I stopped at the Huntington Bank Groveport branch on Thursday to make a deposit. While I am leaning over the counter filling out the deposit slip, the branch manager comes up and starts getting aggressive and nasty with me. "You have a gun! You aren't allowed to have a gun in here, It is against federal law!". I reply, "No, that isn't true. It is not against federal law. Further, I am duly trained and licensed to carry a concealed firearm and I am allowed to be armed in here."
"We don't allow guns in this bank. You are putting myself and all my employees at risk!" "Why do you think I am a danger to you?"
"Well, there have been 35 bank robbberies!" As I stand there in a white shirt and tie, looking like the 50-something businessman that I am, I replied, "Do you think I am here to rob you? I am simply here to conduct my banking business. Futher, I when I come into the lobby here, it is usually because I am either coming into the bank or leaving the bank with a significant amount of cash. I have a constitutional right to protect myself. Don't you want your customers to be safe?"
"When you were leaning over the counter, I could have come up from behind you and taken your gun out of your holster before you even knew it. And a robber could have also taken your gun!" Instead of arguing with her about holster retention and how she could have been badly hurt if she had tried to take my gun, I just tilted my head to the side, raised an eyebrow, and gave her one of those "are you an idiot" looks.
"Well, I still don't want you in this bank with a gun." "No, you have no signage posted forbidding firearms so under Ohio law I was allowed to enter these premises while armed. I know that Huntington has a company policy to allow concealed carry within their banks."
"It is against company policy!" "No, please check your facts, it is not against policy."
"Well, I want to make a copy of your license!" "You are not law enforcement so I have no duty to show you my concealed handgun license. As a courtesy to you, I will show it to you but you may not make a copy." I showed her the license. She stood aside and left with her implied consent.
On Friday, I called and spoke with Huntington's corporate security to verify company policy. The person I spoke with was a little terse at first, telling me it is against company policy to have a weapon on the premises, and that for the last two years every bank branch should be posted in small text as I enter the bank. I explained to him that I was a member of Ohioans For Concealed Carry, and that information on our website had indicated that Huntington and Chase were the only two large banks in Columbus that allowed concealed carry. So could he please get back to me after he had verified that was the policy, IN FACT. I also asked him if he could further verify whether that was company policy in all states or just for Ohio. He wasn't sure what I meant, so I explained I wanted to know if their branches forbid concealed carry in Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as well, or was it only banned in Ohio. He also asked if Ohians For Concealed Carry had a website, which I provided.
He called me back 20 minutes later with a completely different attitude.
The terseness was gone, replaced by a friendly, chatty, and apologetic attitude. He explained that he had confused the company policy that did not allow employees to be armed with how the company treats their customers. He said there is no company policy regarding customers. I asked him to clarify, "Does that mean that a policy does not exist, or does that mean there is a company policy in place affirming the right of their customers to be armed?" He confirmed there is a company policy in place allowing customers to be armed. He further explained that they have a lot of small business clients who are regularly making large cash deposits for their business. He went to say something about how I should "see the lobby in our downtown Columbus headquarters sometime". There are all sorts of people there, from business owners, to off-duty cops, etc. etc. He was sure if you walked into their lobby at any time during business hours, I would be amazed how many people are armed.
He then wanted to know which branch and did I get the name of the individual. I didn't get her name in the heat of the moment, but I explained that she presented herself as the manager on duty. The teller also confirmed she was the manager. He said that he would explain company policy to her and her district manager.
I made clear that one of my complaints was that I was not treated like a customer. She was aggressive and rude and I was quite aware that it had little to do with her misguided interpretation of company policy and a lot to do with her anti-gunner hatred of firearms. He apologized multiple times. I told him that I appreciated his apology, but it wasn't really necessary. It mattered more to me if he would treat it as a communication and training issue, and help get awareness of company policy out to his branches.
As I did a little post-mortem analysis on myself, I realized that had I been wrong about Huntington policy, I could have place myself at risk by not leaving when she asked me to. However, since I would have been filmed during the encounter, I also think that showing her the license and her subsequent leaving me alone would have evidenced her consent. Maybe I was wrong in that part of it. But I did still have a deposit to make and a larger cash withdrawal than the ATM would allow. Anyway, that is my story and I am sticking with it.