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Should Techs Carry?

June 29, 2017
Allowing technicians to carry on the clock or in company vehicles is a bad idea. If a tech has a truck gun, one of five things can happen.

You believe in the Second Amendment with all of your heart. You think your technicians should have the right to protect themselves.  Allowing techs to carry on the clock or in company vehicles is still a bad idea.

If a tech has a truck gun, one of five things can happen…

1. Nothing

This is the best of all scenarios and the most likely.  The tech never has need of his handgun and it only leaves to truck for the range or to be cleaned.

2. It is never necessary to use a gun in self-defense.

This is another good scenario.  Any gun owner should hope it is never necessary to use a gun. 

3. The Tech Needs the Gun, But Can’t Get to It

Last May a 59-year-old HVAC technician was fatally shot from behind while tuning up a furnace. He left behind a wife of 25 years, five children, and eleven grandchildren. The homeowner who shot the technician then shot himself in the head.

If the tech had a truck gun, it would not have helped. Even if he had a get-the-bleep-off-me gun, it wouldn’t have helped because he didn’t see it coming. Nevertheless, some will see this as a reason to carry personally. Do you really want technicians carrying into your customers’ homes and businesses?  Plus, if a business posts a gun free sign there might be civil or criminal consequences if discovered carrying, depending on your state’s laws.

4. The Tech Uses the Gun

If the gun is used and someone is shot, the technician’s life is changed forever.  As a nation we are great at second guessing after the fact. Attorneys excel at it. Not only may your technician face criminal penalties, there may be civil ones. If the tech is on the clock and you allow truck guns, your business is likely to be dragged into a civil suit. This is not something you need.

NRA Instructor and Maryland State Police firearms instructor Don Helms commented after a woman was fatally shot by an errant target round that, “once that bullet leaves that barrel, it's your responsibility ... You can't get the bullet back.”

5. The Tech Loses the Gun

The tech leaves the truck unlocked.  Someone (and worst case, the “someone” is a child) enters the cab and discovers the truck gun. Any downstream consequences may solely be the result of the individual taking the gun.  Nevertheless, the civil liability chain is apt to search backwards looking for the deepest pockets available. Guess who has the deepest pockets?

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Most contractors operate with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach.  They suspect their technicians will carry no matter what they say, so why say anything? 

They also fear the techs will leave and go to work at another company with stronger Second Amendment values.  They might.  However, a don’t ask, don’t tell approach may not be enough to save your business if it is determined that you knowingly allowed truck guns and one was used.

If you do follow a don’t ask, don’t tell philosophy, hold a teambuilding event where you rent a range for a day in the off-season and hire some NRA instructors to teach “Defensive Pistol” and “Personal Protection Outside the Home,” or a custom course.  Training from NRA instructors will reduce the chance one of your technicians will do something stupid with a handgun.  NRA instructors are really good.  Even the most seasoned hunters can learn a thing or two from an NRA instructor.

Self-Defense Training

Every contractor wants the company’s technicians to be safe.  They worry about dispatching people into sketchy neighborhoods.  Some techs worry too and a truck gun can provide a little peace of mind.  Yet peace of mind and protection can also come from defensive knowledge.

Consider bringing in a self-defense instructor in the off-season for a team building event.  A good instructor will first teach you how to avoid conflict and then, how to emerge whole when avoidance is impossible.  With the right training, techs may not need a handgun for peace of mind.  Instead, they can quote the warrior version of the 23rd Psalm…

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I will fear no evil

For I am the baddest mother in the valley.

For the record, Matt Michel is a strong advocate of the Second Amendment and the owner of more firearms than he needs, though not as many as he wants.  He is also an advocate of lawsuit avoidance.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.