On any given day we are barraged with news of devastating tragedies. It begs the question: What if I wanted to bring my gun to work for protection?
It is understandable, considering recent national and local events, but some employers may prohibit this practice in the workplace. New Mexico is an “open carry” state, which does allow for certain provisions. Let’s break it down.
An individual who reaches the age of 19 can purchase and possess a firearm after passing a background check. As outlined in the New Mexico state constitution, you have the right to bear arms, and, “no law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes…” (NM Constitution | Maggie Toulouse Oliver – New Mexico Secretary of State, 2021).
When an individual turns 21, he or she can get a concealed carry license after completing a thorough background check that includes fingerprinting, as well as instructor-led firearm training. Once the permit is obtained, this extends where the firearm can go with the person.
I like to think of this as giving your firearm legs, it can now travel alongside you in most places you choose to go. However, there is a catch that is covered in the firearms safety and training course and outlined in the concealed carry statute that clarifies that “a licensee may not carry a concealed handgun on or about his person on private property that has signs posted prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons or when verbally told so by a person lawfully in possession of the property” (U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), 2021).
Ok, let’s bring all of this together to better understand how it connects to your workplace. Many employers have a specific firearm/weapon section within their handbook. Additionally, they may have posted signage prohibiting weapons on site. This is your notice, that a weapon is not allowed on the property even with your concealed carry permit.
Many employers will have something like this in their handbook: “To ensure that [Insert the name of your company] maintains a workplace safe and free of violence for all employees, the company prohibits the possession or use of any weapons on company property.”
This is your notice from the “owner” that you are not allowed to have a firearm in your possession while at work. This policy can further extend to company vehicles as well as allow for the search of your person and property such as purses, briefcases, or any other carried-in item) when you come into work.
A couple of additional considerations of how guns can affect the workplace.
- Social media – this is considered an incredibly divisive issue so resist the urge to argue with co-workers about your stance on this topic. This can make things a bit uncomfortable for both parties in the office. The best response when provoked is no response.
- Background checks – if you have had a violent crime involving a gun or any weapon and this shows up on your background check, you may not get the position you were offered. These are often taken very seriously to protect the workforce from the risk of injury or harm.
- Bragging – You share with a co-worker that you bought a sweet new handgun. You then bring that firearm to work, albeit unloaded, but it’s still on company premises. This could land you in hot water. Just show that new shiny gun off away from company property. Sometimes secrets get out (voices carry or people gossip) and HR has to investigate.
As an employee your intention would be honorable, you would want to protect yourself and the co-workers you love, but it could get you into big trouble with your employer. I recommend leaving your guns at home unless your workplace specifically allows its employees to come to work armed. When in doubt, check the handbook.
NM Constitution | Maggie Toulouse Oliver – New Mexico Secretary of State. (2021). New Mexico Secretary of State. Retrieved June 4, 2022, from https://www.sos.state.nm.us/about-new-mexico/publications/nm-constitution/
U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA). (2021, November 2). New Mexico Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws. Https://Www.Usconcealedcarry.Com/Resources/Ccw_reciprocity_map/Nm-Gun-Laws/. Retrieved June 4, 2022, from https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/resources