people are not comfortable with large dogs. They *always* keep him in a different room when there is a child under 6 years old because kids that age are unpredictable and dogs are instinctive, and that can be a bad combination for a breed with a lot of baggage on them already… better to have that extra level to keep everyone safe.

          tldr: I see this in pretty much the same way as letting people know there’s a large dog with big teeth in the house that they were unaware of.

          *kids know it’s acting from a super early age, I didn’t expect it, but crying over a sad movie it’s weird to have a four year old tell you it’s ok because “he’s not really dead, it’s all pretend”.

      2. catsAreCool*

        Are you sure the OP’s world (at least in the parking lot after dark) isn’t dangerous? The Gift of Fear talks about paying attention to your fears, and I keep seeing people on this thread discounting what the OP has said.

        1. spocklady*

          I very much agree. Relatedly, I was actually assuming OP definitely HAS talked to her boss/office about improving security — for someone who seemed really introspective in this post, it would be really strange for her not to try that first.

          I mean, it’s always worth re-suggesting, but it’s hard to imagine someone willing to go to the lengths of preparedness she mentions (staying up-to-date with gun training AND starting to take krav maga — these are not necessarily cheap activities) wouldn’t also start by asking her job to improve its security measures.

    2. LBK*

      Yeah, I tend to agree with your last point – I think the OP doesn’t want to say anything because she knows exactly what the answer is going to be, and she’d rather try to get away with it as long as she can.

      I think you can only play that game when the consequences of someone finding out (especially if they find out you’ve been doing it for a long time without telling anyone) aren’t that severe and basically don’t amount to anything more than them just telling you to stop. In this case, do you really want to play that game? Because I suspect the consequences could be much more severe – depending on the environment of the office, I might genuinely consider firing someone for carrying without notifying me, as long as it was within the letter of the law. It’s just such a severe breach of trust and example of poor judgment to basically tell me you didn’t think I might want to know.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        That actually raises an interesting question to me, and one that I suspect varies widely based on state: in a state where concealed-carry is legal and where a business has to post signs in order to forbid it, would it be legal to fire someone for concealed-carry (assuming you didn’t have signs posted)? It’s legal to carry under that circumstance, but then, you can get fired for all kinds of legal things–drinking alcohol, wearing a green shirt, making what your boss thought was a funny face at him one time–so on the face of it, I would think yes, they could fire you if you revealed that you were carrying, even if it was legal to do so. But there are so many fraught issues and weirdly specific state laws around gun ownership that I would not be surprised to find out that there were laws preventing people from being fired for carrying weapons.

        1. LBK*

          My only guess is that you could argue protection under 2A, and that firing someone for exercising a Constitutional right without following the steps required to make someone waive that right would be illegal. But that’s total speculation as I know very little about this area of the law, so it could very well fall under standard at-will laws.

          1. Natalie*

            I don’t see how the 2nd Amendment is at all an issue. Everyone who decides to get all racist on the internet is exercising their First Amendment rights, and yet they routinely get fired.

            1. Turtle Candle*

              As I understand it (I am not a lawyer! and I honestly don’t have a clue, which is why I asked, so take this with a grain of salt) the reason that 1st Amendment and 2nd Amendment rights are often treated differently is that the 1st Amendment says “Congress shall make no law” (but your boss sure can), but the 2nd Amendment says that the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed” (and does not specify by whom it shall not be infringed). And obviously in court much can be made of the difference.

              But as I say, I have no idea how that has actually worked itself out in law, and I suspect it varies a ton by state.

              1. Natalie*

                Ah, sure, I can see how that would change the way the courts would apply it. I suspect it’s a moot point anyway since CC laws often address these issues directly, so OP would have to look to their state.

              2. Turanga Leela*

                I am a lawyer, although I don’t specialize in 2nd Amendment stuff, and the “make no law” versus “shall not be infringed” language does not make a difference. To whatever extent you are protected from being fired for concealed carrying, it’s because of state laws affirmatively protecting gun rights, not because of the federal Constitution. That protection is going to vary from state to state.

                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  Agreed. The 2a is about your relationship to the state/government, not to your employer (this is true for all the individual constitutional rights). In many states it is lawful to ban weapons on premises unless there’s a state law that provides otherwise. So basically, this isn’t a constitutional rights issue, it’s a state law/regulation issue.

            2. LBK*

              Like I said, I’m not an expert, but 2A and related local laws are subject to particular court decisions that don’t apply the same way to 1A. For instance, in many states there are specific legally-defined steps you have to take to ban guns from a building, but I don’t know what constitutes violating those statutes – is it illegal to levy consequences against someone who violates a ban when you haven’t followed the letter of the law to enforce that ban?

              There’s more “it’s illegal to not allow this unless you do it in a certain way” rules with 2A than there are with 1A, where you have a very broad range of what kind of speech you have the discretion to ban and punish at a private organization, barring notable exceptions like the NLRA protecting discussion of pay and work conditions.

            3. Jenbug*

              The 1st Amendment protects you from government censorship, not private entities.

              But the 2nd Amendment doesn’t grant every person the right to carry any weapon anywhere they want, so I don’t think it would be applicable.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I posted this above: I don’t know the law in this area so I’m just speculating, but generally when a behavior is specifically protected by law (as it is in this case — in most states, you can carry as long as the employer hasn’t posted signs to the contrary), employers can’t fire you for engaging in that specifically protected behavior. I don’t know if that applies here or not, but that’s the typical pattern with stuff where laws have gone out of their way to say “this is allowed unless X.”

            1. paul*

              No, firearms ownership is not protected from employer retaliation in most states. Theoretically, my employer could can me tomorrow because my boss saw me buying ammo at the store (and I did run into my immediate supervisor while buying some 20 gauge shells last weekend).

              Now, state by state, things vary wildly on how you mark a zone as legally gun free so that there would be criminal penalties for carrying in that area; in Texas (my state) you have to post fairly conspicuous and well defined signage (google Texas 30.06 for the exact thing), and I carry into an area with those I’m in legal trouble. Most, if not all, states that allow CCW also allow property owners to prohibit carry on their premises in some way that incurs criminal penalties if ignored.

              Even if it’s legal though, a company can prohibit on the clock carry and fire you for having guns while at work, but you wouldn’t be arrested or fined over it.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                The issue, though, is that 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.

                1. paul*

                  Yes, if you want to ban them in such a way that it carries criminal penalties if you’re caught carrying; but just banning them from work and making it a firing offense, with no court involvement? That isn’t the case in TX, OK, NM, or CO at least (which are all the states I regularly go to). You can fire someone for having a gun on your premise without those signs, but they won’t be subject to arrest for it. And those signs apply to *everyone*, not just employees. My workplace has 30.06 and 30.07 signage up; if you carry into here, your’e subject to arrest regardless of if you’re an employee or not.

                  Now, a fair number of CHL issuing states have “parking lot laws”; basically they can’t ban employees from leaving a gun in their car while they’re at work.

                2. Not So NewReader*

                  @Paul, yes I believe in NY you can get arrested if you carry in a posted building. But in many cases the signs are directed at the public for [reasons].
                  However the signs are posted near the door and throughout, so a person who was carrying a firearm would notice the signs and could quietly leave the building.

                3. LBK*

                  Gotcha – so the absence of proper signage just prevents legal recourse from the owners of the property (eg having the person arrested), but it doesn’t prevent then from levying other consequences, like firing the employee.

                4. Erin*

                  I am a CPL holder, my husband is a certified NRA instructor and he says an employer has to clearly tell you, A notice in the employee handbook is what my and most employers use. The clear obvious posting are for businesses that are open for the public that don’t want weapons on the premises for anyone else. For example the jewelry store near my work has it clearly posted by the hours of operations on their door. My work says I can’t carry at work, it says nothing if a customer is carrying concealed. So I can’t carry into work, but they can’t do anything if my husband walks in carrying concealed. This is for Michigan, other states may have different laws.

          3. paul*

            Firearms owners aren’t a protected class (which is honestly a real reason for the OP not to let her work know IMO).

        2. PK*

          Considering that you can fire for just about any reason, I don’t think there’s any difference here. I’m not a lawyer though.

        3. Lucyfer*

          Depends on the state. Plus, you’d also have to convince a jury.

          The company won’t want the risk of losing. The individual would rather not have their name plastered about.,

          Finally, the bad PR for all involved means there would be either a settlement or a severance.

          This is simply too divisive an issue for anyone to want to litigate this to the full extent of the law publicly.

          1. Turtle Candle*

            Oh yeah, I don’t disagree that the vast majority of people and companies wouldn’t want to be the test case. I was just curious what the laws themselves might say. (Plenty of things that have established case law are still ‘not worth prosecuting’ for most people.)

          2. Czhorat*

            If it’s an at-will state, then you’re likely out of luck. If there’s no rule posted or stated, I’d be surprised if an employee was fired with no warning unless it was very obvious that it was unsafe in their position [ie, a daycare worker around kids. You catch them carrying, they’re gone.]

  15. Anon This Time*

    My company’s stats:
    Number of people who have shot themselves in the company parking lot via accidental discharge: 1.
    Number of people who have deterred a crime in the company parking lot with a weapon: 0.

    The person involved had safely used firearms for sport for decades and thought of themselves as a very safe concealed carrier. If a coworker was concealed carrying, I would want to know that they had passed a safety course and were approved by HR.

    1. Snorks*

      I could interpret those statistics and say that criminals now know that people in that company carry weapons, so that one shot deterred all crime.

  16. Robert Bobby*

    I’m new to this site so I didn’t comment on the original post but here’s my two cents…
    I think your employer needs to know that one of their employees feels so unsafe walking to/from their building. I would start with a conversation with your employer about security. Then if they blow off your safety concerns or don’t seem willing to address it, you tell them that you will be addressing it yourself by carrying a concealed weapon.

    1. Lemon Zinger*

      This was my first thought! If OP doesn’t feel safe in/around the building, why on earth wouldn’t she tell her supervisors? She needs to give her employer a chance to improve things.

    2. Candy*

      Yes, exactly. If the security in their building is lackluster and the parking area/walk to the building isn’t safe then why aren’t they bringing their concerns up to their Health & Safety or HR departments?

      My university, for example, has a safewalk program for staff and students where Security will walk you to your car or bus stop.

      Another example: the area around the train station by my old house was dimly lit and after a few muggings I wrote letters to both the City and my city’s transit company complaining about the lack of safety, muggings, and general dumping of mattresses and things around the station. And after about six months they actually installed a new street light!

      Surely the OP has more options than carrying a gun to work?

  17. Engineer Girl*

    One thing to consider – many times “official” martial arts training doesn’t help in a mugging situation.
    Many of the women where I work took a self defense class. There were martial arts parts to it but also other elements that were more street oriented. The psychology aspect, things to do to look less of a target, how to yell out.
    One of the best things I learned was to yell out “I don’t know you! Help!”. This lets others know that you aren’t two friends fooling around.
    You may want to look at that as an alternative or in addition to the martial arts training. Maybe even arrange for a group class with your coworkers?

        1. Hrovitnir*

          Krav maga out of Israel tends to be rather different to what the armed forces learn there, though most clubs would argue otherwise. Also, I pretty strongly believe that most martial arts training will help as far as feeling more confident (which is really great for your quality of life – and potentially makes you a less attractive target) and not much else, because the experience of being attacked is not easy to simulate.

          I think it is extremely dependent on the person, and certainly krav maga has some great practical stuff in it for real life situations, but I think people over-estimate how much training you’d need to do to be in any way really prepared; and under-estimate how much the fight-or-flight reaction wrecks your brain. Hell, reactions that are useful when attacked are deeply unhelpful in real life, and hypervigilance is a real problem in people with PTSD.

          Part of the reason I feel this way is from experiencing and seeing how much being punched in the face affects you when you’re not used to it. You can think you’re pretty tough, and be good at hitting pads, but the first time you’re hit in the head in sparring pretty much everyone deals very badly, because it’s disorientating as hell and the physiological response is very unhelpful. This does make me feel that learning to be comfortable being hit moderately hard is useful, but many people would not be at all OK with that.

    1. Omgomgomgomg*

      Lol, the best way I have gotten creeps to leave me alone on the street is to get loud and not back down. I think there’s something about watching a 5’4″ women scream her head off that is very unnerving to the types of dudes who behave in less than appropriate ways to strangers.

    2. paul*

      Yep. I have done MMA as a hobby; I have also been assaulted. The way I protected myself when that happened vs the way I fought in a sparring match in the gym were *very* dissimilar.

    3. Amadeo*

      And see, I was told never to shout ‘help’ or ‘rape’ but to use ‘fire!’. Perhaps not in a crowded theater, but if I was out on the street I could see how it would draw a crowd of witnesses.

      1. EmKay*

        I was also taught to yell fire. And if I absolutely had to defend myself physically, go for the face, eyes, or throat.

  18. Bend & Snap*

    Honestly knowing my coworker was carrying a gun would make me escalate and then if there was no resolution, quit.

    1. Roscoe*

      So basically your option would be that you don’t give a damn about their feelings of safety, and give an ultimatum?

      1. Bend & Snap*

        That’s not an ultimatum. That’s making a decision about my own comfort working in an environment that includes guns.

        The conversation with HR is expressing concern and learning what the policy is. If the policy is yay guns, I’m out. That’s very different than “ban guns or I’m quitting.”

        Just as the OP is making choices for her feelings of safety, her coworkers deserve the information to make choices for theirs.

        1. catsAreCool*

          For me, it would depend on how well I knew the OP and whether I felt the OP personally was the kind of person who would take the classes, get the practice, and generally had the kind of stability to deal with having a gun.

      2. Charlie*

        So basically OP’s option is that she doesn’t give a damn about anybody’s feelings of safety but her own, and present a fait accompli?

        1. Charlie*

          And since I can’t edit that, a disclaimer: I’m casting doubt on your logic, not on OP’s motivations. I don’t think she doesn’t give a damn, but I do think your characterization here is completely off base – she’s not the only person whose feelings of safety are relevant here.

      3. Leatherwings*

        If people around me are carrying, that affects MY feelings of safety. Why is OP allowed to make a choice regarding how to respond (that IMO affects others), but Bend & Snap and I are not allowed to make a choice regarding how to respond (that affects no one but ourselves)? That logically doesn’t follow.

      4. Turtle Candle*

        I think it is entirely fair to say that whether a workplace allows weapons (concealed or otherwise) is an important piece of information that people may want to have when deciding to remain in that workplace. Entirely apart from the gun aspect, I don’t think it’s particularly reasonable to tell someone what their dealbreakers ought to be. (And on the flip side, if the LW got found out and was told ‘you can’t bring your gun anymore’ and the signs went up to that effect, it would also be reasonable for them to consider it a dealbreaker and start looking.)

        And yes, I’d feel the same way if the question was about Beer Fridays or the company privacy policy or something else less politically hot-button.

        1. blackcat*

          Or the dog issue, which has come up before. You don’t want to hire people without making it clear that you have an office full of dogs.

      5. Trout 'Waver*

        You have to consider everyone’s safety. Guns are more likely to injure or kill the gun owner or someone he cares about than they are likely to be used in stopping a crime. The CDC stats are quite clear on that.

        1. Leatherwings*

          Amen. Statistically speaking, it’s far more dangerous to be around a gun than to not be around a gun.

  19. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP, thanks so much for following up, and I’m glad you’re pursuing alternative methods of self defense given the practical risks/limitations of firearms in workplaces.

    I want to gently urge you to rethink talking to your employer about carrying on days when you’re alone in the office or on weekends. The reason I bring this up is because it can actually have a significant impact on your workplace’s premises and workers’ comp insurance, and it could negate coverage if something were to happen to you or to a coworker. I also wondered—have there been additional security concerns since 2014, when your letter was originally published? I guess I’m wondering if your employer has failed to step up on security. [apologies if these concerns were raised on the original thread—I read through the comments, but it was very weedy, and I may have missed something vital.]

  20. Lady Phoenix*

    My stance on guns is . . . pretty negative (allowing hunting guns, but dispise people able to get assault rifles and stuff ).

    HOWEVER, in your case, I feel that you do have the right to carry your weapon. I believe a company is heavily responsible for the safety and security of their clients AND workers, which means making sure they can all safely work and reach their vehicles without being attacked. If a company fails them–and shame on them if they do–then you are free to take safety precautions.

    However HOWEVER, I still think your coworkers have the right to know. Guns are still dangerous compared to pepper spray. And the coworkers should have the knowledge and trust to know that you:
    A) Are a responsible weapons owner
    B) Are carrying your gun
    C) Are storing the gun safely to prevent it from misfiring or being stolen
    That way, you can build some trust between you and your coworkers. It will be hard as hell to explain to them that you’ve been bringing your weapon if they happen to stumble upon it — and it sure as hell will be hard to regain their trust if they do.

  21. Macedon*

    Your boss should know. And if they decide to allow concealed carrying, they should publicise that to their other employees and possibly even state they have one concealed carrier in the building (without naming you). We all enter certain spaces with an understanding that we will be exposed to guns for extended periods of time (airports, so on). Work areas in most places do not fall in this category. You most give your coworkers the chance to state and act on any discomfort caused by their exposure.

  22. Roscoe*

    I actually think you are being very thoughtful on how you are handling this. While I can understand people saying that they think that if the person next to them is carrying, they have the right to know (although that really does negate the whole “concealed” part of the law), if no one else is there when she is carrying, I don’t think it matters. Why should I care that someone who works a completely different shift than me has a gun? If they do feel they need that to feel safe, am I going to now say they must either stop, be fired, or I’ll quit? That seems just excessive.

    1. Leatherwings*

      That seems excessive to you, but maybe not to others. You can feel free to stay in a workplace that allows that. Me? I’ll choose to work somewhere else and I don’t think you get to dictate whether that’s excessive or not.

      1. paul*

        My understanding from the OP is that her workplace does *not* prohibit it, but she just hasn’t drawn attention to that. So in that case, if you don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t’ prohibit weapons, don’t work for that one. But a concealed carry holder’s under no obligation to shout it out to all and sundry (it rather defeats the concealed part of it). Frankly, a large part of the reason I opt for concealed is people with reactions like yours; you don’t know, so you don’t get upset, and I don’t have to deal with it.

        1. Leatherwings*

          Well she’s not under a legal obligation, as Alison thoroughly covered in the original letter and comments here. But a good portion of the 100+ posts here are arguing that it *is* a moral obligation to let coworkers/managers know.
          Guns are dangerous. I morally object to anyone who puts me in the same room as one without letting me know so I can remove myself just so they don’t have to “deal” with my reaction and I don’t get upset. I’d rather be upset than dead, thanks.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I thought the issue was that OP wasn’t aware of a policy re: weapons at her workplace, not that they don’t prohibit firearms. A lot of workplaces don’t have weapons policies b/c they assume people won’t bring weapons to work, but if faced with a situation in which an employee carried, they might tell the OP that doing so is inappropriate or not allowed (I see this fairly often with nonprofits when we review their premises insurance policies). My impression was that OP was avoiding talking to her manager b/c she doesn’t want to be told no.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I will actually agree with your last claim, but if you amend the question to “Either the company tells them to stop or I quit” – then I think that’s reasonable, especially if it’s not given as a threat but simply enacted.

      1. NW Mossy*

        It’s fundamental to the concept of at-will employment, really. We talk a lot about “can someone get fired for X?” and the answer is almost always yes, but we talk rather less about the flip side that you can quit for basically any reason too. You don’t have to justify why you’re quitting or only quit for objectively “good reasons.” If being in an environment where concealed weapons are in play is troubling to you, you’re permitted to quit over that, even if someone else thinks you’re being ridiculous. Another person’s quality assessment of your reasons doesn’t really matter.

    3. LBK*

      Well, considering it’s a concealed weapon (as you emphasize), I’d have a hard time trusting that they were genuinely only carrying it when they were alone and not all the time (because again, as you said, it’s concealed, so how would I know?).

      1. Anon for this*


        I lost relatives to gun violence and two of my high school classmates died in a shooting. I don’t want to be surprised by a gun. I’m not completely against them, mind. There are safe gun owners. I just want to know enough to decide whether I want to be around or not.

        1. Anon for this*

          This was unclear. The shooting was not at my high school; it happened elsewhere after they and I had graduated.

    4. eee*

      “why should I care that someone who works a completely different shift than me has a gun?”: As a practical safety concern. Well, in my case, if I left something at work and let myself into the building late at night to retrieve it, I would definitely want to know that a co-worker who worked that shift was concealed carry because they were worried their workplace was unsafe so I could take measures to ensure my safety! Such as loudly announcing “Hello, it’s X, I’m letting myself in to get my phone!” or taking out my headphones to ensure I didn’t not hear a scared co-worker’s demand that I put my hands in the air. Or I would just wait until the next day. Whereas now, assuming that none of my co-worker are concealed carry (even though there was a break in a year ago!) I would just come in whenever, use my keys as I’m allowed to, pop into my office, and grab my things. I probably wouldn’t even turn on the hall lights, just use a flashlight or something to light my way.

      1. Anon for this*

        Ok, I have to say, you’d rather carry a flashlight in the dark like a felon than flip a switch? Your credibility is a little thin here. If you don’t like guns just say so, but don’t make up scenarios to prove a nonexistent point.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          That’s an unfair/attacking comment, and it’s not very nice.

          There are plenty of workplaces where it could make sense to use your flashlight instead of turning on the lights (often for security reasons), and doing so doesn’t make you look “like a felon.” It might seem unusual in your experience, but that doesn’t disqualify the comment or nullify its point.

        2. Flashlight Felon*

          I am baffled by this comment. The point is that if someone is so afraid for their safety that they need to carry a weapon to the office, and you are going to pop by the office unexpectedly, which may surprise or frighten them, it’d be nice to know they’re armed so you can plan accordingly to minimize their surprise/fear. Hardly “nonexistent” and both for the benefit of the surprise visitor and the off-hours worker.

          And I guess some people just live with way more conveniently placed light switches than I do, but, yes, I’d rather flip on my phone flashlight in the dark than walk across the entire, cavernous room off which my office is located to turn on the lights, walk all the way back, get the one thing that I need out of my desk, walk all the way back over and turn the lights off, and then walk back to the door. And, since the flashlight is already on, 50/50 as to whether I bother with the office lights for a quick grab. Call me lazy, compare me to a criminal, but I do it and do it often. I’ve seen my coworkers do the same, so it’s not just me. Same thing at home — whoever designed my house made our lighting way more elaborate and inconveniently placed than it needs to be (one of the lights in the family room is on a switch in the foyer, which is not even on the same level), so I do final door/window/pet/kid checks via phone flashlight as does my spouse.

          Now, I have a coworker who used to lurk in our office space in the dark, and that did creep people out to the point we asked that person to stop. But they were sitting at their desk for long periods of time lit only by the computer screen, not just swinging by to grab a forgotten phone/wallet/etc.

  23. Beancounter Eric*

    Since a) you have a CCW, and b) there is no prohibition by your company, big deal.

    If you are brandishing the weapon in the office, big problem. Otherwise, why should I care?

    And if I found out a co-worker was carrying, I would probably ask what do you have, what caliber, and where do you shoot?

  24. Sunflower*

    Not trying to be snarky here but I am curious how many people are aware of their offices/company’s stance on concealed weapons in the office? I’m just wondering if folks are aware that people, unless they are in a gun free zone, are probably carrying around them right now and they don’t know.

    1. Leatherwings*

      I can obviously only speak for myself, but my workplace has an explicit no weapons policy, and the city I live in has much stricter regulations on concealed carry. I would wager that this is highly location-dependent.

      1. Lucyfer*

        Where I live now, there are areas that are open carry. That’s a lot more dangerous and scary.

        If you “keep it in your pants” and I don’t see it, I don’t even know it’s there.

        1. Leatherwings*

          It’s nice that some people feel ignorance is bliss. I just don’t personally think that way and I know others feel the same.

          1. Anna*

            I don’t think this is at all the same as ignorant is bliss. It is literally none of your business if the person sitting next to you is concealed carrying. Do you expect them to get in line behind you at the grocery store and announce to the people around them that they have a legally sanctioned weapon on their person?

            1. CS Rep by Day, Writer by Night*

              My safety is absolutely my business, and someone being around me with a gun compromises my safety. Their opinion that gun makes them feel safer doesn’t trump my opinion that not being around someone carrying a gun makes me feel safer. This is why I specifically avoid establishments that don’t prohibit guns on their property.

        2. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night*

          Yep, which means I can’t take steps to be as far away as possible from you.

        3. the_scientist*

          See, I actually feel the opposite. I’d be likely to leave a restaurant/bar/whatever if I happened to notice someone openly carrying a weapon. I don’t live in a place where it’s allowed so it’s simply not something I’m comfortable with, and having that information empowers me to make a decision, rather than let someone else make that decision for me.

          1. Leatherwings*

            Exactly. I don’t understand why “You don’t even know it’s there” is an argument in favor of concealed carry. Yeah, I don’t know it’s there. That’s kind of the exact problem I have with it. I don’t know it’s there until something happens. Pass.

          2. Turtle Candle*

            There was an interesting thing that happened in my city. We’re in a state that permits both concealed and open carry, and those laws expressly prevent individual counties or cities from passing more stringent laws, but the city that I’m in has consistently polled as pretty pro-gun-control. A group of people in the city decided to make some kind of point by going to restaurants while carrying assault rifles, and pointing out that they had every legal right to do so when challenged by the business owners. (Not many times, I think it happened a handful of times. And I’d like to note that yes, I absolutely know that most gun owners aren’t going to carry an assault rifle into a diner just because they can; this was clearly an outlier group.)

            The immediate response was for a huge number of local businesses (and not a few larger chains) that had not up to that point bothered to post ‘no weapons’ notices, did so. It was interesting. Had they stuck to concealed handguns, there would have been far more places they’d been able to continue to legally carry, but seeing the guns front and center like that spurred the businesses to act. (I have actually had people ask, “Was it maybe actually pro-gun-control people doing it on purpose?” but the information doesn’t bear that out in any way; if that was the case, the people involved would have had to have been deep moles for a long time, which seems unlikely.) There were some threats to boycott those businesses, but given the political demographics of the area, I doubt it made a dent.

            Which I suppose, to bring this back around, is why the LW doesn’t want to talk to their boss about this: it is beyond a doubt the case that making gun-carrying clear can result in much stricter rules about it going forward, whereas simply not bringing it up may continue to allow it to slide along under the radar.

      2. Lovemyjob...truly!!*

        My workplace has an explicit no weapons policy as well. It’s posted on every entrance and within the building as well. The state I live in has fairly strict gun control laws. I would leave my job if the policy changed and people were allowed to start carrying concealed firearms. I once had an employee try to attack me on his last day of work because he didn’t like me. I worked in a place that had a no weapons policy and we had to put stuff in a bin and walk through a metal detector to get in the building. Imagine how that would have played out if he had a permit to conceal carry and our office didn’t have a policy in place. I’m sorry, but some of the craziest people I’ve come in contact with have been people I’ve worked with.

    2. Roscoe*

      That’s exactly it. I’m pretty sure my company has NO policy on it. I live in a CCW state. We just moved to a new office building. The last one had a no guns sign outside. This one doesn’t. Someone 5 feet from me could be carrying a gun right now, and I wouldn’t know. And I’m fine with that. Again, concealed weapons are meant to be concealed, ie no one is supposed to know you have it

    3. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night*

      Every place I have worked or interviewed at since my state legalized concealed carry has had signage on the front of the building stating that weapons are not allowed in the building. If I were to not see the signage I would ask during the interview, and if they allowed guns on the premises I would decline to move forward in the interview process if offered the opportunity. As much as I am able to control (no matter how limited that may be) I will always choose to limit the number of guns around me. It’s honestly one of the reasons I don’t go to bars in my area, because most of them allow concealed carry and the though of being in a room of patrons toting gus makes my anxiety go off the charts.

      1. the_scientist*

        +1 I went to DC with some girlfriends a few years ago and we went out to the clubs downtown. At one, a fistfight broke out and we hightailed it out of there so fast we probably left dust clouds in our wake. I actually have no idea what the laws are in DC re: concealed or open carry, but just the thought of being in the vicinity of a firearm in a crowded space full of drunk people was enough.

        Similarly, we went to Atlanta a couple of years before that and on the MARTA it very clearly states that open carry is allowed with a permit. So we didn’t take the MARTA.

        1. VintageLydia*

          DC is very anti-gun, open or concealed. Like, violates the Constitution anti-gun (though the laws still haven’t really changed since that was decided a few years ago.) Not to say there aren’t guns. It does, after all, border VA which is far more lax.

          That said, even without guns, hightailing it when a fight breaks out in a crowded space is a smart thing to do.

          1. paul*

            Yep. The Heller decision specifically struck down a bit of DC’s laws (it was D.C vs. Heller after all) but they’ve been trying to force people to sue over each and every incremental change.

            ALso agreed with hightailing it out once violence starts. I ain’t sticking around to get hurt.

    4. Dynamic Beige*

      Considering I live in Canada and work from home, I can say that there are no guns at my place of work :P I know one of my neighbours has some in a gun safe, but that’s the only one. There are probably others, I don’t know.

      Back in the 90’s I went to the offices of a technology company in Texas. There was a sign on the front door that said guns were not permitted in the building. At first, I thought it was a joke. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen signs like that up here (although some public buildings, like the courthouses, have metal detectors in them). There were also tornado shelter signs, that was also a new one on me.

      1. nonymous*

        When I went to SA,TX last spring, a lot of restaurants had signs that basically said if you are carrying concealed, keep it concealed. Not sure if they were just trying to avoid the potential downstream effect of plopping a weapon down on the dinner table of if there was another motivating factor??

        1. notgiven*

          I think they recently started allowing open carry, there.

          The restaurant probably thinks open carry would make more people feel uncomfortable.

          There is a movement in some states with no law forbidding open carry for large groups to meet in public places or restaurants, all open carrying to publicize that it is legal and normalize it.

    5. Jenbug*

      I am pro stricter gun regulation and I am still baffled by some of these comments. People carry guns all the time everywhere and you very likely never know. You are probably around people carrying every time you go to the grocery store or the movie theater or basically anywhere unless those places are explicitly a no weapons zone.

      1. Roscoe*

        That’s exactly it. The point of concealed carry is that no one is supposed to know. So you are likely around them way more than you know. Are you going to not go to any store that doesn’t blatantly forbid it?

        1. Leatherwings*

          That’s only true in some areas, though. But besides that, there are a few different reasons this logic makes no sense to me.
          First, there just *is* a fundamental difference between a workplace that you’re at everyday around people you see everyday and a grocery store you run into once a week at varying times. That’s just not an equivalent.

          And I also don’t think these two points of view are diametrically opposed. You can know that someone at the Cheesecake Factory you’re sitting at could have a weapon and not like it, but be unable to do anything about it. At work, it’s much more reasonable to want to speak up and potentially minimize your risk. The gun at work doesn’t make the secret Cheesecake Factory gun less threatening.

          Even further, being around a gun for some length of time doesn’t inherently make me more comfortable being around a gun in a different situation for a separate length of time. I hate guns and would really like to limit my time around them. If I live in Texas, I might not always be able to do that. Work is a pretty reasonable place to not expect to be around guns.

        2. Macedon*

          Okay, but you’re seldom extensively around people with concealed weapons. You’re on the street five minutes, in a shop thirty, in a bar an hour. You’re in your workplace upwards of eight hours, so where you might be able or willing to compromise your short-term exposure to concealed guns, you should get the chance to decide if you want to live in close vicinity of a gun for a third of your day.

          The duration of time is the problem here. There’s also the matter of physical proximity. Maybe you’re okay with knowing a concealed gun exists somewhere in a club you happen to be visiting, but you’re not as comfortable with a concealed weapon potentially always there, not two feet away in Jane’s next-door cubicle.

          These might seem like subtleties or technicalities to people who are naturally comfortable with guns, but they’re not for those who actively try to avoid their gun exposure. If (general) you have a right to feel safe by carrying a gun, you should understand that others have a right to feel safe by having the option to avoid you.

        3. CS Rep by Day, Writer by Night*

          I can’t avoid all of them, but if I have my choice between a restaurant that allows guns on the premises and another that doesn’t, guess which one gets my business? And yes, I check the door for signage in pretty much every building I go into for the first time.

    6. NW Mossy*

      I just looked it up to confirm, but my company does indeed have a very strict no-weapons policy even though concealed carry is permitted in my state – the list of prohibited weapons is almost comically long. My husband’s employer doesn’t have a policy but does permit it, and I know that one of his bosses and a colleague of his both concealed carry at work regularly.

    7. Formica Dinette*

      My company has locations in multiple states and weapons are forbidden within all of our offices, as well as at any work-related locations (e.g., client offices). We’re allowed to have legal weapons on the premises if we keep them locked in our cars. Also not trying to be snarky, but I didn’t even have to look that up because we’re required to review our policies annually.

    8. Shelly*

      I actually do know my workplaces rules. Here they are: We allow them in a locked privately owned car if the employee has a concealed carry permit. Rifles may be stored without a concealed carry permit in a locked private vehicle as well. In short, keep it in your car and you’re fine. Carry it, and it is a problem. As we are a private university campus in a very concealed carry friendly state, there are signs at the entrance to the property notifying people they are entering private property and guns may not be carried.

      Every year, a copy of this policy is sent to every employee to remind them of the guidelines. So, no one has an excuse to say they didn’t know (or didn’t see the signs which are pretty hard to miss).

    9. Purest Green*

      My workplace has a known no-guns policy, but it’s also somewhere you’d expect to be gun free. Considering the ban extends to the company-owned parking lots (meaning no gun in your car, and even I as a non gun person think that’s going too far) in a legal concealed-carry state, I don’t imagine my workplace is truly gun free.

    10. erin*

      We have a sign posted on the door. (We’re an open carry state.) No guns, concealed or otherwise. I’ve heard enough bitching from the gun enthusiasts to lead me to believe that they are adhering to the rule, although I know some of them keep a gun in their truck.

    11. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      My current employer has a no weapons policy, but my previous employer felt it had to adopt a no deadly weapons policy when it learned a staff member had been carrying without notifying anyone. The rest of staff and the employer were really not ok with firearms in the workplace b/c of the increased risk of harm.

  25. Willow*

    Good for you on the Krav Maga, that is a total kick-ass martial art (what the Mossad uses). And any good martial art or self defense system will teach you how to carry yourself to not look like an easy victim – be aware of your surroundings (no checking your texts in the dark on the way to the car), notice other people and how they are acting, watch for potential pinch points (in an alley, between cars in a parking lot), among other things. (And no, I am not victim blaming, like people who get attacked could have prevented it. Just do what you can to stay safer, without resorting to total paranoia. It’s a fine line!)

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Under the heading of trying to stay safe, my parents used to say “walk with your chin/head UP, stand up straight and walk with purpose in your stride, even if you have no idea where the heck you left the car.”

      There have been times where I have been caught in an uncomfortable setting alone. I thought of what my parents said and applied it. I cannot prove that this protected me, in reality I probably got lucky, but I can say that it helped my mindset when I was starting to get afraid.
      Nothing replaces paying attention to your gut feeling.

    1. Jenbug*

      There was one shortly after the original letter where the OP said that she and her manager went to the big boss who blew it off and then quacked as she was leaving the office. I don’t think there’s been another one though.

  26. cheeky*

    Good for you and the open mindedness you brought forth. I appreciate that.

    My company requires all employees to take annual active shooter training, and literally every meeting is prefaced with a safety protocol, including identifying who will call 911, where the evacuation routes are, and a reminder of the active shooter protocol. I find it distressing enough to have to contemplate what I need to do in the event of a workplace shooting, and I would be very upset if I found out that there were people carrying guns into my office, legally or not.

    1. Baska*

      I went through active shooter training at one of my former jobs. (We were considered the third-likeliest target of an anti-Semitic attack in a major Canadian metropolis.) It was really fascinating to me. The trainer told us that most active shooter situations are resolved in about 7 minutes, so pretty much your goal in that sort of a situation is to make sure that you and anyone you’re responsible for (children, patients, etc.) stays safe and alive for those 7 minutes.

      Priorities were: 1. get out IF IT’S SAFE TO DO SO, 2. if not, shelter in place / go into lockdown. Engaging the shooter was not one of the options they recommended for us, not even if we knew them.

      1. nonymous*

        In my org, the active shooter training specifically said that engagement was a last resort and should be only undertaken with the understanding that one is acting as a distraction (that may or may not work). Obviously better than going to slaughter like a lamb, but just barely. Example: 5 people throw mugs and staplers at shooter from different directions, 6th person is able to run to safety.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        There was a long discussion of this recently, but most active shooter protocols advise against engaging the shooter and against bringing your gum to work and trying to shoot the shooter b/c coworkers and first responders may confuse you for the active shooter.

  27. Little Love*

    I live in an open carry state (Montana) and EVERYBODY owns guns, including me. Mine are for hunting, though. I think she should tell her boss, just on ethical principles. More people are killed by their own weapons than by an outside shooter. It is up to her employer to set the necessary parameters. And, who knows, maybe the boss would be happy with it. Trust me, finding out after something happens will NOT be good for the gun owner.

  28. Girasol*

    The poster makes a good argument – she’s safer, and mostly alone, and as long as no one knows, who’s hurt by it? But it feels wrong that she has made a decision about others’ safety without consulting them. Maybe all the carrier’s coworkers think that a gun in a sensible coworker’s hands makes them safer and would agree that it’s okay, or maybe they would feel at increased risk due to the possibility of a gun accident. As Alison says, we don’t want to argue who’s right, but doesn’t it seem unfair for LW to make that decision unilaterally for everyone by keeping the secret?

  29. Leslie knope*

    Yeah, I just totally disagree with the approach here. I would be extremely uncomfortable with this if I found out.

  30. A Cita*

    I’m not afraid of guns. But leaning that a coworker was carrying, I’d have 2 primary concerns:
    1. Will the weapon discharge accidentally?
    2. Is this a responsible gun owner? Do they participate in regular safety training? Do they practice regularly? Do they keep their weapon well maintained? Do they have experience discharging it in high stress situations (or training of that sort). Basically, can I trust this person to carry responsibly? Would I trust their judgement if a situation occurred in which they might need to discharge it?

    Answer to 2. NO: because the fact that carrying is the first go-to solution to ensure personal safety at work, tells me I cannot trust their judgement. First steps would talking to the company about ensuring employee safety on and around the premises. Speaking to local police about increasing patrols in the area. Creating a buddy system to get to cars if feasible. Basically, there are a LOT of potential solutions to consider first, before choosing the option that requires accurate and well-chosen use of lethal force in high stress situations.

    Look, I work in one of the highest crime-ridden cities in the nation. I’m unique among my peer group for having never been mugged or threatened by a gun. And in this city, time of day or night and neighborhood have no bearing on one’s chances of getting mugged or hurt. But there a lot of options people here run through first before ever deciding to carry.

    1. fposte*

      ” NO: because the fact that carrying is the first go-to solution to ensure personal safety at work, tells me I cannot trust their judgement.”

      I’m thinking about this. Does this mean you’d be more okay with concealed carry in a place where they have instituted all those systems and safety remains a concern? I think we may even be talking about some of the same areas when I say I’ve seen how increasing controls, buddy systems, and umbrella security is often far from adequate to meet safety needs. I also think that the OP has limited power to enact those and they’re not going to help the OP much when she’s on her own.

      I’m no fan of carrying for a number of reasons, and I agree with what I perceive as your tacit point that it’s not likely to be an effective move for a net safety gain regardless of how the OP feels. But I’m also not sure I’m seeing the breakpoint that you are.

      1. A Cita*

        Hmm… so I’m also working this out as I go. I think for me, it’s a about being able to trust the carrier’s judgement, as much as I reasonably can. I agree the safety precautions listed are limited. But, if the carrier hasn’t even had those conversations with their employer before deciding to carry, I don’t personally feel like I can trust their judgement.

        And to those other precautions: when you’re talking about a whole city, yes, they’re very limited (like the city I work in–especially because the usual signals of potential danger are not their: all neighborhoods are crime ridden, people get violently mugged at 9 am, at 1 pm, at 3 pm, etc, being aware of surroundings are limited because muggings also occur with cars pulling up and people jumping out to mug a pedestrian, walking in groups is not helpful as muggers are deterred, often work in groups, and brandish weapons, etc). But OP’s concern is getting to and from her car. Here, there *are* potential safety measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of being accosted: security guide in the parking lot, security personnel to escort folks to/from their car, better lighting, better foot patrols, etc.

        And yes, otherwise, I personally would be fine if someone were carrying (although I’d still be concerned about accidental discharge and whether they were capable if the time arose in which they needed to use it). However, I am VERY much NOT risk adverse. Very little (except spiders) truly frightens me. I’m a pretty hard core risk taker. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think other employees or the employer doesn’t have the right to know and make their own decision about it. I haven’t really formulated an opinion on that either way, but right now I’d say I’d land on the side of letting people know so that they can make their own decisions on acceptable risk.

        1. fposte*

          Thanks for kicking this one around, as you raised something I hadn’t thought about but wanted to think about more. I think I map on you some but not completely :-).

          I also have started to think that my ignorance about firearms impairs my ability to assess this kind of question, and I’ve thought about going to one of the local firing ranges to learn more. I doubt I’ll ever like something whose job is to make a sudden loud noise, but I could stand to be a little more informed.

      2. LBK*

        I don’t know if I’d be more comfortable with someone concealed carrying in my office in that scenario per se, but I think I’d be more empathetic to the person’s justification. Bringing a weapon into work without telling your employer is a big step – it’s pretty much the nuclear option, and nuclear options are either supposed to be last resorts after unsuccessfully pursuing other avenues, or they’re supposed to be reserved for situations that are so untenable that you can’t afford the time to pursue those other avenues first. I don’t feel that either of those criteria have been met here, which is why I think it’s a wild breach of trust for the OP to make this decision and it’s disingenuous for her to justify it this way.

    2. Natalie*

      For whatever it’s worth, it’s extremely unusual for a handgun to accidentally discharge – they are designed with parts that specifically prevent them from firing because they are dropped, for example. Nearly every time some bozo on the news says “the gun just went off!” what they mean is that they were behaving negligently and fired the gun because of that negligence.

      (I don’t say this to suggest that you should change your feelings about working with someone armed, I just happened to learn it recently and thought it was interesting.)

    3. catsAreCool*

      In the first letter, the LW said “I practice weekly and attend training classes regularly.”

      Although the LW didn’t mention taking other steps, should we assume that the steps weren’t taken or that the steps were taken and were ineffective?

  31. brainstorm*

    I’m admittedly a bit uncomfortable with this particular update being published today of all days, and not, say, tomorrow.

        1. NMO*

          Frankly, given how many such shoootings the USA has had, it’d be hard to find a day that wasn’t the anniversary of some such event. Sandy Hook is just more visible than most.

    1. Temperance*

      I have a feeling it was honestly just an oversight and not a statement of where Alison stands on the matter. Just an unfortunate accident of timing.

      (It’s the four-year anniversary of the Newtown massacre. May those children and their carers rest in peace.)

      1. EmKay*

        Because some whacko shot his mother in her own house, then drove to an elementary school where he shot 6 more adults and 20 little children. Pure insanity.

      2. erin*

        Because after 9/11 we at least pretended to care that innocent people were murdered and wondered what we could do to change things.

        After Sandy Hook, we saw that 7 adults and 20 babies were murdered and shrugged and said, “but this ak-47 is really cool and makes my penis feel bigger, and therefore it means more to me than these dead kids’ lives.”

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Yeah, I had the same reaction (and lived by Newtown around the time of the shooting), but I know Alison schedules the posts in advance and probably did not realize that the post was being published on the anniversary of Sandy Hook.

  32. Anon for this*

    Maybe I’m being a special snowflake, but if I learned one of my coworkers was bringing a gun to work every day I would consider quitting. Seriously. I DO NOT feel safe around guns in any way, shape, or form thanks to an incident that happened when I was a teenager. I do not allow them in my home, I will not go into a situation where I know a gun will be present (I always decline invitations to parties thrown by a particular friend because I know his best friend is a cop and always has his gun), and I ask about gun policies in job interviews (all my past employers have banned them from the premises).

    I think OP’s coworkers deserve to know that they work with someone who has a gun and brings it to work. Not saying OP should get singled out but there should be some notice that it is a gun-friendly office and that at least one employee has a concealed carry permit. I don’t think it’s fair for the other employees to not know this because it prevents them from making informed decisions.

    1. Zona the Great*

      Yep, this is how I feel. And if my employer knew and didn’t say anything I would feel less safe.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      You’re not a special snowflake on this issue—many people feel the way you do.

  33. Lara*

    Leaving the gun control debate aside, I’ll just say that as an Australian, I had never considered guns at work. The concept is so foreign (and terrifying) to me!

  34. Recruit-o-rama*

    I think your reasoning is fine and I don’t think you need to feel guilty about protecting yourself. I take you at your word that the area you work in is unsafe and that you are carrying only when you are there alone. My suggestion is to take the CCW refresher class often so you keep your skills, knowledge and awareness sharp.

      1. Recruit-o-rama*

        I’m just choosing not to engage in the debate, which is going nowhere. I disagree that the feelings of co-workers who are not even there trump her need to feel safe when she is at work in a dangerous area by herself. Further, I offered a suggestion to her from one CCW holder to another. I take my CCW refresher once a year because I appreciate the responsibilty of being a gun owner. Not sure what you’re trying to do, draw me into the debate? Not interested. Thanks.

        1. Czhorat*

          You appear to be trying to pretend there is no debate, and are simply stating your opinion in a vacuum. There are tons of comments here pointing out that the LW’s choice to carry does affect the actual and perceived safety of co-workers.

          It strikes me as odd to pretend that the entire discussion didn’t happen.

          1. Recruit-o-rama*

            What? I’m not pretending anything, I don’t have anything to add to your debate that other posters have not already said. I stated my opinion to the OPs update and offered an additional suggestion. I read your debate above and I remain unconvinced that you’ve offered a compelling enough argument for me to change my mind. As I said, I am not interested in debating this with you, stop trying to bully me into it.

          2. Would a man's name make you listen?*

            As the site owner has said many times, people have different commenting styles, let’s respect that and stop bothering this individual

          3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I don’t think it’s fair to challenge Recruit-o-Rama on this. It has to be ok to say your piece without having to include a disclaimer or relitigate an already hashed out debate. And it’s OK to provide advice that others may disagree with without first responding to their counter arguments or acknowledging the existence of a debate.

  35. JAM*

    There’s a chain store in my area that allows open carry and this week a customer likely accidentally discharged their weapon and injured an employee. The employees of the store know open carry is allowed when they work there and yet they still don’t anticipate an incident like that one. I think your company and coworkers have a right to know the status of weapons in the workplace.

    For the record, I really thought my last job should have carry to/from the building with lockers for the guns to go into on-site. Many of our employees had concealed carry permits and I tended to trust them to behave responsibly. By law the guns weren’t allowed in the general building (courthouse) but our employees were often threatened and targeted by members of the public and once a person (not in our employment) was kidnapped and later murdered by a known acquaintance following a courthouse appearance of the two of them. Employers who know their employees feel at risk walking to/from a building are likely to review safety and security policies. Mine didn’t, but that’s one of the many reasons they are no longer my employer.

  36. Cynicaal Lackey*

    How does a CONCEALED weapon protect you if there is a mugging. The mugger will have you cornered and covered with his weapon before you can even draw your gun.

    1. TL -*

      When you see Secret Service agents, how many guns can you count on them?

      My grandfather was secret service for a while; he still conceal carries and I honestly believe he could pull out a gun faster than he could be mugged. With the right placement, design, gun, and practice, you absolutely can respond in a very timely manner.

      1. Annabelle Lee*

        Civilians don’t have this type of training. They are not trained in using the gun in high stress situations (e.g real life).

        1. TL -*

          For sure, you’d need training to use a gun (or car or boat or trumpet) well in a specific situation. But with the right training and practice, you can do it.

        2. LBK*

          Yeah, it’s kind of insane to compare the training of someone who’s *charged with protecting the president* to the average citizen, who probably doesn’t even have access to that level of training, never mind being required to have it before they’re allowed to carry.

          1. TL -*

            They’re not the only people who can do that; they were just the most easily visible ones. Sorry – bad example. A civilian (or former military, which is a lot of people) could learn to quick draw and shoot. Tons of people used to, way back when.

            1. LBK*

              I hope this isn’t broaching too far into sensitive social issues but frankly, given how often police officers with mandatory training on these situations are falling back on the defense that they shot someone out of fear/adrenaline these days, I am wildly skeptical of a civilian keeping this skill adequately honed just out of their own sense of obligation.

  37. BTW*

    I’m not American, I don’t own guns and yet I say if the law doesn’t specifically require you to let the employer know, then that’s totally your call and don’t feel guilty about not saying anything. You sound like a really responsible gun owner and if your state has made concealed carry legal, then everyone should have a basic awareness that *anyone* could be carrying at *any* time. Who know, there might even be others carrying in your office. I just don’t see anything wrong with it if it’s perfectly legal. If I knew someone in my office was carrying, I might actually feel safer. (Granted they are as responsible as you make yourself out to be)

  38. Gaara*

    LW, the problem I have with this is that, while I respect your position (you need the gun for safety reasons), you’re ignoring a similar position that your coworkers might hold (they need to know if their coworkers are bringing guns to work for safety reasons). I agree that yours is a totally valid safety concern, and I don’t doubt that you’re handling your weapon as safely as possible, but theirs is also a totally valid safety concern, and it seems like you’re glossing over that.

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      +1 This is what I thought too and I am so glad someone else said it in such a clear fashion.

    2. Texas Tortilla*

      Yup, this is where I come down on it too. Regardless of your views on guns, the OP is being incredibly self-centred here, and is endangering their coworkers for their own peace of mind. And that’s not a good outcome in any way.

  39. nonymous*

    Not sure if this was brought up before, but can OP ask their local PD to do a site safety evaluation? As I read about the the safety concerns, I feel that this would be a strategy that protects all the employees in that situation.

    I know in my area local businesses can sign up to be part of some sort of safety program through the city PD, and in exchange they get a small discount on their annual permits. For some reason the OP’s solution (and update) seem sto be more about being able to react in the moment vs any true preventative solution. Wouldn’t it be smarter to engage in practices that actively discourage would-be muggers? I’m guessing no one wants to deal with the fallout of having shot someone or causing physical harm by channeling Jackie Chan. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen, even if it ends up getting dismissed – not fun.

  40. Not So NewReader*

    I think the gun aspect of this has been covered very well and I would only be repeating stuff that has been said. So I want to take a step back and look at an overarching topic of the decision making process.

    OP, I enjoyed reading your update. I relate to your candor on your decision making process here, I have gone at decisions in a similar manner and I know first hand it’s agony. I admire how you just laid it all out there for us to look at. Clearly, you want to actually think this through. I have done this, where I have stance X, I talk to others and I move my stance a bit. Then I think about things I could do so I did not NEED stance X any more, because stance X is not a place I am comfy with entirely. So I start dong things differently in order to help myself get away from uncomfortable stance X.

    I hope I can encourage you to live your life out in the open. This is a place where your walk matches your talk which matches your thinking. (walk=talk=thoughts) I have been trying to live more open book-ish myself and I find it’s down right enjoyable. I am calmer on the inside.
    I am less fearful. Funny, you know, I started living more what I believe and my fears went down. Secrets will eat us, OP. It does not matter if it’s a concealed gun or a concealed bank account or a concealed lover. Secrets fill up our minds so we have less brain space for “life stuff”.

    Some of this for me was life and aging BUT some of it was deliberate. I got tired of having to be of two minds, where my actions were uncomfortable for me. What is it that you believe here, OP? What will it take to get your life to match what you believe?

    I have had jobs where I have been robbed/stalked/threatened. I did it for a while, then I decided screw it. It’s not worth it. So that is my bias right there. Do you think you want to stay at this job a while? Do you have life goals that tie into this job? I’d like to encourage you to think big picture.

    Above some people, myself included, tossed around some ideas for improving security. But there maybe other answers, such as the work could be rearranged so that there are more people around and it is safer that way. In the name of safety, my current boss changed the hours of operation. That made my job MUCH safer for many reasons, that I cannot list here.

    I don’t have cell service here so I tend to ignore my cell. However maybe people here could help you find clever ways for you to use your cell phone to help protect yourself.

    I think you are very wise to take this self-defense class. Are there other ways that you can build yourself up? It’s never a bad idea to invest in ourselves. Sometimes jobs can drain us and we don’t even realize. The years roll by and we find we have lost parts of ourselves, nothing like a good solid scare at work to remind us, “Oh, yeah, I need to build me up in some manner.”

    Thirty something years ago, I lived in a safe neighborhood. NO, really it was safe. I got robbed at my job in this neighborhood. There were woods across the street and a person was murdered in those woods. I had to walk by those woods and the store in order to get to my other job…. at five AM. This was where I grew up, it was safe, dang it!
    Scared does not describe fully. It was mind-bending for me. I relate to what you are saying here about being fearful. It’s not good to live in fear like that, OP. It’s not good for your health, your mind, nor your life. It wears us down subtly and slowly. Please think about that. Figure out how to get yourself to a safer place and that can mean anything from being a safety activist at work to changing jobs.

    Again, this is not intended to be about the firearm itself. That has been covered. This is about decision making processes and about quality of life.

  41. Lucy Westenra*

    Congrats on the green belt, OP! I do karate, not krav, but I know that feeling you’re talking about. And kicks to the head are totally badass.

  42. sincerely asking*

    I am curious about opinions on the following scenario:

    1. OP decides to come clean with her employer and confesses that she’s been carrying because of fears for personal safety, noting that she hasn’t seen anything specifically prohibiting it.

    2. Employer says, “Dang, you’re right, we don’t have a policy.” After a (relatively) brief period of reflection, employer announces that company policy henceforth will permit (licensed) concealed carry by employees, provided that anyone who carries notifies the employer.

    3. For whatever reason(s), employer really has no control over the parking lot situation (so no additional lighting, for instance) and also is unable to hire site security.

    4. OP is reassured by employer’s stance and resumes carrying to work on a daily basis, rather than intermittently.

    If you are one of OP’s coworkers who does not like guns, do you quit? If there are multiple objectors, do you all quit? Do you pressure the OP to quit, or put pressure on the employer to try to get OP to quit? Do you feel that it is incumbent upon the OP to quit if there are several of you who are uncomfortable (“the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one”)?

    1. The Bird*

      I would IMMEDIATELY start looking for a new job, ask my employer to change the policy, and if nothing changed, quit as soon as possible. In this scenario, it’s totally up to the employer if this is a policy they want to stand by and I don’t think the OP should feel pressure to quit just because one (or more) of her coworkers is uncomfortable, but I could not tolerate working in an environment where untrained citizens are carrying guns.

    2. "Computer Science"*

      At least in this scenario, I’d be aware of the firearms entering the facility. That’s way more transparent and fair than the current situation.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I don’t think it’s incumbent on OP to quit (and I think it’s wrong to try to pressure OP to quit or employer to fire her), but I also think it’s ok if her coworkers who are uncomfortable with guns choose to leave.

    4. Gaara*

      If I’m one of OP’s coworkers who does not like guns in that scenario, I would probably go with an option you haven’t mentioned: pressure the employer to change the policy to ban guns on the premises.

  43. Hrovitnir*

    Hey, LW. First, I hope you don’t feel too bad overall and if you’re reading the comments. I understand why you are approaching this as you are, and I don’t think feeling guilty is really needed.

    I do however, agree with talking to your employer. I like the suggestion above about bringing up the safety in general and using that conversation to open up carrying your weapon. I certainly understand your gun being in your car being a bit useless, and feel like having it separate from live rounds while you’re at work or something or keeping it in a safe at work could be a good compromise if your employer was OK with that and your coworkers would prefer it.

    I don’t know how I would approach it, but you really sound like you’re trying your best. For context, I’m from NZ and while there are a fair amount of rifles about for hunting, civilians carrying sidearms is… not a thing. Even cops don’t always have them. I like living in a country where it’s a pain in the arse to get a licence for a hand gun and shootings are uncommon. So I’m really weirded out by the culture described here, but I also just happen to not feel viscerally horrified by concealed carry in itself/having guns around me – the latter mostly because of a certain fatalism. That’s pretty much just my personality though, and doesn’t make me right!

  44. Steph*

    I may have read this incorrectly, but I may not. Did OP really say he/she carries a gun when out drinking?
    Now, I’m Australian and we have very different opinions and laws about firearms, so maybe I am jumping to conclusions, but intentially carrying a weapon when you are out drinking, with both impaired judgement and physical capacities, sounds like a terrible idea. For someone who otherwise sounds like a responsible gun owner (and a reasonable person, given your self reflection following your initial post), this sounds incredibly unwise, to me.

    1. Erin*

      It’s illegal to carry a firearm under the influence. Similar to drunk driving laws, but with stiffer penalties. Including fines, jail and loss of permit and confiscation of weapon(s)

  45. PJB*

    Of course I’m concerned about the idea of anyone having a gun at work, from an HR perspective, as we are a gun-free zone. I also need to mention (because no one else has) that, as an employee, this conversation is personally alarming. This is not something I had really worried about in terms of coworkers. Now I see I’m being naive and there might be employees here who have guns with or on them. It is making me very scared and anxious.

  46. Jules*

    As far as work is concerned, I hope it’s not a fireable offence.

    I know a funny story (not really if I was in the middle of that situation) where an avid hunter walked though the building with his hunting gun on his shoulder, to get to the back of the factory in order to get to the deer out back. EVERYONE was terrified and they initiated the active shooter protocol. When all was calm, he looked pretty puzzled on why he was fired from the job. He was only trying to get to the deer… I guess it was too cold to walk outside in the cold to get to the deer with his hunting rifle. Seriously, who does that?! FYI, OP, if anyone accidentally see your gun, they will immediately inform their supervisor and an active shooter protocol might get initiated. IDK what your company protocol are.

    I am not keeping any guns in the house. I do want to take up shooting in case of zombie apocalypse. In a worse case scenario, as we all run for safety, if I find a gun, I know how to use it. But I will not keep a gun in my house. I have knives, golf clubs, weights (my daughter has a lightweight one I can throw), machete, axe, shovels etc. I lived in the city growing up, so many that desensitize me towards the danger. I carry a backpack, with all stuff in the backback, my keys are always in my hand when I am getting into it from any location, lock the door, belt in and then fumble around in the car getting stuff setup for the drive. I don’t speak to anyone who is not a regular. I am friendly towards the local population and they have my back. When I park, I reverse in, so in the said case of zombie apocalypse, I can take off tires screeching. My gas tank is always above half for the same reason. If attacked while I am in the car, my plan is to run them down forward or backwards. I also have tire iron in the car. While I was living in a big city, I also have the steering lock, which doubles as my tool of destruction if attacked. It sits on the passenger seat so it’s very accessible. I watch all my mirrors while driving. If someone stays on my tail too long, I keep a closer eye until they get of somewhere or if I turn into my street, I watch to make sure they kept on going. People would laugh and think I am paranoid but I know if stuff goes down, I am coming up as a winner. I am 5ft nothing. Anyone could think I would be an easy target.

    Good luck, OP.

  47. Kelly*

    For what it’s worth – I happen to know the VP of our company carries every day. I’m comfortable with that knowing that in a bad situation there is at least one person in our office who could potentially stop a violent attack – and we are in a bad neighborhood as well as knowing that some of our factory employees are ex-cons. (They seem to have changed the paths of their lives, but you never know.)

    In my opinion, on your choice to carry or not – the only person you can know is yourself and it’s up to you to protect yourself in any given situation. You don’t “really” know your co-workers or strangers who many come into your office and/or parking lot.

    Take care of you.

  48. Mustache Cat*

    Late to the conversation, but OP, I’m impressed by your introspection and willingness to listen to advice that you didn’t want to hear.

    I’m going to echo some of the commenters here in urging you to talk to your company. Your issue here (I assume) isn’t that you really, really want to have a gun with you at all times, it’s that you want to feel safe when you work. The best way to resolve that isn’t to hide your gun from your company, but rather to talk to and work with your company to take concrete steps to make you safer.

  49. Jill*

    I think the OP has found how to make the best of the situation they work in – carrying when working late or alone but not carrying most days. I think it’s easy to judge concealed carry when one lives in a relatively low-crime, safe area. But there are parts of my city I, as a woman, wouldn’t go to alone, especially at night. I’d be willing to break the rules (no guns allowed postings) if I really felt my safety was at risk. I do think the OP is wise, though, to take maritial arts classes as a non-weaponized backup option. I wouldn’t tell my employer I carry, either, posting or not.

  50. Appalled*

    OP, I find your first letter and your update appalling and would certainly file a complaint about it with HR if we worked together. I think I would be less upset if it was kept in a handbag, but you are walking around your office every day (or less so now) with a gun strapped to you?! And you haven’t thought to tell anyone? I would be furious that my safety is put at risk by a colleague who didn’t think she had to share that she carries a gun.

    You might have all the safety measures possible in place, but that doesn’t stop someone using your gun against you or your colleagues. I think you owe it to everyone you work with the knowledge you have a gun. Let them decide if they want to prohibit guns or allow it.

    I come from a state with high crime rates so I get your fears. I also work in a very public Jewish community site and have added death threats and anti-Semitic abuse to deal with too. I am responsible for safety procedures in the event of any kind of attack on our site and if I found out that one of my colleagues was knowingly increasing the risk of injury or death to ‘protect’ herself you can bet I would raise holy hell in protest. How could I adequately protect everyone without knowing all the facts?

  51. Tiffin*

    It sounds to me like the OP thinks that the powers that be will outlaw carrying the gun and that’s why she’s not asking permission, which doesn’t sit well with me. Technically it’s legal, but when you know you are dealing with an issue that that has strong feelings and legitimate concerns on both sides, skirting the issue on a technicality feels wrong.

  52. ATXFay*

    YES to the krav classes! My husband and I both practice that (in addition to muay thai) and it makes a huge difference. It’s save hubby’s life twice (he’s apparently a favorite for people to go after, for whatever reason). Keep it up!!

  53. Notorious MCG*

    Here’s my thing though: by not notifying your employer that you feel so unsafe that you feel the need to carry a concealed weapon you are also not raising the clear issue that is now presumably affecting the workers who are taking on the duties that you are maturing out of (being in the office first/last/alone; you said you were doing that less often due to high performance).

    You said yourself that you didn’t take the decision to carry lightly, but you do seem to be taking the security situation (that you decided to address for yourself by carrying) lightly on behalf of others. I’m sure you could say that others have the same right to carry as you, but most likely wouldn’t want to/be as capable/be as responsible as you. Your employer should be notified of the severity of your security concerns and determine if there are reasonable ways to lessen employees’ risks (having people close in pairs, better lighting in the parking lot, a fence around the parking lot, a night guard, etc)

  54. Database Developer Dude*

    I’m a taekwondo black belt. Guns are ranged weapons. If you’re outside my kicking range, and are coming after me with a gun, I’m screwed, no matter how good of a fighter I am. Martial arts, while good for you, are not a panacaea. They’re also not a substitute for a good firearm WITH the proper training and mindset.

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