Secret security: Workers arming themselves for protection while on the clock

For some, guns are a necessity. For others, guns are unacceptable. Either way, there are times you're around loaded weapons and have no idea.

"Got cameras inside, cameras in the office, I got motion detectors," said Terry Toner, owner of Kettering-Oakwood Automotive.

With a constant flow of customers, he keeps a close eye on his business. This includes having a concealed carry permit.

In fact, Toner keeps a loaded 380 handgun in his pocket, a 9mm handgun behind his desk and an assault rifle in the back of his shop.

Toner said his life changed 15 years ago.

"I was robbed three times within a month," he said. "The last time, they hit me in the head with a gun when they was robbing us. The place I worked for, you weren't allowed to carry a gun."

News Center 7’s I-Team asked Toby Hoover, the founder of Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, how she felt about business owners carrying guns.

"OCAGV focuses on changing our culture to one that reduces violence and the culture of fear," she said. "Having more secret hidden guns do not make us safer and is another step to arming everyone. Fewer guns, less violence."

The OCAGV website references many studies to support its position against guns, including a 2017 report from the Violence Policy Center, which pulled data from the FBI and National Crime Victimization Survey.

It stated in 2014, for every one gun death considered "justified" for self-defense, there were 34 criminal homicides.

Dick Martin, an NRA-certified instructor, disagrees.

"I think you should be allowed to carry and I think you should encourage your employees to carry," Martin said.

He cited a study in the late 1990s in the Journal of Legal Studies by Dr. John Lott.

It said allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes, and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths.

Toner said whether you agree, or disagree, most customers have no idea if they're around guns.

"We don't say hey, there's a gun in my pocket," he said. "That's the size of a cell phone. You look at my pocket, it looks like a cell phone."

Comments on this article