Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five Modern Ways to Protect Hearing
- Top Five Reasons to Carry a 1911
- Top Five Concealed Carry Handguns
- Top Five Folding Knives
- Top Five Questions People Ask When They Find Out I Carry Concealed
For many of us, carrying a concealed handgun includes carrying while spending significant time in the workplace. For many, this means carrying a handgun — or at least keeping one accessible — in an office setting. Obviously, many companies have policies regarding weapons at work and the point of this article is not to create a means for you to defeat those policies nor to persuade you to carry at work when you are explicitly asked not to do so. Whether you carry at work is up to you and you must bear the responsibility for your decisions and actions. For those of you that can carry at the office — or for those of you that choose to do so in spite of company policy — here are five ways to secure your gun while you’re there.
1. Hidden in a locked case in your backpack, messenger bag or briefcase
Assuming your property is safe in your office (a big assumption) and assuming you’re OK with your gun not being on your person (another big assumption), it might be OK to keep your handgun in a backpack or messenger bag or briefcase. That said, it should probably be in some kind of locked case. Lots of liability issues come to mind with this mode of carrying/concealing, so be sure to think this one through before you do it.
Consider, however unlikely, the possibility that someone could enter your workspace, pick up your backpack and look in it; surely your handgun should not be in plain sight. It should not only be hidden from sight but also be locked inside a nondescript case of some kind. Also, put the bag under your desk, out of sight.
In other words, create a scenario in which someone would have to make maximum effort to get anywhere near your gun. Most importantly, never let the bag out of your sight. Best case scenario: You carry that bag or case with you, on your person, the entire time.
2. Hidden in a case and locked in a file or desk drawer
If you work in an office setting, chances are you have a desk with lockable file cabinets or drawers. Even if someone else in the company has a backup key to your desk, consider whether it is safer to lock your gun in your desk drawer as opposed to keeping it in a bag or pack. (Probably.)
Though it may be better to use the locking drawer, you will have to be discreet when transferring your gun from your person or in your bag to being stored in the drawer. It would probably be wise to keep the gun inside of some kind of locked case, even if it’s a zippered bag. Yes, it would take a long time to access your gun in an emergency, but, on the other hand, you don’t want an unauthorized person to access or even see your gun.
3. Locked in a metal gun storage vault attached securely to a piece of furniture
Several products exist that allow you to hide or store a handgun in a sort of mini-vault that is securely affixed to a virtually immovable piece of furniture. Since doing so requires some kind of physical alteration to the furniture, this might not be a feasible option. Moreover, it might be very difficult to transfer your handgun from your person or bag to such a storage case.
However, if you can use a device like this, you have the ability to store your gun securely and have access to it only granted by key or combination lock. As such, this can afford relatively quick access to your gun in an emergency.
4. Hidden in a lockable, zippered planner
For the few people that still use physical planners or organizers, there are some that provide a hidden compartment for a handgun and a reload. Usually these zip open and closed and provide some locking mechanism — albeit a very small, weak lock. The efficacy of such systems depends on the environment you’re in, such as whether people actually carry planners and, if you carried one, whether it would draw too much attention to its gun storage features.
For the sake of safety, you’d have to always keep the planner with you (which could be awkward) and you’d need to keep an eye on the position of the planner if you put it on a desk. After all, the “never let the muzzle cover anything you’re not willing to destroy” rule always applies, right?
5. Carried concealed on your person
None of the first four options mentioned here are as worthwhile as keeping your gun concealed on your person. When your gun is on your person you have obvious benefit of having full-time control over and access to your gun. So, if possible, find a carry solution that allows you to carry this way at your workplace.
If dress code is an issue and IWB or pocket carry is not feasible, consider ankle carry or a concealed carry undershirt or bellyband that goes under your normal clothes. Some waistband holsters fasten around your hips and create a pocket right below the front of the beltline, which allows you to wear dress pants and tuck in a shirt. Some IWB holsters are tuckable but leave belt clips exposed or, with dress pants, might not fit well unless you wear the a larger waist size.
All of these options provide concealment solutions with multiple pros and cons. It is up to you to know your situation, your workplace and company policies, your state laws and the carry solutions that provide maximum concealment, safety and access with the least liability. If possible, go for a solution that allows you to carry on your person. It’s still the best form of concealed carry out there, and certainly the fastest to deploy.
If you carry concealed in an office setting, let us know your thoughts and recommendations.
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.