Concealed carry in federal buildings


January 2, 2009, 06:37 PM
(Disclaimer: total n00b here. But I did try to search for any similar threads)

Has there ever been any movement to change the laws about concealed carry in federal buildings? Here's my backstory:

I work for a Federal gov't agency, law-enforcement related. My office is in a city that is well-known for its crime and violence. I'd like to learn to shoot and get a CPL, but as I pointed out to our firearms instructor, there's little point in me getting a gun for self-defense since I couldn't bring it to work....which is where I'd be most concerned about wanting to have one. I'd be an idiot to bring a gun and leave it in my car, but if I brought it, I'd have to....I'm not so concerned about needing protection when I'm going 70 on the highway, but on the block-and-a-half walk from my parking lot to my office and back!

Frankly, in this case it seems vaguely pointless to me for this law to be in effect. I can understand that they wouldn't want just anybody walking into a courthouse with a gun. But. Half the people in our office have guns (the LEOs, of course), so it's not like there are no guns in the office (that conceivably one might be able to get ahold of if bent on causing destruction?). Federal employees undergo a background check, so it's not like they wouldn't know if we might be fit to carry. And frankly, as is often stated of gun laws, all this does is keep the law-abiding folks from carrying--as our building has no metal detectors (it's secured in that we have building passes to get in, so the general public doesn't have access except to the lobby); so pretty much I could bring a gun in my bag every day and no one would ever someone who was disgruntled and wanted to shoot up the office still could very easily; it's just the honor system keeping one from bringing a concealed weapon where it doesn't belong for a civilian.

Why on earth don't the laws reflect things like this? Like I said, I can see why it would be desirable to not have some random person walk in off the street carrying a gun. But for regular Federal employees who've undergone a background check, in an office where there are a lot of guns present anyway....why on earth not allow it? Is there some good reason here that I'm missing?

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Black Knight
January 2, 2009, 09:23 PM
What is your position with the agency? What is the possibility to transfer to the law enforcement side? What agency is it that you work for? I once did entrance security at a federal courthouse on a GSA contract. While there were several different agencies in the building (GSA; Social Security Hearings; IRS Assistance, Audit, Collections; Probation; and others) only the federal, state, local LEOs, and contract security assigned there were allowed to carry. Best of my knowledge there has been no effort to change the law or regulations.

January 2, 2009, 09:26 PM
Best advice would be talk to your boss and find out if there is some rule where they can grant you a pass to bring your gun to work with you. Explain your concerns about the walk to and from your car and that you will have the CPL training etc. You may be surprised by what you find. At the least maybe you can get them to get you closer parking or an escort. Never hurts to ask. Usually there are all sorts of loopholes in these restrictions because while no one seems to think you or I need a gun the police must have them. If no one except police has a gun why do they need them? To shoot each other? Thats what makes the anti gunners logic so unrealistic.

January 2, 2009, 10:13 PM
BK, I'm essentially a secretary to a group of agents (or will be soon--I'm a contractor right now but am just waiting for a security clearance for my new job). I have no desire to become an agent--I'd hate the hours, for one. Our building is just our agency, though; we don't have to share.

It'll actually be less of an issue soon because my new group is moving to a different office in a different town where it won't be so much of a walk to the building, so not such a big deal then (though that office IS shared with other businesses or agencies). And of course I could always see if one of the guys would walk me to my car if I felt really unsafe, which I haven't yet (it isn't a really bad part of town). But I'm sure my over-worrying mum would feel better about me if I had a gun, and that tiny bit of extra security might make me a bit more confident as well. I guess a lot of it is also just the idea that if I'm going to carry, but can't carry to the place I spend most of my time at (I'm pretty boring--I mostly am either at work, church, the gym, or home), then it seems a bit pointless, y'know? Maybe that's a weird way to think. But at this point I'm seeing no point in shooting anything but a .22 for fun because it seems pointless to me to have a gun for SD--during the day I wouldn't be able to take it to work, and at night when at home wouldn't work either--I'm so nearsighted that it's possible I couldn't defend myself from across my bedroom without my glasses on, and if time is of the essence and I need to grab my glasses and then the gun (or wake up my partner so he can grab the gun as his sight isn't so bad as mine)...don't think it'd work out too well for me. So I'd like to feel like I get SOME sort of utility out of a gun besides playing with it at the range...

Sub, I'm not sure if there's any way to get around the law. I almost asked my firearms instructor if there it be a loophole if I asked one of the agents to hold my gun for me during the day and then after work hand it back to me outside the building or something. Then technically it wouldn't be in my possession inside the building, right? And it's not like anyone would probably give a crap anyway--my coworkers are good guys and I'm not sure they wouldn't just look the other way about it; after all, who's gonna know that matters unless someone tells them, y'know? Like I said, right now if I stashed a gun in my bag amid all the books and planners and papers I haven't cleaned out for six months and junk, technically no one would ever know, but I don't want to push my luck.

Black Knight
January 2, 2009, 10:47 PM
Kat I would say that you are out of luck for now. If the building or office space is owned or leased by GSA for your agency then the law applies. IIRC the law states it is a felony to posess a dangerous weapon on federal property unless specifically authorized by law (the exceptions refer to LEOs). You may try to get permission from your agency head or maybe get clarification from the U.S. Attorney's Office in your area. Make sure you get their response in writing. Being Dept. of the Army Police it has been years since I had any direct dealings with this law. Military facilities operate under a different set of laws and rules. Best of luck.

January 4, 2009, 12:16 AM
Not exactly an answer to your problem, but something for all of us to try to promote (up hill, I know, but we should try!). Originally I was licensed in Washington state, where if you enter a court building, there is a row of lock boxes with keys in the locks. You disarm at the entrance, lock up your weapon, take the key. On the way out of the building, reverse. Simple and very efficient. I believe Arizona, and possible some other states use that method. It would be a good alternative to trying to get carry rights or carry permission in federal buildings, Post office, etc., something I doubt we will ever see. I would be curious to learn how many states or other juristictions do have the lock box system in operation.

January 4, 2009, 12:39 AM
Consult your local laws. If carrying is not a part of your job description, there well may be a State prohibition about carrying in Schools, Airports, and Federal buildings as there is here. Good luck, and search your local statutes for more info.

You're also bringing a background check into entirely seperate issue here...Are you talking about a check, or an access, or a security clearance? One could easily be cleared to design a nuclear reactor, doesn't mean I want or need him to carry a weapon to his work space. Your employer can and may have certain restrictions about your ability to carry a weapon onto their (private) should already know what they are.

January 9, 2009, 08:00 PM
Security clearance/background check--that is, they do everything from calling former college professors, to looking into my finances, to seeing if I have any interests in foreign countries and what countries I've visited, to asking if I've ever had a problem with alcohol use, to checking out my criminal background, etc. IOW, they're doing their best to make sure I'm not a nutjob or a criminal...which is way more extensive than the state wants to know to allow me to carry just about anywhere else. If they think I (and my coworkers) am trustworthy enough to handle sensitive law enforcement information (and hang out all day with a bunch of law enforcement guys with guns possibly lying around in plain sight), why wouldn't I (we) be trustworthy enough to tuck a gun in my bag and leave it there so I can be protected to and from my car and to and from work? That's my line of thinking on this, and why I think it makes no sense. Federal employees aren't, for the most part, just Joe Blow coming in off the street who they don't know from Adam and might, understandably, be concerned about. For a security clearance, they practically want to know how many times you go to the bathroom in a day, with references to prove it.

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