RE: Possession of weapons in a financial institution
On the afternoon of Thursday June 16, 2005, I was asked to leave the Wells Fargo branch on the corner of Minnesota and Benson Blvd’s by what I assume was a Security Manager, because I was lawfully carrying a holstered weapon on my hip, commonly referred to as 'open carry.'
The person I spoke with was very polite, and asked that I exit and leave my weapon in my vehicle. I asked a couple of questions, trying to ascertain if this was because of some unwritten policy, or perhaps a misinterpretation of law. Unfortunately no satisfactory answer was given.
I did comply however, and disarmed while doing my business in the bank. To make sure I wasn’t breaking the law I did research the matter, and did discover that at one time, possession of a weapon (concealed or open) was unlawful while in a financial institution. This section of the law was repealed in 1998. There is no doubt in my mind that you will have this researched on your own to verify this.
I mentioned to the lady from security that if it is indeed mere policy of this particular bank, then the entrance to the bank does need to be posted with a sign stating such. There is a state statute that advises the sign be 12”x12” and be placed in conspicuous places so that all who enter can see it.
Considering that Alaska has very common sense laws regarding firearms, and that open carry is indeed lawful anywhere that concealed carry is lawful, it would surprise me if the Wells Fargo financial institution does post a sign prohibiting weapons.
And the reason it would surprise me is that anyone with an ounce of common sense would realize that only those who are mindful of obeying the law would ever abide by this. Criminals know that much as well. A law-abiding person such as myself would follow the direction to be unarmed while in your institution, but a criminal will not.
I implore you to ask yourself “What do I know about those who lawfully carry concealed (or openly for that matter) a weapon?”
- Are you aware that permit-holders have submitted fingerprints to the State and undergone both state and federal background checks to ensure they have no criminal record?
- Are you aware that permit-holders have passed firearms training and know proper weapons handling?
- Are you aware that permit-holders have enjoyed the privilege of Alaska’s laws regarding concealed carry and the justifiable use of deadly force fully explained by either a representative from the District Attorney’s office or the Anchorage Police Department?
I do understand that a financial institution does have legitimate concerns to protect its interests from criminals, and this is where the apprehension of customers that are armed comes from. However the safety of the individual customer is compromised if they are expected to conduct their business without having the best means available to defend themselves at hand. Would Wells Fargo’s liability insurance cover a customer that gets mugged while leaving the bank and their weapon is not on them, but secured in their vehicle? Can Wells Fargo ensure my safety while I am disarmed and conducting business on their premises?
Please feel free to write me a letter if you wish to express the concerns of your financial institution regarding this matter.