11 August 2011

Firearms at Work: Don't Ask, Don't Tell

with a h/t to Guffaw in Arizona for starting this line of thought. I posted a reply there, but quickly realized there was more to say than would be proper as a response on someone else's blog.

I think the one of only places where "don't ask, don't tell" really works is in regard to a no-firearms-at-work policy. In his post, Guffaw refers to a decorated 'Nam vet who said, "I don't ask questions I don't want to hear answers to." 

Most of you know that Alaska was the second state to adopt "Constitutional carry", right after Vermont. If an Alaska resident is 21 or older, and otherwise legally able to purchase a firearm, then that Alaskan may carry concealed. Open carry is also perfectly fine. You don't see a lot of open carry in Anchorage due to the high percentage of nanny-staters from the Left Coast who have relocated here - and only God knows why - but it's frequently seen elsewhere, as well as on trails around town.

Given the preponderance of Outsiders in this city, it may be best to keep your peace about keeping your piece. But not always, and not for all reasons. There are good arguments for peacefully raising awareness of peaceable gun owners who happen to be armed while out & about.

Under Alaska law, landowners may post a sign on entryways thereby making their premises off-limit to weapons, but that sign doesn't apply to the building owners nor their property managers. If the building you're entering does have such a sign, you're breaking the law if you bring a firearm across the threshold.

In Alaska, you also must not carry a firearm into another person's residence without obtaining their permission, first. But those two things aside, the signs on the UAA campus prohibiting firearms on the premises are ... well, not quite a joke. More of a suggestion, really, because there's no law against it. The worst they can do is ask you to leave, or face trespass charges if you don't. On the other hand, anyone care to guess at the percentage of older students who are armed but keeping it to themselves?

There are no such signs on my building, nor do I intend to post any. The property I manage is run differently. A lot of folks here know that I carry, and I've had a number of good conversations with other gun owners/shooters, and have even helped one tenant select a pistol because she'd gotten mugged when interrupting a drug deal in progress. There are a number of tenants who also carry, and I've written in the past about one lady here who had a humongous stainless .44 Magnum revolver in her purse. (How do I know? She showed me.)

I have carried openly here, on occasion, but find that I generally carry concealed because I'd prefer any panhandlers or other types of ne'er-do-wells to not know whether I'm armed. That uncertainty on their part might be the edge I need if things go south.

We have bears in the neighborhood who are frequently seen in our parking lot, as well as a mama moose who's a prolific producer of offspring. Moose aren't usually a threat, but can be if provoked ... and approaching a calf is a sure way to find out some surprising things about Mama's attack policy.

Several of my tenants' businesses are owned by corporations in the eastern part of the U.S., and one of them approached me last year about their need to comply with the parent company's "no firearms" policy. The lady in question had offered me a tour of their sterile area, which meant that I had to wear scrubs and booties to enter that part of the space. This was before I began my weight loss, so the "guest" scrubs were dang near too small for me.

It turned out I could just fit into the jumpsuit, but only if I removed everything from my belt. So she watched as I removed a Leatherman, then my 1911 in its holster, and a spare magazine. It didn't seem to alarm her, which was a relief to me at the time.

So, knowing that I carry, she asked how she could properly word the required signs for the premises she controlled, inside my building which permits the carry of weapons. Her company's policy was "no weapons except for sworn law enforcement personnel."

I suggested that her signs read, "No weapons except for sworn law enforcement personnel and those otherwise permitted by State law" (my emphasis).  Of course, that meant that anyone lawfully carrying already could enter her space without concern. She thought it was a great idea, and - as far as I know - that's what she did.

And strangely enough, there haven't been any mass murders, no blood in the halls, nor any mayhem of any kind. Who knew?

p.s. Along with all the above, there's something else to think about.


North said...

Brilliant! Nothing complicated at all about that.

Call it the North corollary to Occam's Razor, if you will. We need to have "the simplest possible laws in this country to be the most effective laws". That is how the constitution was designed.

TJIC said...

I once had two employees of mine discover that I concealed-carry at work, and they freaked out (this is MA, after all).

They came to me in a united front and told me that it was unacceptable.

I told them that I understood their point and would think about it over night.

One of them rebutted "there is NOTHING to think about here".

I disagreed: "You've made it very clear that you don't want to work in a place with firearms. Now I've got to decide whether in the company that I've built with my own hands, I'm going to give in to your preferences...or if I'm going to be forced to accept the resignations of two employees who do great work, and whom I value. Instead of making a snap decision on this, I'm giving you the courtesy of thinking it over for one night."

They both saw from the look on my face what the outcome was likely to be.

One came back ten minutes later and said that he wouldn't REALLY resign.

The other did.

I kept carrying.


North said...


Guffaw in AZ said...

@TJIC - I'm with North!
@Rev. Paul - Glad to have provided you with blogfodder. Thanks for the h/t!

DR said...

I wish we had constitutional carry, instead we just have concealed carry.