A Georgia business owner has sparked a controversial debate about whether carrying guns at work makes you safer or just invites violence to your place of employment.
Lance Toland is the owner of a small company that specializes in aviation insurance. His business operates out of three offices based at small airports in Georgia.
Toland’s business reportedly has never had issues with crime but he claims, “Anyone can slip in these days if they want to. I don't have a social agenda here. I have a safety agenda.”
Based on his comments, Toland believes just because crime hasn't happened, doesn't mean it won't ever happen.
This logic is why he has made it mandatory for his staff to carry guns on the job. He requires each of his employees to get a concealed-carrypermit — which he pays the $65 fee for — and undergo professional training.
Once the prerequisites are met, Toland distributes a Taurus revolver referred to as “The Judge” to each employee. He entrusts all of his staff with the powerful firearm which can spray pellets like a shotgun.
"It is a weapon, and it is a lethal weapon," said Toland. "When a perpetrator comes into the home or the office, they have started a fire. And this is a fire extinguisher."
Toland claims that none of his employees are against the mandate and have even expressed that they were relieved to have guns because they were “tired of being afraid.”
However, it’s unclear what the employees would have been afraid of since the company has no history with crime. Any fears they may have carried seem unwarranted.
Employers running high risk businesses such as convenience stores and taxi companies have been known to impose a similar requirement, which is certainly more understandable than an insurance agency.
One conceivable danger of requiring employees to carry weapons is that the workplace can be a tense and stressful environment. Everyone is prone to a really bad day and when that happens, someone could impulsively snap and initiate a workplace shooting rather than prevent or thwart one.
Toland went through the traumatic ordeal of losing his uncle — who was like a father to him — in a robbery at the convenience store he worked at back in 1979. Toland’s uncle was unarmed when the robbery took place.
While that story is heartbreaking and certainly explains the root of Toland’s fears, it doesn’t quite justify why carrying guns at an insurance agency is necessary. Convenience stores are commonly susceptible to more danger than other professions; robberies, unfortunately, are expected to occur at those establishments.
Perhaps if Toland owned a gas station or liquor store, his mandate wouldn’t seem so far-fetched but by arming every person who works for him with a 2 pound, 9-inch long firearm, it almost seems as if he is looking for crime to come his way.
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