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Over on yesterday’s Question of the Day (Have You Ever Felt You Needed A Gun and Didn’t Have One?), Commentator LK is stuck on the horns of dilemma. Perhaps members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia could give her some guidance? Much obliged.

The trigger episode (pun not intended, well yeah .. it is) that prompted my decision to get my permit and a gun was when there was a car jacking right outside the apartment in which my two teens and I were living. I heard about it on the TV news. They gave a description of the guy and I knew exactly who it was. I called the sheriff’s office to tell them where to find the dude, and waiting to hear on the news he had been apprehended. And waited, and waited. And I saw him out an about several times in the next few days. The neighbor who was the victim eventually recanted his story, even though several witnesses backed it up. A few days later, he disappeared. He and his family very quietly moved out. I moved a few weeks later, but was terrified anytime I saw this guy . . .

Oh yeah … I’m a little 5’1″ middle aged chick. Dude was big, huge and tall … and ran with rough trade. I won’t offer any further description lest I be accused of racism … IYKWIM.

Anyway, post HGC permit, and owner of a handgun, there was a recent experience that has left me pondering my priorities. My workplace does not allow guns on the premises. I am OK with that, the office is located in a very safe area, on a dead end street with only other office buildings. I have a 30 foot walk from the building to my car. So, I leave my handgun locked in the car while at work.

This particular day, I did not re-holster it prior to going to [big box discount warehouse that does not have muddy carry policies] and left it locked up while I shopped. On the way back to the car, I was approached by a young man who was giving me a crazy song and dance about his truck being out of gas, he has money but only on a debit card that the gas pump was refusing yadda yadda … meanwhile, trying to stop my progress towards my car by standing in my path. I angled out towards the middle of the road so as to bring attention to the situation, while telling him I had no cash. That’s OK, he said, just use your card to put a couple dollars in, you can drive me over there.

No freakin’ way was I going to let him get anywhere near my car, but that was where my gun was. Just as I was about to turn around and run back to the store, he gave up and walked off … and I watched him get into a truck with someone else at the wheel and they drove off. So, yeah … after totally berating myself for being so dumb to leave the gun in the car, I swore I would never leave it behind again. How I felt was completely vulnerable and defenseless. And dumb … really, really dumb.

So now I have a real dilemma. As I said, my workplace does not allow guns in the building. Where we are now, that’s OK, but we are moving from our remote, suburban locale to smack dab in the middle of downtown. Instead of a 30 foot walk to the door, I will have to park in a public garage and walk a block over to the office building. The building itself has armed security, and the garage is regularly patrolled by the city police. But still … They can’t be in all places at all times. Now I am trying to decide what to do. If I go unarmed to and from the office, that leaves me without my preferred tool of self-defense.

If I carry against the rules of the company (and I believe the building is posted too) I risk losing my job, even if it is revealed that I am carrying while in defense of myself or another. If caught carrying in a posted location in which there is no need for defense (someone just sees it), that brings legal issues in addition to loss of job. BTW, most of my co-workers are very pro 2A, many have their permits and own handguns. Our parking lot is very well-armed.

Being caught in this situation is very frustrating, and I still haven’t decided which way to go … and no, quitting is not an option. Negotiating with the company isn’t either … it is a company-wide policy, and the company is a Fortune 10 corporation .. not One Hundred, TEN. I’m just a teeny peon at the bottom, so if I don’t like the policies, I am sure I will be shown the door. Making a stand for my rights against versus losing my livelihood? Not gonna happen unless I happen to win the lottery.

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  1. How many different ways can you spell SCREWED, because you are if you do carry and if you don’t carry. GOOD LUCK

  2. So the choice that this person is facing would be: risk leaving her kids orphaned, or find a way to carry where she isn’t supposed to?

    A small gun like a Kel-Tec P32 is easy to conceal, and better than no gun at all. And (as long as this person keeps quiet about it) unless this person works as a lifeguard or a stripper, or works with powerful magnets and has to remove all metal articles at work, it is highly unlikely the company will find out about it.

      • +1. Might also take a look at the North American Arms mini-revolvers in .22 or .22mag. Small enough to disappear in a pocket (using a pocket holster) very light and unobtrusive. Unless they run you through a metal detector, no one should realize you have it as long as you NEVER SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT TO ANYBODY, no matter how pro-2nd Amendment they are, no matter how much of a friend they are. NEVER mention to any one that you are carrying. (“Three may keep a secret if two of them be dead.” – Ben Franklin??) If you have to use it to protect your life, the loss of your job will be way down on the list of “things to worry about”.

        • I carry a NAA 22 mag every day, my current employer is ok with it, but even when employers are not, no one ever needs to know unless I need to use it, and we will deal with the consequences then. I even have a laser site on it. very reliable, and lethal at close range. No one will rob you from across the street.

  3. You are indeed stuck firmly upon the horns of a dilemma. I see only a couple of options that are potentially viable in your particular predicament. Option one is to start carrying an alternative defensive tool (I.e. pepper spray or a tazer) between your workplace and vehicle. Option two is to try to work with building security (after explaining your predicament and providing a case # or copy of the police report that you filed) at your new location and see if they will allow you to store your handgun in a self-provided safe at the security office. I’m not fond of the B.S. micky-mouse restrictions that are laid upon law-abiding firearms owners, but we have to work within the lines to keep our rights from being further infringed upon.

  4. That’s basically the dilemma of every office worker who carries. As a fellow small cog(physically larger, but an assailant with an equalizer can negate that fast enough), I understand where you’re coming from. With policies set by lawyers adverse to risk and even the appearance of risk, it’s no surprise. All you can really do here is risk analysis. Are you more likely to be caught without a gun when you need it or caught with one when you don’t? Either way, good luck. Could be worse, at least it sounds like you work in a state where it’s illegal for companies to bar you from having arms in your car. I’ve heard plenty of stories from gun owners who risk being fired if they are caught with a gun in the glove box. The decision gets a bit harder for those poor souls.

    @Forester: if her company is anything like mine, official policies will bar those alternative tools as well. A pocket flashlight built well enough to thump somebody with and a extra stout pen are about all you can get away with.

  5. Sounds like a Kimber pepper blaster or Taser is your only option. While not the trump card, it gives you options. If the biggest area of contention is the 30 ft. walk to the car, this would give you a means to create distance while the receiver is incapacitated so you could (a) get to the relative security of inside the building or (b) back to the car to regroup (and rearm). There are many places I have to go in my city where I can’t carry. Sure, I could get away with it. But as responsible gun owners, what message do we send if we try to encourage “carry everywhere and damn the consequences”. Sure, its a plus for our protection, but a detractor for our cause if everyone takes up that idea and “the uncontrollable gun nuts” we are labeled with show ourselves as “unmanageable”. There was once a time, before any of us had a carry permit, we were unarmed more than not. You still have options though like the pepper spray or Taser, even a expandable ASP baton. While not the ideal, stand off, defense weapon; If Bad Guy sees you snap the ASP (and more importantly) connect with his jaw, his view of the world will probably change (and be filled with lots of little blue stars). The fine art of avoidance should help clear the way for the short parking garage stroll. Heck, pack a 200 Lumen tactical light also. If blinding someone (IF the opportunity was there) didnt help, the scalloped end in an eye socket is better than nothing. While it doesnt go bang, you always have options. You get inside, more than likely have access close by to a fire extinguisher. Preferable, no. Workable, better than nothing. I recently had to do jury duty for 3 weeks. A 4 block walk to the courthouse in a Metro city. Size your options up: safe havens (public buildings), questionable areas where BG could await their next victim, improvised weapons, (fire extinguishers, chairs, anything heavy). Always develop options for Plan B, C, D…..Even if you CAN carry. The firearm is a great equalizer, but doesn’t mean you will win, or that Murphy isn’t waiting for you too.

    • I agree – pepper spray and/or taser. No to “carry everywhere and damn the consequences”, for all the reasons you said.

  6. The disarmed zones are where you need to be careful. The smarter thugs know you value your job or reputation enough to be unarmed, even if they have no idea whether you carry or not. Everyone assumes they are safe, most people have this belief that the 2nd amendment is on duty 24/7, but lawyers and do-gooders strip it away surprisingly easy.

    A look at the WI CCW law reveals how neutered carry laws become to get a quorum to support. The Federal government issues blanket restrictions which trump still more, with Post Offices and court houses at the top of the list. Personally the PO employees seem to be the problem more than the customers but that is another story.

    It’s a tough call but if you value your life and body enough get a P3-AT and keep it to yourself. If someone wants to ban your right to carry they assume responsibility for your safety, and Hope for that to work out is in short supply.

    • See, that’s why I think the Wisconson legislature should have taken up concealed carry while the Dems were hiding out in Illinois over public sector collective bargaining privileges. As I understand it, they didn’t need a quorum to take up bills that wouldn’t spend or raise money. So they missed a huge opportunity to enact Vermont-style constitutional carry, which would have had no revenue impact. It might have also enticed the Democrats to come back to water down the bill.

  7. I had to deal with this exact dilemma at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. I taught a night to class to mostly female undergraduates in a building on the edge of campus towards the homeless shelter. Just peachy.

    My students had to find two partners in the class (a primary and a secondary) that would leave class with each other. I took roll at the end of class and only when the students presented themselves in pairs with their partners. We would recite a security mantra that was typed on the partner sheet. It covered leaving the building only after surveying the area, looking under cars as you approached the parking lot, looking in your vehicle before you get in, yadda yadda.

    I made them develop situational awareness and personal routines that ensured they would not be victims caught unaware. Weak soup, but legally it was my only option as CCW is not allowed on UT campuses. You have to work with the options and environment you control. Have a co-worker walk with you. Start an office program of buddy teams and alternates. Whatever non-lethal options your employers will allow, obviously pack. Have your office manager/supervisor engage a reputable security consultant to lead a personal safety workshop. Start an office safety program and start sending recommendations up to management.

    A Fortune 10 company is not a stupid company. They can and will respond to employee safety concerns. They will want to be seen by the employees as concerned. No, the corporate powers that be may not ever allow CCW. But they probably are willing to sponsor changes in the work environment that will eliminate some concerns. They certainly don’t want to be in a lawsuit for allowing an employee to be harmed. It is not the settlement, it is the bad publicity.

  8. No one has mentioned self-defense classes. There are techniques a petite woman can use to disable a large attacker — every woman should know them. I would also check the company policy and see if you can carry pepper spray, tasers, knives or batons. If those aren’t allowed, go for a defensive flashlight, “tactical pen,” or a heavy umbrella.

    Another tactic — arrange to park near co-workers and leave in groups.

    • To clarify-fighting, like shooting, requires practice. Unless she puts in the time to become a contender in the 90lb class in the UFC AND practices banned techniques on the side, there is no way that a small woman can defeat a large criminal.

      Aside from size and strength, criminals also have more opportunities to practice fighting in real-world scenarios.

      • There’s a subtle difference between “fighting” and “defending yourself”. If you’re willing to bite off a nose or ear and push your fingers to the back of someone’s occular cavity you can do something to defend yourself no matter what the size differential is.

        Is that as good as packing a gun? Of course not. But it’s better than nothing.

        • No one has mentioned it, but if the young man had wanted to do harm to the poster, her gun would, no doubt, have been as useless on her as in the car. It sounds like he was very close, and there would not be time to pull out the weapon if he had attacked. Fighting back would have been the most likely outcome even if she had been armed.

  9. A pocket pistol tucked away in your purse would never be noticed, unless someone either rifled through the purse or it fell out of your hands so catastrophically that all the contents went flying.

    Also, as Sid mentioned, forming a buddy system for leaving the building might also be a good idea.

  10. I lke the idea of pepper blaster or taser. The taser has a whole lot of “oh shit” value. While the pepper blaster is effective, it runs the risk of being perceived as “cute.” I’m a fan of a good fixed blade knife.

  11. I would just carry and don’t get caught. In Missouri having a handgun in a “gun free zone” (that’s not a school) is at most a ticket. If you shoot someone, life as you know it is over. The decision to be judged by twelve rather than carried by six has already been made. Pepper spray is a good idea, too. I carry Mace Pepper Gel.

    Kimber Pepper Blaster

    Mace Pepper Gel

  12. “Our parking lot is very well armed.”

    Funny. Based on my recent experience, I read that as “Our parking lot is a car burglar’s wet dream.”

    I can only hope the OP has no gun-related bumper stickers or an NRA window decal. Might as well just tie a ribbon to the antenna and put a note on the window that says “free gun, just break glass.”

  13. There is no dilemma. Either you’re a law-abiding gun owner or you’re not. The fact that you’re telling us about the situation that frightened you is proof that you did not need your gun.

    You guys have to learn to separate your fantasy need for a gun and your fear and insecurity which can be eased by having one.

    • I took a shit yesterday and didn’t wipe my ass. No ill effects were noted. Now I know I don’t need to ever wipe my ass again. I successfully learned to separate my fantasy need for tp and my fear and insecurity that is eased by having some.

    • Ahh, Mikey … figures you would pop up here. How are things at the Rome office of the UN? Still trying to dismantle the protections of our God-given, inalienable rights enumerated in the US Constitution, I see.

      Let me ask you this …
      Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? The fact that you can answer that is proof that you have not yet had a need for one. You need to learn to separate your fantasy need for a fire extinguisher and your fear and insecurity which can be eased by having one.

    • In the words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Did your parents have any children who lived?

      In the words of Qui-Gon Gin: The ability to speak does not make you intelligent. Now get out of here.

      The people who needed a gun and did not have it are no longer able to post on this site or any other. They are gone. Or, they needed a gun and didn’t have it and now someone they could have protected is no longer with us. These are not our fantasies.

    • One other thing here, MikeyB, Rome office of the UN:

      I do not carry a gun because I NEED to.

      The only need involved here is my need to protect and defend my safety and my life. That is MY responsibility, and mine alone. A gun is one of the tools that I CHOOSE to have to fulfill that responsibility. My inalienable, natural, God-given right to self-defense is protected by the US Constitution, and explicity enumerated in the 2nd Amendment that I may choose to do so by carrying and using a firearm.

      So … by what method do you fulfill your responsibility for your own safety and self-defense? Call the police and hope they arrive before the bad guy does too much damage? Hope to be able to outrun the bad guy? Scream like a girl and hope someone comes to your rescue? Delude yourself into thinking that because you only go to “safe” places you will never be threatened?

      Heh … good luck with that.

  14. Rules are rules, and picking and choosing which ones we follow make us no better than the ATF. So do not violate corporate rules. Instead, report the event and your concerns to your superiors IN WRITING. Verbal reports are as good as the paper they’re printed on. A written report puts the onus on the company to provide safe passage for all its employees. If the letter is properly and cleverly written, threatening a lawsuit will be unnecessary, which is great because it’s a career-killer. But the message will get through. Just leave out the part about your gun — there are plenty of gungrabbing balloonheads in positions of corporate authority.

  15. Wow. Lots of attention. Overwhelmed.

    OK then. First,
    @Sid … howdy neighbor! You are probably familiar with the area of which I speak … my foot commute will be from State Street to Gay, (No joke … that’s the name of the main street through downtown) via the alley next to the Regal, across Gay and up Union a bit. (more snorts and giggles – the intersection of Gay and Union … OK OK, let’s be serious here.)

    Eh hem … anyway. Yes, my husband and I are looking into alternatives … tactical pen, flashlight and the like. I’ve also procured a rolling bag in which to carry my stuff which I can easily drop if the need to run presents itself.

    I’ve given some thought to self-defense courses, like Krav Maga or other hand to hand techniques. However, I do suffer from some fairly significant neck and back issues which limit my ability to react quickly and with strength.

    Someone suggested an ASP baton – this is truly ridiculous, but such items are regulated in this state as weapons for going armed under separate legislation from gun laws. No really. One can take a class and obtain a permit to carry one though, but such classes are few and far between. My husband owns one, but it remains in the house for now. Such good little sheepies we are.

    While the new office building does have armed guards, I have seen them and envision my coming to their rescue rather than they to mine … maybe that could change once they get old enough to have a full beard, In some ways, these boys scare me more than potential bad guys out in the alleyway.

    Situational awareness is, of course, tops on my self-defense list of tactics.

    @Martin … yes, indeed that has occurred to us as well. Fine pickin’s out there for a gun thief, indeed. But we have more sense than to have gunny bumper stickers and the like. There’s lots of sport team stickers from local schools to the big U and lots of Jesus fish though.

    • We left Knoxville in 2006, but I am familiar with your route. I taught in the Jesse Harris Building which was the corner of campus prior to the parking garage being built.

      If you go with the spray, get one with a marking dye included. I have not looked lately, but when we were in Knoxville my wife had the spray on the key ring that contained OC, pepper, and marking dye. OC acts faster than pepper but pepper lasts longer than OC. The marking dye will make the apprehension of the accused much easier. He will be the large Smurf colored man crying and shirtless.

  16. Personally, I’d rather be out of work than dead. If I’m alive then I can always find another job (might take a bit longer in this economy).

    If the law says you can carry then carry.

  17. You could ask security for an escort.
    Even though they are young, the sight of a uniform
    might dissuade an attacker.

    A good knife, folding or fixed,
    is a good thing to have both as
    a weapon and a tool,
    but may be both illegal and against your companies policy.

    A very small, but very sharp knife,
    like the crkt rsk mk5
    might make it through security, but as a previous poster said,
    it runs the risk of being perceived as “cute” and thus inneffective.

    If an assailant thinks your weapon is inneffective, the odds
    of having to actually use it raise greatly.

    I often walk with a cane.
    SEveral feet of ash or hickory can be a great weapon,
    and generally legal.

    A small leather pouch
    filled with change is perfectly legal,
    and can be used to punch with,
    or swung on a ‘leash’ to great effect.

    A large bunch of keys on a chain work well,
    especially with a couple of lead fishing sinkers
    attached, but might be perceived as a weapon by

    There are a lot of non-weapon weapons.
    None are as good as a firearm, but many
    are better than nothing.

    • “You could ask security for an escort.”

      My wife works for a Big Corp, too. She works late sometimes. She refuses to CCW. Things are pretty active on out campus until 5:30 pm. So anytime after 5:30pm she calls a security guard to escort her from the 3rd floor of her building to her car. He waits until she’s in the car and its moving before he leaves.

      Have your Security Guard escort you EVERYTIME if you need them too. That’s what they are there for. That gives you the opportunity to holster up, lock the doors and crank the car.

  18. There are some very good ideas here. Insisting on a security escort is good. Traveling in a group is also good. Pepper spray/Mace in a foam is good also. (No blow-back) Get a shoulder purse that will stay on without needing your hands. So both hands are free.

    Get a metal ‘cat’ key fob for your keyring. (the eye holes are for the fingers)

    Get some hairspray for one hand and a lighter in the other. Better yet. Long-range wasp spray. Test in a backyard for flammability. (have a fire extinguisher on hand)


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