Why Your Company Needs A Weapons Policy (Especially If You’re In Ohio)
On March 21, 2017, a new law went into effect in Ohio expanding where a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon may bring their handgun. No longer may companies have policies prohibiting a handgun from being stored in a person’s private vehicle on the company property, and restrictions on bringing a handgun into institutions of higher learning, day-care facilities, and airports, among other locations, have been loosened.
Keep your personal feelings out of your policies
Regardless of your personal position on gun control, a weapons policy can provide protection, both physical and legal, for your employees and your business as a whole. A weapons policy is not always as simple as yes or no: it can sometimes make sense to have armed employees in certain areas or at certain times of day. In other circumstances, having armed employees walking around in a high-stress office environment is less than desirable. Crafting a weapons policy can be complicated, and, at a minimum, your weapons policy should consider:
- The safety of your employees and customers. There should be clear guidelines governing what types of guns, if any, are authorized and where it is permissible to carry them. Threatening behavior or threats of violence should have clear consequences.
- State and national laws and policies. Your policy should consider legal obligations to maintain a safe workplace as well as state laws. With the recent changes to Ohio’s legislation, this is a consideration that should evolve with legislation. Outdated policies are dangerous policies.
- Conspicuous signage. Your policy can’t protect you, your business, or your employees if it is drafted once and buried in a filing cabinet. Workplace safety protects everyone, and everyone should be aware of the rules and policies that affect them.
Knowing the law isn’t your job – it’s ours
The recent expansion of Ohio’s gun laws in certain areas can be confusing when also considering constitutional rights and other safety compliance rules. It can be difficult to decide just how to implement a weapons policy, but writing one without consulting an attorney can be downright dangerous. A policy that isn’t at least reviewed by a qualified attorney could turn out to be unenforceable.