Individuals like U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein are proposing harsher regulation of firearms, magazines and ammunition, while others are defending their Second Amendment rights through political activism, including carrying their firearms more often and in more places. Regardless of a business owner's stance on the issue, the fact remains that open and concealed carry is a topic that employees may feel passionately about.
Many companies have policies regarding employees bringing their firearms to work. From the perspective of security, there are both positive and negative aspects of allowing non-security employees be armed. Untrained employees can potentially pose a danger to other workers and to clients. Furthermore, allowing employees to be armed at work will likely have a negative impact on the cost of any insurance the business may have. However, properly trained employees may be invaluable in situations like a robbery or an incident of workplace violence, and they may provide a sense of security for the rest of the employees.
In Idaho, obtaining a CCW license (a license to carry a concealed weapon) requires that the individual pass a background check and also attend some sort of training program. However, the quality and type of these training programs can vary drastically. Some are daylong defensive-shooting courses, spent almost entirely on a shooting range, where instructors personally interact with the shooters and teach them about proper firearm safety, the situations where they should use their firearms, and how to properly continue their training. Others are simple classroom discussions: The instructor puts on a video for three hours, and the students get a certificate of completion afterward.
Allowing untrained or poorly trained employees to possess weapons at work could lead to disaster. Therefore, businesses interested in allowing their employees to bring guns to the workplace should institute mandatory training programs through a credible service and require that the employees regularly requalify on the firing range. This establishes a standard for firearm competency among employees and ensures the employees will actually be useful in an emergency instead of escalating the danger.
INSURANCE AND LIABILITY
Most businesses that explicitly allow their employees to be armed on the job face higher insurance costs than a typical business. The reasons for this are self-evident, but many business owners are unprepared for these higher costs when they institute a pro-carry policy.
Furthermore, businesses that serve their customers outside of a central office face a whole new set of potential issues, further raising insurance costs. Imagine that you operate a computer repair company and you send a technician out on a job. He shows up with a gun on his hip, possibly making the client feel threatened. If that technician discharged his firearm on the job, or even shot somebody, the company could be held liable for his actions.
Business owners must carefully weigh the pros and cons related to employees bringing their personal firearms to work before writing any official policies on the matter.
Neal B. Custer, president of Reveal Digital Forensics & Security, a subsidiary of Custer Agency Inc. Adjunct professor at Boise State University. firstname.lastname@example.orgWritten with Reveal information security expert Dylan Evans.