THE BADGE Circa 1957 front 2nd The Way it WasTHE BADGE THE BEST OF CHUCK KLEIN






By Chuck Klein

Published: July 2016, Concealed Carry Magazine

I defy anyone - employer, employee, legislator, judge, anti-gunner - to deny this truth:


“If you are ever in a situation where another person is about to murder you, at that moment you'd trade all your worldly possessions for a firearm. And, if that threat was to kill your child or your grandchild, you'd sell your soul for a gun.” Klein’s Law of Survival (#3 of 16)


The problem with possessing guns in a workplace is how a workplace is defined. Surely, if you were a housepainter contracted to paint the inside of a police station or prison it might be an issue. Would it be practical or a good idea to pack a lethal lead dispenser if you were a lifeguard, belly-dancer or a flight attendant . . . oh, wait, that might be a great plan for friendly-sky aides.


Carrying lethal force on one’s person brings huge responsibilities not only for the carrier, but also for the person and/or corporation that sanctioned the carrying of instruments of lethal force.


Under no circumstance should anyone other than sworn law enforcement officers, or on-duty military personnel and uniformed security guards carry a loaded firearm in the open - unconcealed. Packing heat in an exposed holster (or a slung long gun) while in street clothes is not only an enticement for a child or some snatch-and-grab bozo, but it’s akin to wearing a sign saying to a terrorist/robber/murderer: shoot me first. The exception to this rule would include locations where the employee is behind a secure counter such as a retail jewelry store or a bank, but even then the first target rule still applies. I realize I’m going to catch a lot of static about this, but I base my opinions on life’s experiences that include being an employee, employer, LEO and an ordinary retail customer. In the retail world the customer is king. If an anti-gunner is uncomfortable doing business with your exposed carry employees, you might lose the account – gun banner’s money spends just the same as pro-2A’ers.


Use of lethal force is not the subject of this article. Suffice it to say that civilian employees are not empowered to use lethal force to protect their employer’s physical property (security agents notwithstanding and then only under very restricted conditions). If a lawbreaker, for example, tells a bank teller he has a gun and to give him the money, the teller is not in danger of death or great bodily harm and thus does not need to blast away. However, if the robber points a gun or possibly only displays it . . . that might be a different matter. Key words: if, only, might . . . .


As to “regular” type workplaces, there ain’t any. Each place of employment encompasses special attributes that must be addressed by employers as well as employees. No one would expect a person to CCF in a fireworks factory while on the other hand, it wouldn’t be prudent to expect employees not to carry protection in a gun store. Everything in between is open to negotiation. This means deciding what’s in the best interest of the employees, employer and outsiders. Outsiders include anyone who will be having contact with the workplace personnel. For the employee, it’s clearly a matter of self-protection while the employer’s interest is confined to liability, i.e., what will it cost if an armed employee injures another person – or – an employee is injured because the employer refused to allow that employee to carry a means of self-protection.


Employers not only face civil liability for incidents that occur on their premise or by any employee who is authorized-to-be-armed, but they also could face criminal charges that encompass negligent homicide. In addition, employers might be subjected to OSHA investigations concerning workplace safety and training of employees. In other words, workplace violence, being today’s reality, the question could come down to: did the employer adequately train their employee to handle (read survive) a workplace related lethal force encounter?


It’s hard to imagine a jury accepting an employer’s training for active shooter scenarios that excludes returning fire with fire by instructing employees, to run, hide or attack with their fists.


Regardless of the type of employment facility there must be certain rules that should apply across the board when employees are armed and are acting within the scope of their duties while enjoying the benefits of their employment:


1) Self-defense firearms shall be limited to handguns.


2) Carried handguns must be concealed at all times except (select exemptions apply – see above):


a) When going about without a concealment garment (see #3);


b) When actually engaged in a self-defense situation (whipping out your latest mega-shot/ultra-concealed acquisition to show fellow employees is a no-no);


c) Before entering a posted or restricted area such as a courthouse or police facility.


3) If an armed employee wishes to remove the covering garment, the firearm must be locked in a secure container (usually a desk drawer or locker).


4) Persons carrying a firearm must comply with all local, state and federal laws while carrying on employer business (This means not only the person, per se, but the firearm must be legally compliant). 


5) Intentional violation of these rules should be dismissal and possible notice to local LE agencies (unintentional infractions such as entering restricted areas, sans fair warnings, may be mitigated).


I have carried a concealed firearm on my person or kept one close at hand almost all of my adult life. During this 50 plus years, I have had to rely on a handgun for self-protection on more than one occasion. Though I never had to discharge a firearm in self-defense, the mere presence of a gun turned each of the virulent predicaments around. Had I not had access to a firearm during any of these close encounters of the heart stopping kind – some while under contract of employment - I most assuredly would not be writing this now.


In the final analysis, just because a trained person is armed, doesn't mean that shots need to be fired - the presence of a gun most times is enough of a deterrent to preclude violence. More important, it allows the carrier to project self-confidence and not to transmit fear which some predators can sense.


Please see my book: GUNS IN THE WORKPLACE, A Manual for Private Sector Employers and Employees for additional information on this subject.


Chuck Klein, holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, is a former LEO and author of many books including: INSTINCT COMBAT SHOOTING, Defensive Handgunning for Police, 4th Edition. His website,, contains a contact link.