I was reading a post on Packing.org last night about people who carry in banks. I guess someone was griping that he cannot open carry, or his branch is posted with 'gun buster' sign. Whatever the case may be, I was concerned that no one mentioned the fact that some bank employees are particularly skittish when it comes to guns.
It would not surprise me to hear of instances where tellers or lobby personnel have hit the 'magic button' and summoned the calvary because they 'printed' a customer. Then again, in some of our training classes, I was surprised to see how many people were not aware of their environment. Tellers and Personal Bankers are a diverse bunch.
Some tellers are very skittish, and for obvious reason. They may have been victimized by a robbery, or pistol whipped in a violent hold up. Or, they could have been witness to a robbery in their branch. I know of one young lady who was staring down the business end of a robbery when the cop on duty opened up in the lobby on the Tango. Needless to say, she is very shy about bad things happening in the lobby. You can see the anxiety on her face when scraggly looking individuals come into the bank, or when the police have to be called for check fraud customers.
I don't think the guys on Packing.org got the message that if they are found out by the bank tellers or lobby employees, they could be in for a world of hurt. While there are quite a few low-wage slaves on the line who wouldn't notice a robbery if it happened to them, there are many more tellers who enjoy the job and are more in tune with what is going on in the lobby. I really like the latter because they are more apt to point out something amiss about a customer.
I hope that, going forward, these people in 'open carry' states and those in CCW states, as well, will think before acting. In some communities, it may be the norm to see quite a few individuals with a gun on their hip. It also may not be unusual to know quite a few neighbors in your community who do carry concealed, or are thought to do so. In these places where the neighborhood is tight and everyone knows everyone else's business, I am not concerned. There is less likely to be an incident of mistaken identity.
It is the bigger metropolitan areas and places where open, or even concealed carry are either frowned on or discouraged by an anti-gunny sentiment that wil cause problems for those carrying into a bank. From a Personal Banker to the Customers, I have a couple of suggestions that I hope help you to be more at home in your local bank.
- Make yourself known to the lobby tellers and bank employees. My bank in particular has a "Know Your Customer" Philosophy that encourages us to build bank relationships based on the people and not the accounts. We pride ourselves on being the bank where we know you by name. Our customers appreciate that, and we appreciate knowing exactly who our customers are. Besides, you are less likely to be treated like a stranger in your own bank if you know who your tellers are.
- Don't look the part. By that I mean don't stand out as a "crazy gun nut." I know we are all very responsible adults and have been vetted by the FBI to carry, but there are still people out there who would love to see Concealed Carry fail in a big way by typecasting us as low-down knuckledraggin' redneck hicks. Make sure you dress around the gun, or however you prepare to stay concealed, and don't print. Some nervous soccer mom can ruin your day faster than the teller probably ever could.
- If you have the option to carry open or concealed in a bank, my vote is for concealed. Simply put, this will alleviate any undue problems you may have if you are in a location where they don't know you or the laws. In other words, someone is less likely to call the cops on you. We are trained in the lobby to spot anything that stands out, and a gun on a hip without the sight of a badge or uniform will definitely be a cause for concern.
- Most importantly, if you remember to think about the tellers and bankers in the lobby, and exactly what a gun means to them when they see it, you will act with just a hint more discretion while conducting your bank business.
I don't mean to chastise you for carrying into the bank. It is your prerogative, and I wholly encourage you to do so if it is legal. Whether open carry or concealed, also up to you. Please, if you do follow only one piece of advice, make yourself a familiar face in the lobby. If they tellers and bankers don't know you by name, then you are not a familiar person to them. Say hi, chat a bit about the weather, find out more about who you are dealing with. The added benefit to you in the bank is a banker who will work with you on other matters and maybe save you a few extra bucks in fees.
Stay safe, I'm clear.