Businesses slow to embrace conceal and carry

A bill to allow Wisconsin residents to conceal and carry weapons is shooting through the state Legislature to Gov. Scott Walker, who has said he will sign it.

However, a quick survey of hundreds of southeastern Wisconsin business executives indicates that many of them will not carry concealed weapons, nor will they allow weapons to be carried in the workplace by employees, clients or vendors.

The Senate approved a law that will give an incentive to employers who permit their employees to carry concealed weapons at work. An employer who does not prohibit its employees from carrying concealed weapons will be given immunity from any lawsuits for any liability arising from that decision, according to attorney Michael Aldana, a partner in Quarles & Brady LLP’s Labor & Employment Group in Milwaukee.

Still, many Milwaukee executives say they will not carry a weapon and will prohibit weapons in their workplace.

A quick sampling of their comments:

  • Peter Ogden, president of Ogden & Company Inc., Milwaukee: “I am vehemently opposed to handguns in general. I definitely would not carry a concealed weapon, and I definitely would not allow my employees to carry concealed weapons. I would have no part of it. It’s a problem waiting to happen.”
  • Paul Riedl Jr., chief executive officer of River Run Computers in Glendale: “There is not a need in our office. We are in a secure part of the city and there are enough people in and out of our company to deter people from coming in to hold us up.”
  • H. Carl Mueller, president of Mueller Communications Inc. in Milwaukee: “I asked the staff, and no one is interested in carrying concealed firearms. We will consider putting a sign on our door telling anyone who wishes to enter that we do not permit and firearms to be brought into our offices – concealed or otherwise. We also hope we won’t need such a sign.”
  • Jim Haertel, president of Brew City Redevelopment Group LLC in Milwaukee: “I believe the more guns there are around, the greater the chance someone will use one.”
  • Joe Nolan, owner of Good Harvest Market in Pewaukee: “I would not allow vendors, customers or employees to bring in a gun to our premises. The only legitimate reason I can think a gun would be needed is in the case of a robbery, and I would not want anyone to get shot should someone try to stop a robber. Money can be replaced, but not a life.”
  • John Yentz, attorney at Schroeder Attorneys at Law in Waukesha: “No. This is not the ‘Wild West.’ No. Should an individual bring a concealed weapon to our business location, we will require that the weapon be checked with the receptionist. If there are no weapons on the premises, there is no reason to carry a weapon. Our premises, our rules.”
  • David Kliber, owner of S-F Analytical Labs in New Berlin: “No. I don’t own a gun. No. For safety reasons, although it will be hard to control vendors and customers, so we’ll have to think about them.”
  • Gary Billington, vice president at Plunkett Raysich Architects LLP in Milwaukee: “I will not carry a weapon on me or in my car or in my home. If someone is going to shoot me, I don’t think having a gun or not is really going to make a difference. In fact it might be a problem.”

Readers at BizTimes.com were asked, “Will your company allow employees and customers to carry concealed weapons in the workplace? Seventy-four percent answered, “No,” and 26 percent answered, “Yes.”

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