Had CCW Incident @ Work . . .(Long)
I have had my CHL for almost 9 months now, and like many on this forum, I carry 16/7 wherever legally possible. One of the only places that I do not carry is my 2nd job that I work at part-time on nights and weekends. I have a choice on where I chose to work, and this electronics retail company of course has a no weapons policy. In the employee handbook it states "employees are prohibited from carrying weapons onto company premises"
I of course, do not enjoy having to disarm too work, but as long as I am clocked in and and working for this company, I do what they say. Because the company does not have a list of prohibited weapons, I decided that I will use the state of Texas's list of illegal weapons as my benchmark, so I still carry my Kershaw and a can of OC while at work (but leave my spears and dirks at home :image035:). If I go into my store to just shop or pick up my schedule, I always still carry, because I am off the clock and this store is not posted with a Texas 30.06. When I do work, I usually just change into my work khakis and blue polo in my car, and secure my G26 in the trunk before I go in . . . but this past Sunday was a little different.
On Sunday I was in a situation that was a little different than usual in that I was about to use my 2 door civic as a changing room once again, but being a Sunday there was quite a bit of traffic that kept walking right by my car. Instead of trying to do calisthenics trying to get my pants on with tons of people walking by, I figured I will just take my uniform in the store, change in the bathroom, and just bring my clothes and G26 back to my car.
As soon as I was finished putting on my khaki and tucking in my work shirt, I folded up my rig in my jeans and started to walk back to the front exit. As I get closer, I realize that there is a brand new Loss Prevention guy at the door who is checking everyones receipts, and actually causing a line at the exit.
At this point I was about to turn back around and reexamine my exit, but the line at the door just cleared up and the LP guy gave me eye contact and I knew it would look awfully suspicious if I turned back around and headed to the bathroom . . . so I tried the walk out with confidence where I gave him the head nod and just kept walking to the door. Of course he says "hey, need to go through your jeans real quick before you take off."
I told him "ok, but need to have you come over here for me," as I motion to one of the empty registers where I can have a bit of privacy. He walks over and I say "I have no problems that you need to go through my clothes, but I need to make you aware of something that I have," I pull out my CHL and tell him, that I am legally carrying and that I do have a firearm in a holster secured in the clothes, and that I am go to move it discreetly out of the way so he can check for product. I move the rig aside while keeping it covered from anyone's view, the guy pats down my clothes and says "ok, good to go." I refold my clothes and smile at him and he asks how long I had been carrying and do I carry everywhere. I told him that I had my license for about 9 months or so and that I carry everywhere I legally can. I then said to him, "for security reasons, I need you to please keep this on the down low, that for many reasons I don't like people to know that I have a CHL." He says "sure" and I head out to my car, lock the G26 in the trunk, and thought, well that went ok I guess . . .
About 15 minutes later I have the Manager on Duty walk up to me on the floor and asked that he talk with me for just a minute. He walks with me to a back room and he asks "do you have a firearm on your person?" I tell him that no I do not. He then asks "did you bring a firearm into the store earlier today?" I told him that I had been carrying one legally before the beginning of my shift, and that it had been discussed at LP as I was walking out of the building. He then starts by saying "you can't bring that in here", "we carry cash, you aren't able to carry here", "what if it had fallen out and gone off?" I explained to him that I was carrying before my shift, that the state of Texas legally allows me to carry here, and that I had been acting and handled everything in a safe manner. He then mentions that this company has a no weapons policy and that I was violating company policy. I said yes, the company does have a no weapons policy, but I was not clocked in and working for the company at the time. He then started to talk about how if he was outside of work he could carry his Beretta around anywhere he wanted, but that you can't bring one inside the store. I started to again explain how legally I could, and started to go into a bit of detail about the rules, where he promptly cut me off and said he wasn't here for an education, he just wanted to get some answers from me. I told him that was fine and headed back out onto the sales floor to sell a few more TV's . . .
Another 45 minutes passed and the MOD walks up to me again, with another manager this time as well, and asks to speak with me again. I am thrilled because obviously this news is going to spread and the whole damn store is going to know I CCW. I walk with them again to the back room and he puts down two sheets of paper on the table, thankfully he seems much more calm and collected this time. He has a copy of the employee handbook that I had signed and highlighted the "employees are prohibited from carrying weapons onto company premises". He had a written warning next to it filled out and said "here is company policy you signed off on, here is the write-up that you were violating company policy". He mentioned that he had called HR to verify and that I was in violation. I asked him how am I violating policy when I am not clocked in and working for the company? He asked if I had been in my work shirt when this had happened, and I said yes I was, and because of that reason I will go ahead and sign this write-up. I was able to make a note on the page saying that alleged company policy was violated while employee was off the clock, I signed it without any further resistance. I then said, so obviously I don't carry at work and I won't make the mistake of having a work shirt on like that again, but I am still able to carry when I come into shop off the clock and out of uniform. He said "at no time can you carry weapons on the premises". I asked him to define a weapon, because the HR lawyers had such a vague interpretation. He said according to the state of Texas. I said fine, I know that list quite well and rattled off a few of the illegal weapons. He even tried to but in and say knives over 3" as he glanced at my Kershaw, and I corrected him and let him know that in Texas it is 5 1/2 inches. After that, I apologized to both managers for any type of misunderstanding or making anyone nervous. I told them that at no time was I aware I was breaking any rules, and that my interpretation of the rules I still believe I did nothing wrong. I then reassured them that at no time do I carry at work, and they have nothing to worry about, and that I will take extra caution in the future to make sure nothing like this happens again. We left the room and that was that . . .
One other note on this, I worked again on Monday, and while I was bringing product to the front, a different LP rep said to me, "so you brought a gun into the store yesterday?" I immediately stepped close to him and asked that he lower his voice a bit and said "I have a CHL, and I did have my carry with me yesterday, but where did you hear that from?" He mentioned that he had heard it from the other LP reps (so much for discretion). I asked him if anyone else knew, and he said no it should just be the LP guys and the store mangers (about 10 people). I told him fine but make sure that this information stays quiet. Turns out this LP guy was not military but had a job that has quite a bit of similar training, and his Dad is an LEO, so he we talked for about 15 minutes about various things, and he was real cool about it. And a different manager that was on duty that night came up while I was at the desk and I asked him if he had heard about the incident last night, and he said, "yeah, but you have your CHL right . . .?" Turns out that he was CHL, but let it lapse last year, and he asked me what I carried, and said that he thought it was no problem to carry off the clock in the store, but having my work shirt on was the problem.
Monday Morning Quarterback :
There are a few things that I wish I had done differently . . .
1) In hindsight, it was probably easiest just to secure my G26 in the car initially and not carry in the store merely to change clothes. I believe I should carry every possible second that I am allowed, because we never know what might happen, but sometimes this might not always be the smartest of ideas.
2) I also could have gone to the trouble of just wearing my rig out of the store IWB as usual, with my undershirt untucked, because I know for a fact that LP can't touch or frisk you at the door.
3) I should have been aware of the new eager LP guy at the door and noticed with enough distance to turn around and explore other options.
4) I should have not really said anything at all to the MOD, just let him talk and say fine, and sign whatever he needed me too . . . this manager is just a middle man and doesn't have any immediate power, and I should have just dealt directly with the store General Manager or the HR department.
All in all, I think it will turn out ok . . . I wish I had done some things different, but I think things went as well as they could have.
I was hoping for thoughts and opinions from everyone on what went well, or what could have been handled differently. Sorry again for the length, I know I don't write as well as Lima of Janq, but I tried to give enough details to tell the whole story.