While community bankers in the Show Me State are not only packing heat, they're unloading it on would-be bank robbers, the effete Big Banks in Florida unload not on the bad guys, but on pistol-packin' Annie's in their own ranks.
Ivette Ros grew up in a house where her father kept guns. For her, it was a natural step to get a concealed weapons permit and then to carry a 9 mm handgun.
The 37-year-old Tampa resident is a single mother of three children and said she carries the gun for safety.
“It’s just something about having it versus not having it,” she said. “I feel naked when I don’t have my gun.”
Her employer didn’t feel the same way. Carrying the gun got her fired, she said.
Ros has filed a lawsuit in circuit court against Wells Fargo Bank, which she said fired her last year from her job as manager at the bank’s Oldsmar branch. Her lawsuit says the firing violated her constitutional right to carry arms and asks for monetary damages and attorney fees.
Wells Fargo (whose brand, ironically, is a stage coach and whose marketing has not infrequently in the past emphasized its roots in the American West, a land where the .45 Colt revolver was made famous), claims it was doing the right thing by firing Ms. Ros.
When it comes to employees carrying guns into the office, though, the company’s rules are clear, said Kathy Harrison, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman.
“Team members are strictly prohibited from possession of firearms and weapons on company premises,” Harrison said.
The company does offer exceptions when a state statute exists allowing for someone with a concealed weapons permit to keep a gun in their locked vehicle in the company parking lot, she said.
So, Ivette's mistake was in not leaving the gun in a locked car in the bank's parking lot, where, as even a bulb as dim as the one that writes this blog could deduce, it would be of limited value against an armed robber. Instead, she kept in concealed on her person, where, as our friends in Missouri have shown, it has a certain usefulness in spitting out lead in situations where lead poisoning is an appropriate malady to strike your typical armed sociopath.
Ms. Ros' attorney claims that the bank's policy violates his client's Second Amendment rights.
“The second amendment is not a privilege. It’s a freakin’ right.”
Well, yes it is. However, a law professor points out a flaw in that freakin' argument.
Jason Bent, an assistant professor of law at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, said the constitution limits the government’s ability to restrict gun possession. A private employer such as Wells Fargo is another matter, he said.
“There is nothing in the state statute that says the employer has to let her bring it into the building,” Bent said.
The "statute" he mentions is the concealed handgun law in Florida.
The Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." That is, "infringed" by the government. I agree with Professor Bent that I don't see state action that violates the Second Amendment here. Then again, I'm no freakin' Second Amendment expert.
While personally, I support the right for any woman to carry the biggest, baddest piece of firepower she can conceal on her person, as a bank lawyer, I also support the right of a bank to make and enforce reasonable rules concerning firearms on its premises. On this one, my rational side (rarely on display in these pages) leans toward the big, bad bank.
That said, I would like to sit down with Ms. Ros some day and compare our respective concealed weapons.