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Stand-your-ground laws prohibit civil suits against armed self-defenders cleared in criminal court. The prohibition doesn’t cover their employers. As you might imagine, insurance companies won’t touch that one with a ten-foot-pole.

So, while independent businesses like jewelry stores and privately-owned Stop ‘N Rob convenience stores “allow” employees to tool up, the number of franchised businesses willing to take that risk is, basically, zero. But if Circle-K, Checkers, Pizza Hut, etc. employees could carry, should they do it openly or concealed?

Have you ever seen any business (other than a gun store) with open carry employees?

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  1. Well, yeah, saw it right here at TTAG–a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado (of all places) with a covey of pistol-packin’ waitresses–and a coffee shop in, what was it, Washington State, with another similarly-accoutered flock of armed honeys. One of my colleagues in the precious-metals trade hereabouts does the same -carries openly in his shop, concealed when he leaves. Sometimes do it myself, although generally my gat is either on the desk right next to my hand or in my pocket.

  2. I think in places like Ohio where one must pay for the licensed privilege of concealed carry, the employees ought to have the option to exercise their right to open carry. When the right in a state encompasses both, I don’t think the employer would be out of bounds to request the employees conceal where practical. Although, I do think that employees OCing would go a long way in normalizing the individual bearing of arms in public.

    As to the lawsuits… I the employer isn’t requiring the employees to carry, I am surprised that when the primary actor (the employee) is immune from civil liability, the employer is then on the hook. There’s something very wrong with the system if the employer can be successfully sued in such a case. No doubt it happens but it’s wrong, IMHO.

  3. Neither; they should be able to touch a toe switch and drop the bad gut thirty feet onto poisoned spikes in a pit of acid.

    Failing that option, it’s an individual decision.

    I have to ask every customer if they want their panic button to be loud or silent, as there are two schools of thought. Silent is good in a home invasion, as they won’t know that you pushed it and get all irate, whereas a blaring exterior siren might scare away modern Vikings on one’s porch.

    When I carry on a job site, I carry open; that’s just me.

    • Come now, even if such a reasonable universe existed, you know bureaucrats would require their to be a grip, trigger, and thumb safety on the activation panel. Can’t have a defensive item be easy to use now, can we?

  4. Depends on the location. If the business is in a fairly gun-friendly area, open is better. If it’s in a fairly anti-gun area, the store will go out of business due to the lack of customers, so concealed is the way to go.

  5. If there is only one clerk then concealed is the way to go with a shotgun out of view behind the counter. Two or more then open for the deterrence effect.

    • One busy clerk is an easy target if the bad guy chooses to execute him. An apparently unarmed person will probably be ignored.

      But more is no guaranty of safety. In Minneapolis about 10 years ago a group of Detroit gang members (visiting to scope new markets) at closing time entered a gun shop with guns blazing and murdered 3 openly armed clerks. The lead killer was a Detroit Judge’s son. They said they came in shooting because they knew the employees were armed openly.

      • I think we agree on the guy alone.

        Your example isn’t likely to happen at your local Quick Trip. Obviously the gangbangers came well prepared to take out the gun store clerks. They would have done that if they were unarmed.

      • big boy,

        A determined hit squad is probably going to kill their targets just about every time. There isn’t much that anyone can do about that.

      • Could you provide some details to this story? The name of the alleged Detroit gang, the name of the gun shop, any kind of a detail that might help find this? I get exactly zero hits, no matter how I word the search. This sounds like a good story, if it actually happened, and isnt just “something” you heard “somewhere”.

    • Yep. As I believe for everywhere else in public, a mixture of concealed and open carry is the most effective. The OC reminds criminals that people are armed and the CC keeps them guessing exactly who else is armed.

  6. I’ve seen OC in liquor stores and jewelry stores, but it matters to me so little that I don’t recall the states offhand. It is a rare gun store or range that does not have OC employees, yet it seems every year some bunch of yahoos try to rob one or two.

  7. I go back and forth on the merits of open carry, but in a high-crime industry such as gas stations, you’d better believe I’m in on Team Open Carry.

  8. In a small city by me in upstate NY there is a busy coffee shop restaurant where the owner, who runs the register makes drinks and manages his employees wears a Beretta 92 on his hip openly. Nobody seems bothered by it and the place is always busy.

    • I wouldn’t go for the ankle gun while trying to drive a car. Especially when you have to use defensive driving moves. Appendix carry is best for the seated position.

      • I keep a spare holster in the car. When I’m driving I unholster from appendix carry and place the gun in the center console for easy reach.

        • My Walther spends a great deal of time resting between driver seat and center console, not enough room to put a dedicated vehicle holster.

          Does “CW3” mean you are, or were, a stickman in one of them whirly bird machines that are so much fun to ride in? Most of the chopper pilots I knew carried the issue shoulder rigs, though several had a holster on the righthand base of seat, and one had a Bianca leather holster clipped to the console edge.

  9. A couple tangent thoughts:
    “Stand-your-ground laws prohibit civil suits against armed self-defenders cleared in criminal court.” True. This presumes the defender was charged with a crime, went to court, found not guilty, and cleared of the crime. However, most shootings that the DA considers as obvious self defense shootings are never charged in the first place, which leaves the door open for civil action. Either way, every bullet has a lawyer attached to it.

    Also, the comment, “As to the lawsuits… I the employer isn’t requiring the employees to carry, I am surprised that when the primary actor (the employee) is immune from civil liability, the employer is then on the hook.”

    While an employee is acting as an agent of his/her employer (store clerk, security guard, meter reader, truck driver, etc.), the employer is liable for the employee’s actions.

    • You took my quote out of context. I didn’t state that they weren’t liable. What I stated was that the employer ought not be liable when the employer doesn’t require the employee to carry and the employee has immunity under the law. My statement was that even though it happens, it is wrong that it does. 😉

      Here is the rest of my quote:
      There’s something very wrong with the system if the employer can be successfully sued in such a case. No doubt it happens but it’s wrong, IMHO.

    • And yet, the employer isn’t responsible for their employee’s safety. That’s why it’s easy for them to disallow employee carry.

      • Yet another of the “catch 22s” we live under in today’s western societies. When enough people wake up to the stupidity, then we can all return to being self-employed, like back in the day when the USA was the light of the world and admired planetwide. You know, the days that no longer exist.

  10. Open-carry. Concealed-carry.

    I look at it the same way I look at -Americans.

    Drop the first part, just carry.

  11. The owner of the local deli that I like to frequent open carries. I couldn’t tell what he was carrying, it looks like a Smith Shield, but I am sure it is a deterrent to morons. Plus almost every time I go there, there is also a customer that is there who is also carrying. When I get my permission slip to carry concealed here, then I will join the club once again.

  12. As someone who has worked retail, worked alone, and worked at a Stop N Rob, I’d vote open carry. Unfortunately I live in Massachusetts.

  13. Not a huge fan of open carry. It may deter some, but for most would be muggers etc, it just means they will “plan around” the fact that you are carrying, and their plan will certainly include the fact that you will be disarmed!
    Would you put your gun safe facing a window, so the whole neighborhood can see that you own guns? Then why “advertise” the fact that you are armed, taking away the “element of surprise”

    • Most professional criminals don’t bother with “Stop-n-Rob’s”. Got no readily accessible cash because a “drop safe” is used.
      Amateurs don’t like “plan-arounds”, as they usually don’t do much “planning” anyway.
      They just pass up the shops that pose the most threat and hit a weaker one.
      Me thinks!.

      • And you thinks… correctly!
        A professional thief won’t bother with a convenience store, those are crimes of the moment, w/o planning. If the clerk is openly armed, they will mostly choose a different target elsewhere. There are lots more of these kinds of fish in the sea. Lots of corporate owned stores that demand their clerks be easy victims.
        There just isn’t much that can be done about a professionally planned and executed robbery. If the payoff is big enough to lure the pros, history has shown that anyplace can be robbed. But what do the powers that be do when they move a lot of value around? You don’t see too many armored trucks or trains,or sometimes aircraft, moving without OPENLY ARMED guards on them, do you?
        That should be all one needs to settle the debate on this page. History has spoken. Large amounts of money, in one form or the other, are always accompanied by openly armed guards, and have been since the invention of the firearm. And also the sword, all the way back to Rome and before. It is simply what works.

    • “Would you put your gun safe facing a window, so the whole neighborhood can see that you own guns? Then why ‘advertise the fact that you are armed, taking away the ‘element of surprise'”

      No, I would not install my gun safe facing a window in a populated neighborhood. Why? Because I’m not there to defend my gun safe. I’m always there to defend my openly-carried handgun. Part 1 of your comment doesn’t hold water.

      I don’t “advertise the fact that I’m armed” unless I’m at a rally with signs and such. When I openly carry my handgun, I put it on and go about my business. Part 2 of your comment doesn’t hold water.

      The “element of surprise” is an offensive or counter-offensive tactic. Not defensive. Talking about the “element of surprise” in concealed carry sounds like you are baiting someone into robbing you just so you can say “Ah-HAAA” and shoot them. If you want to use military terms, then you must recognize that zero military tactics involve inviting the enemy to attack you unless it’s a trap and you have serious backup. Try explaining that to a lawyer after a DGU. Part 3 of your comment doesn’t hold water.

      Overall, your comment is as effective as trying to catch rainwater with a screen door. However, everything that I have written is my opinion. It is not set-in-stone fact. Take what you will, make what you will of it, or disregard it entirely. Just know I have no malice towards you. Have a nice day.

      • Thanks for the” no malice” part.
        Actually this subject “open or concealed carry” has been kicked around on this blog to a painful extent. I’m just expressing my views, as other have expressed theirs.
        The one time I would feel OK with open carry, is when most everyone else in the room was also open carrying.

  14. A Paoli Indiana gun shop (Guns, Knives and More LLC) is about to open a steak house and he says everyone will be open carrying there. And I’m in the mood for a steak about now too.

  15. Shell gas station off I-5 in Stockton. Guy in booth had what looked like a police surplus 870 Remington laying on the counter in front of him. It certainly had the carried in a cruiser look.

    Right up the street from there was a McD’s with a turntable at the drive thru. Rough place, Stockton.

  16. Open, because I like to see guns.

    Concealed, because in a store situation it makes better tactical sense.

  17. I’d say whichever the employee and employer can agree upon.
    As others here have said, why not both ?
    Open carry could deter the violent crime from happening at all.

  18. It all depends on the nature of your business. A 24-hour convenience store has different security needs than a lumberyard.

  19. Concealed, and the reason why? Because if people see a firearm in plain sight they tend to believe that it’s not safe to shop there. There have been some studies at banking institutions that the presence of armed guards tends to make customers believe this.

    • General public perception won’t change until people carry in the open; everyday, everywhere. Following your suggestion is to give up on the potential for the armed individuals to be accepted as common place in everyday life.

      • A business owner’s main concern is to turn a profit, not advocate or increase the awareness of open carry. If you consider the Pareto Principle and the fact it cost approximately 5 times as much to gain a customer than to retain one open carry from a business perspective doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        Now with some businesses, due to its clientele, open carry would have the exact opposite effect or none at all. A good business owner would have to determine the cost analysis of such a decision.

      • Also it’s not the guns per se. It’s that people tend to believe it’s not safe because they think the place gets robbed all the time if there’s an open display of guns. I may have not made that clear in my first post.

        • You made it clear. I get it and I don’t totally disagree. However, I believe that there is middle ground where businesses have the opportunity to give it a try to some degree and see how it pans out. I believe that overall the influence would be positive. There would be some here and there that might have to scale back to concealed only but the net effect could be a large move towards normalization.

      • A business owner’s main concern is to turn a profit, not advocate or increase the awareness of open carry.

        I’ve managed moderately successful businesses in the past and, yes, primarily it is about turning a profit. However, not all business owners are without scruples or morals. Their are plenty of business that support causes and not all of their customers agree with it. What better place for a community conscious, Liberty loving business owner to attempt to make a positive difference than by allowing employees and patrons to open carry?

        Because if people see a firearm in plain sight they tend to believe that it’s not safe to shop there.

        Change has to come sometime; from somewhere. That was my point. It might not work every time but like minded businesses could try. Again, throwing the blanket that you did over the question resigns our society to an ever increasing negative attitude towards the armed individual. That doesn’t bode well for the individual right to keep and bear arms.

  20. Hmmm…I’ve been to gun shops where no one open carried…But a couple of the guys showed me their concealed guns. This was in Indiana. In Illinois most of the owners and employees carry open. Not what one would expect…

    • One of the Pawn & Gun shops I worked at had us concealed carry. It was also a high volume jewelry store that the owner wanted to brand as ‘Upscale”, he thought OC might bother the higher end clientele he was hoping to attract.

      It didn’t bother me in the least as we always had at least 3 behind the counter and along with our concealed carry there were guns behind the counter every few feet.

  21. Why is the goober standing at the counter w/ the GF unarmed? I would have came to the counter, under the pretext of taking out my wallet, pulled my gun and popped a few rounds in the BG’s head. We all need to look out for each other.

  22. If they want to keep their carry piece in the event that they were robbed than I would recommend concealed carry. If the thief has the element of surprise than the thief gets what he wants plus a new piece.

  23. My employer, like most corporations who toe the insurance company line, does not allow any guns on their property.

    Except one inner city store where an employee was shot and killed.

    The ridiculous American thought process that decision makers go thru is to ignore potential threats to life until someone is killed. THEN they rethink it because the obvious stupidity of what they previously decided is visited upon them as reality. Because we do make decisions based on a level of unacceptable risk, it doesn’t take too many incidents to change someone’s mind.

    What was the original concept about “guns in schools?” Zero tolerance. Now? Armed LEO’s and the introduction of training and certification for those in administration, even classroom teachers, to carry.

    This is where the anti gunners lose – once their victim zones are exploited, and unfortunately, predators can and do look for them – then the repercussion is that even previously dedicated “antis” take a change of heart. Humans make a new decision.

    Frankly, the harder states like CA crack down and legislate stupidity, the sooner the pendulum will swing and the electorate see the handwriting on the wall. Like Colorado they will vote the idiots out and restore more common sense.

    How soon does that start happening? When MEN stop catering to WOMEN and stand THEIR ground over it.

    The battle ground is the middle class suburban home, not the retail store, because McMansionville is where all the suits working in the halls of Corporate and State politics are letting their women make their decisions.

    Hey, guys, take a cold shower and tell HER no for a few weeks instead of selling the 2A for a quickie . Be the man and let them tough it out without your cooperation. Ya think the Xmas decorations will put themselves away, or their car can change it’s own oil? Not happening.

    Frankly, the problem exists in societies where white males cater to women and do whatever they want as if the little woman is in charge. It’s really no different than a women victimized by a beater – a suburban middle class male who kowtows to his arm candy to maintain marital privileges.

    We don’t see the issue in states that have a fair and balanced point of view.

  24. Holy crap… the two customers thought nothing of it and just stood there. Is there a Condition in Cooper’s color spectrum that goes lower than “White,” indicating STUPID?

  25. As I have posted on this forum numerous times in various related stories, there is a truck stop close to my home in our community and located on a major through road. After opening, they had many armed robberies within the first few months of their operation. Finally, the owner and clerks had enough. The owner provided training and began to require new hires to understand they would be expected to take the free training course and open carry. All clerks and employees now open carry. Since this policy was implemented, there has not been one robbery. It went from an average of about 1 robbery per month, to no robberies now in six years.

    I do not know about insurance considerations, but there are no robberies and inventory shrinkage went down to practically zero as well.

    My neighbors and I now frequent this convenient store-gas station-truck stop regularly for various reasons, including coffee early mornings (and not $7 a cup at a defenseless Buck of Stars open for robbery), gasoline and diesel, and other things they sell. It is always busy, even at 3 AM. Business is booming the manager tells me.

  26. Saying “giant shotguns” then showing a sawed-off double barrel is about as dumb as a circus advertising “huge midgets” when it’s just regular people in over-sized clothing.

  27. Having been robbed with a fillet knife while working at a gas station when I was 17, I would have to say concealed. The robber reached across his knife hand to grab my Co workers money off the counter. That’s when I felt around behind me trying to find the steel framed chair that was normally there but got moved. He would of been distracted long enough to draw while stepping back and shoot.

  28. I’m in Indiana and regularly carry openly in a small business retail setting. I receive many positive comments from the customers, as most people feel it is necessary in our society to see visible firearms for deterrent to criminal activity. This is my first post, as it is the second today, I will be open carrying at work today. Been a reader here for a while, this topic just hit a little close to home for me. Carry on, every 2nd matters…

  29. Any chance you can get rid of the autoplay ads, kinda annoying when you are trying to watch a video!!

  30. “But if Hess, Checkers, Pizza Hut, etc. employees could carry, should they do it openly or concealed?”


  31. A previous poster said that open carry makes more tactical sense when there are more than one doing it; A BG can’t target just one person. While open carry is a deterrent, it also attracts trouble. If there is only a single person, than the BG might shoot first if he knows the clerk carries. Concealed carry works best when there are a number of businesses in an area that have clerks carry concealed and the BGs know this, but not which businesses.

    This all presumes that the BGs plan their robbery. As someone else said this isn’t likely the case for convenience stores or gas stations. However you carry the gun must be easily accessible because you won’t have much time. There is no clear cut answer because the circumstances are all different; it’s a crap shoot.

  32. I work at a pawn shop that semi-recently decided to go into the gun biz in a big way (hence my hiring). this company is EXTREMELY large, and allows no employee to have firearms on property, including in their car. “reasonable suspicion” of breaking this rule is grounds for firing. recently, the pizza place about a block down from us was robbed, and a manager was shot in the face. now i understand corporately, if i shot someone, my employer would be facing a lawsuit. what my employer doesnt realize is that if someone decides to rob us, I intend to sue them to kingdom come for removing my God given right to self defense. at some point employers have to make a decision-do I value the almight dollar (or a few extra of them to pay insurance), or do I value my employees enough to give them a chance to defend themselves?

    I always encourage people to NEVER do business with Academy, Gander Mountain, Scheels, bass pro…any place that is a “high risk target” (guns or large amounts of cash) and does not allow employees to defend themselves. Making decisions on where you spend your money with facts like this in mind are part of our responsibilities as supporters of the 2nd amendment.

    • You need to point out to them that almost all gun shops have clerks that carry. Otherwise it would be too attractive for someone to rob all the guns.

  33. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to carry a gun open or concealed because nothing works against “giant shotguns” – Shannon Watts

  34. Concealed, open carry makes you a Target. Any trained professional knows this, but the presence of an armed person also has it’s deterring effect or we wouldn’t have the world’s largest security industry. I have a brother that fell much closer to the tree than I did tell me the cashier at his frequently visited head shop open carries. As far as the last question of this article, Have you seen many gun stores get Strong Arm Robbed? I wont hold my breath for the answer. For God and Country, Carry On Patriots!

    • I have been a soldier, cab driver and now a cashier in a convenience store. I carried in all three jobs. The last two have been 30+ years, in one of the most dangerous small, big cities in the south. I say that because I have seen a lot…& to say no two situations have been alike, so there isn’t a right or wrong answer, each situation is unique. I open carried in cab, canceled behind the register. Either way, range time from both positions is what I recommend.

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