Think about sensitive areas where permitted concealed handguns might be banned and the most obvious ones on the list might be banks or places that serve alcohol. But only one state completely bans carrying handguns in places that serve alcohol: Louisiana. It turns out that only one state bans permitted concealed handguns: Montana. Open carry is allowed in banks and bars in Montana, but concealed carry is banned.
Interestingly, twice in recent years, including last session, the legislature considered undoing this ban. Once the bill was vetoed by the sitting governor. In January 2013, the eliminating the ban was again considered, but it was defeated by a 48 to 52 vote margin in the House.
There is a fairly typical discussion in a piece at Bankrate.com about the fears of letting permitted concealed handguns into banks.
“It’s certainly not something we would encourage,” Johnson says. “What you’d be doing would be putting other people at risk.”
Rosemary Erickson agrees. As president of Athena Research Corp., a retail security consulting firm in Coral Gables, Florida, she characterizes people who carry weapons, whether open or concealed, as a serious problem for banks.
“The reason they’re armed is that their intent is to fight back,” she says. “If you’re next to the guy who pulls out that gun, it changes the dynamics of the situation. If there is any resistance (during a robbery), you are much more likely to be injured. The most active resistance you can have is returning gunfire.”
Everitt says the risk might be greatest in states that allow people to carry a gun with no permit, background check, screening or training in how to handle a weapon.
“In those states, people would be walking into banks legally carrying guns and you would have no idea what their background is,” Everitt says. “Only a madman would see that as a policy that is going to make banks safer. What you’ll end up having is more incidents involving guns inside banks.” . . .
Yet, what is interesting is that while I can’t find any examples of the risks that are mentioned here, I can quickly find cases where customers stopping robberies with their guns. I emailed Rosemary Erickson and Doug Johnson to see if they have any examples of anything bad happening in banks as a result of permit holders, but Erickson wrote back saying: “Thank you for your interest. I don’t have the examples, John. Maybe you could try the American Banking Association.”
As to the examples of benefits, here are some stories that were obtained in less than an hour of doing a web search.
1) Palm Bay, Florida, April 29, 2010:
“A bank robber in Palm Bay couldn’t get away from a bank Thursday, because a customer of the Space Coast Credit Union on Malabar Road had a gun and a concealed weapon permit. The customer used his gun to stop the robber.”
Details available here.
2) Flagstaff, Arizona, December 18 2012:
“Flagstaff resident Dave Young said he was driving up to the Arizona Central Credit Union branch on North West Street shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday when he was puzzled by the sight of his friend, Michael Pileggi, detaining a woman.
He quickly noticed his friend’s son, Chase Pileggi, was also trying to stop a man as he jumped over a fence. Young said he quickly confirmed that a bank robbery had occurred and took off after the two in his vehicle.
Young caught up with the pair nearby and watched as Chase tackled the man. The younger Pileggi got the man in a hold and Young placed his hand on his sidearm, showing the suspect that he was armed. He did not pull his gun.
“I provided cover for him. If the suspect had tried to pull a weapon I could have stopped him,” Young said. “I told him don’t move. I looked him over for weapons and visually inspected the suspect, then called 911.”
Details available here.
3) Concord, North Carolina, October 9, 2013:
Gary Spencer, 36, of Spencer’s Extreme Cleaning Services, said at about 9 a.m. Monday, he and his wife had just dropped their son off at school and headed to the Wells Fargo bank at 868 Church St. N, Concord, to deposit a check.”
More details available here.
4) Canton, Michigan, June 17, 2008:
According to police:
A 54-year-old Washtenaw County man walked up to the teller and handed her a hand-written note stating he had a bomb strapped to his body and demanded money. The clerk hit the silent alarm and began putting singles into a bag when the suspect demanded “bands of 50s and 100s”.
An adjacent teller witnessed the transaction and alerted the customer to the robbery. The long-time customer asked the teller if she was sure and the teller stated, “Yes”.
The customer then turned toward the bank robber pulled a concealed handgun, pointed it at the robber and racked a round into the chamber stating, “You are not robbing this bank!”
The robber replied, “But, I have a bomb.” The patron stated again, “I don’t care; you are not robbing this bank!” The patron then escorted the would-be robber over to a chair, sat him down and held him at gun point until police arrived.
More details available here.
5) Columbus, Texas, August 2, 2013: This might not count.
According to the Colorado County Sheriff’s Office, the couple had been held at gunpoint by the suspects inside their home just north of Columbus. They were then forced to drive to the First National Bank of Eagle Lake in Columbus.
The suspects then forced the woman to take out an undisclosed amount of funds, investigators said.
“We believe they had knowledge that she was an employee of the bank for them to be at the residence and to take her back,” Sgt. Andrew Weido with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said.
He said the suspects then forced the husband to drive them in his truck south down Highway 71, and that’s when the husband of the bank employee was able to gain access to a firearm inside the vehicle.
He fired at the suspects near County Road 101. Authorities then responded to a 911 call from the scene at 7:30 p.m. with the Columbus Police Department arriving first.
When they arrived, officers found the two suspects with gunshot wounds lying on the ground near a pickup that was parked in a ditch. . . .
More details are available here.
There were numerous stories of bank employees with permitted concealed handguns using them to stop robberies.
Here is one from Troy, Missouri, November 1, 2012: “President of Troy, Mo., bank pulls gun, nabs masked robber“
While looking for these stories, there were a number of stories about banks openly welcoming concealed carry permit holders inside.
Here is one example from Chappell Hill, Texas from January 18, 2013:
That s because the person standing next to you could be packing heat. You see, the Chappell Hill Bank is the first in the nation that actually welcomes legally concealed handguns.
We ve been robbed five times, said Smith, All of them by Yankees.
It s worth noting, the bank hasn t been robbed a sixth time, and Smith doesn t hesitate the debate raging over gun control in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings. . . .