DUBLIN, Ohio – A recently enacted Concealed-Carry Law may be a challenge for credit unions here. The Ohio law allows employees who are licensed to carry concealed guns on company property except where explicitly prohibited. While most states already have laws permitting people to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, the Ohio law includes interesting provisions including the following: *Employers can create and enforce rules prohibiting firearms in the workplace. The required notice must state, “Unless otherwise authorized by law, pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code, no person shall knowingly possess, have under the person’s control, convey, or attempt to convey a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance onto these premises.” *Employers opting to ban guns must post signs in conspicuous places including all building entrances and parking area entrances *Private employers are immune from civil suits for any injury caused by a handgun on company property unless the employer acted “with malicious purpose” *No weapons are allowed in government buildings, airports, day care centers and most educational facilities. According to Ohio Credit Union League Director of Research Dave Shoup financial institutions are not included in the law’s list of prohibited facilities into which a licensed individual could legally enter with a gun or other firearm. “The final decision on whether to post signage or not is best answered by each credit union’s management and board,” said Shoup. “We’ve been keeping credit unions updated on the situation. Since Ohio is one of the last states to adopt a concealed-carry law it is a big deal at first, but from talking to other state leagues that have a similar law in place it will settle down over time.” While he says he’s no expert on what all CUs here will do, Shoup says that the Ohio CU System will be posting signs prohibiting entrance with a firearm at each entryway and the entrance to its parking lots. While posting a “no guns” sign may seem like an obvious decision for businesses, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants research finds that the jury is still out on what percentage of overall business owners will actually do so. At issue are concerns the signs may inadvertently pull them into the always emotional gun control fray, and they may lose business because of it. Shoup says the general consensus among credit unions that he has spoken with is that it makes good business sense to prohibit firearms not only for “overall safety of employees and members but also because credit unions are already engaged in a business with tight security issues.” Shoup adds that credit unions here cannot assume that employee policies and handbooks that simply prohibit “unauthorized weapons” is enough. Employees may decide concealed-carry licenses now makes their guns “authorized.” “Our advice to credit unions is to make sure they have updated their HR policies accordingly and then fully communicate any changes to their employees,” said Shoup. “Some of the credit unions that will post notices are opting to create their own sign that fits within their dcor or brand environment.” Credit unions are also encouraged to implement a workplace violence policy; outline procedures for reporting incidents of workplace harassment, intimidation or violence; develop a list of warning signs about potential sources of workplace violence and provide a list of resources for employees on how to deal with stress. Free posters are available on the Ohio Attorney General’s Web site and marketing firm Images & Ink has created static-cling window decals that state “Weapon-Free Zone”, followed by the required signage wording and an anti-gun symbol in red. Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin are now the only states without such a Concealed-Carry Law. [email protected]

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