Yes, gun store employees in the United States are quite often all armed and more or less allowed to open carry. A gun store is the opposite of a ‘gun-free zone.’ Even many of the other customers likely carry armed guns openly.

For this reason, gun store robberies are very rare. People might break into a gun store at night when nobody is around, but that is pretty hard and rare since gun stores have elaborate alarm systems with caged and barred storefronts when they are closed.

In the event anyone raises a firearm in a threatening manner in a gun store, they will have dozens of barrels immediately aligned with their head, held by gun lovers who just want to pull the trigger to justify their expensive hobby and perspective. Gun shop owners and employees in the United States are usually armed to the teeth. Most guys who are into guns are either heavy enthusiasts, ex-military or ex police.

Normally, gun stores protect themselves and their inventory than the state protects children, better than banks protect money, and better than hospitals even protect health. The stores are run in anticipation of robberies and the like, and if they get robbed, they’ll probably get shut down.

If you own a gun store in the United States, at some point you will have to deal with this issue of employees openly carrying weapons, that’s if you haven’t already. There are both pros and cons to having your employees carry in your store while they’re on the clock, and you should consider them all before making your decision.

8 Questions to Ask Before Deciding If Your Gun Store Employees Can Open Carry

There are few questions you should be asking before allowing your staff to open carry, and a “No” to any of them should give you reasons to reconsider.

  1. Do your employees have an acceptable level of training to use a firearm in a life-threatening situation should the need arise? Do they even know how to analyze situations that call for the potential use of deadly force and which ones require other less-lethal remedies?
  2. Is the potential for the use of deadly force realistic for your store design? Note that in some jurisdictions, law enforcement trains to a “21-foot rule” to determine when deadly force can be an option, this being the distance needed for an officer to effectively draw their weapon and fire when confronted with threat requiring the use of deadly force to stop it. While in your store, though, the reaction space may be more like three feet across the gun counter. Knowing that, does allowing your staff to open carry become more of a liability than an asset?
  3. Does your business and health insurance policies cover any and all aftermath resulting from a use of force by an employee?
  4. Also are there any local, state or federal laws that prevent employees from openly carrying their personal firearms while at work or restrictions to open carrying while working that would negatively impact my business?
  5. Do your employees need open carry permits to carry legally in your store? Does your store need any kind of special security licensing to permit your employees to work while armed?
  6. Are your employees trained in first-aid?
  7. Are you in a high-crime area? If so, is your area one where crimes occur with some frequency when businesses are open?
  8. Is your business located remotely or challenging for law enforcement to get to in a timely manner?

When Can Gun Store Employees Open Carry?

  1. When your employees have certain level of training in self-defence and are active participants in the shooting sports outside of work. Carrying can certainly help make them better salespeople.
  2. When your employees have been educated about the laws of open and concealed carry in your state and can help pass that information on to customers seeking the same.
  3. If you had to obtain special licensing or institute a training program to enable your employees to carry during work.
  4. Also having your employees carry during open business hours, especially open carry, is a visual deterrent to criminals.
  5. Employee carry can serve as an advantage for stores located in remote areas and far away from emergency responders.
  6. When presented as “normal” and “not a big deal,” open carry by your staff could help mitigate apprehension in customers new to your store and open the door for discussion on subjects like the legality of concealed carry in your area, what kind of gun and holster to buy, and other subjects that will interest these novice gun owners.
  7. Also by putting all the precursors in place to allowing your employees to carry — their training, store carry policy and any necessary licensing, discussions with your insurance carriers and lawyer — you are better equipped to deal with a deadly force situation if one does occur.

Conclusion

Typically, businesses have the right to decide who is and isn’t allowed on their private property and what rules of behaviour people must follow. As a gun store owner, only you can decide what’s right for your store when it comes to allowing your employees to open carry while they’re working.

Irrespective of the decision you make, remember to analyze or work through the list above and also consider adding in any other factors that could affect your store and livelihood. As they say, work smarter, not harder.

Joy Nwokoro