By Sam Hoober, GunBelts.com
Do you concealed carry in banks? Some people don’t, though they will carry elsewhere. Unless your financial institution of choice prohibits it (and can legally do so), you may want to keep your CCW on you.
One may find the occasional person that mistakenly believes concealed carry in banks is a bad idea. Usually the idea is something like “it would turn banks into shooting galleries” or, “you’d never know who was there to rob the place” or something along those lines.
As we know, concealed carry hardly results in blood running in the streets, as we have been warned so many times. As we also know, one of the first things that authoritarians of any stripe want to do is disarm everyone else. If anything, legal concealed carriers are among the most law-abiding of citizens. The only people in serious danger are criminals.
That said, the only state that prohibits bank carry is Montana. Federal law doesn’t prohibit firearms in banks. However, banks can forbid concealed carry on their premises, depending on state law. Some states, such as Texas, require specific signage to forbid firearms on the premises. In other states, signage carries no force of law. It all depends on one’s individual jurisdictions.
It’s worth noting that Wells Fargo coach guns are collectibles among antique firearm collectors.
Granted, bank robbery is not that common a crime. In 2015, according to the FBI, there were 4,030 bank robberies (and a further 53 burglaries and 8 larcenies) and almost all occurred at commercial banks. (Think Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bank, etc.) Thankfully, no customers or employees of banks were killed by bank robbers in that year, but 10 customers and 35 employees were injured in the course of bank robberies. Most injuries in bank robberies are from discharge of firearms or assault.
There was one collateral death for 2015; the report doesn’t specify the nature of what happened, but it may have been someone killed as the result of a robber’s escape attempt. However, there were two employees and one bank customer killed by bank robbers in 2014.
It also bears mentioning that use of force laws in many states do not allow for the use of lethal force in defense of mere property. However, a number of states DO allow for the use of force to intervene in a robbery – likely with enabling the citizenry to stop bank robberies as well as similar acts if inclined to act.
As a result, there have been numerous instances where armed citizens have put paid bank robber’s hopes of a successful caper. In fact, one of the most famous was the last criminal action of the James-Younger Gang. The gang robbed the First National Bank of Northfield, Minn., on Sept. 7, 1876. During the robbery, they fired shots to scare the locals and murdered a teller who wouldn’t open the safe. The townspeople armed themselves and began firing.
The criminals killed another man in the crossfire, but only six escaped with their lives – almost all wounded. The Youngers were soon captured soon after by a posse of citizens and police after one of their accomplices was killed by the posse. The James brothers lived to rob another day…or at least Jesse did for a few more years before getting his just desserts.
Plenty of recent examples exist as well. In fact, about a week ago, an armed robber in Spokane, Wash., was shot by a concealed carrier at a local credit union branch. The robber fled the scene, though the suspected perpetrator was recently captured by police, according to Spokane ABC affiliate KXLY.
In September 2015, Henry Mann robbed the Citizens Bank of Warren, Mich., only to be shot three times by bank patron Ruben Kendrick and arrested when police arrived, according to the Detroit Free Press. Kendrick, a bank customer and legal concealed carrier, had been in the restroom when Mann began robbing the bank.
Some banks allow employees to carry, and there have been instances of bank employees that do so likewise foiling the plans of criminals. For instance, in March 2013, Michael Oliva made the mistake of trying to rob the First Security Bank in Trimble, Mo., according to KCTV5, only to be shot in the jaw. He led police on a high-speed chase, but was soon arrested.
According to Guns.com, the South Porte Bank of Marion, Ill., began allowing employees to concealed carry in a gun holster if licensed to do so – as well as customers – in mid-2014, in response to a series of bank robberies in the area. The bank even put up a sign reading, “Protected by Smith and Wesson.” In May of that year, a bank robbery in nearby Cairo, Ill., resulted in the murders of two bank employees.
Chappell Hill Bank in Chappell Hill, Tex., garnered national attention in 2011, when the bank instituted a similar policy after a robbery, according to American Banker magazine. CCW training for employees was paid for by the bank and legally carrying customers were welcomed to carry in the bank.
However, not all banks feel the same way. A Tampa, Fla., branch of Wells Fargo was sued in 2014 for firing an employee for concealed carrying at work, according to the Tampa Bay Tribune. The employee in question sued for infringing on her Second Amendment rights.
Some might point out that banks and credit union deposits are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the National Credit Union Administration. As a result, the bank and the customers aren’t going to lose anything in the event of a bank robbery…so long as the robber only robs the bank and doesn’t decide to kill anyone.
However, the reason why a person carries concealed is not due to probability, but possibility. It’s better to have it and not need it…than need it and not have it. Including when one does their banking.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for GunBelts.com, a subsidiary of Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit GunBelts.com.