Workplace policies on guns

Workplace policies on guns

With all of the renewed interest about gun policy in the country, a tangent involves what to do in the workplace.  Often highlighted recently is the idea of allowing school staff and teachers to carry a concealed weapon if they so choose.  For them, the school is the workplace, but the same is being debated across industries.

Should an office workplace allow concealed and carry?  The idea would be to discourage those who might commit violence from doing so, and to provide some ability to fight back if necessary.  

For a business, this involves, among other factors, a consideration of risk.  A manager, for example, who carries a weapon and is involved in an incident, does not have the same legal protections as someone in law enforcement whose use of a weapon is part of the job.  That manager would be using a self-defense argument as a legal reason for action.  That may be adequate in some circumstances, but it may also expose the manager and company to charges of negligence for overreacting to a situation.  Was the manager adequately trained to respond in such a situation?  What if a bystander is injured or killed?  The question may become “Would a reasonable person in that situation have acted similarly?”

These are some of the questions that highlight the importance for a company and HR to consider policies around guns in the workplace.  Is it okay to carry a permitted weapon in the office?  Is it okay to have one in a parked car on company premises?  Laws vary greatly across states.  In Minnesota, for example, storage of a gun in a parked car on company premises is allowed.

Other actions to take to enhance workplace safety include limiting and controlling access points, installing security cameras, and talking to your teams.  What is the workplace like?  How do employees feel about the work environment?  Is it free of fear and intimidation?  What suggestions do they have about workplace safety issues? 


Nagele-Piazza, L.  (6 Mar 2018).  Should Managers Be Armed in the Workplace?  Employers could be held liable if someone is injured.