43% of Americans or their family members own a gun. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, U.S states have issued more than 11 million permits to carry a concealed weapon. Even though you have a permit, you cannot carry your concealed weapon everywhere. Most CCW’s know that it is against the law to carry a concealed weapon into a school or a government building anywhere in the United States. But other buildings –like a bank-require careful consideration before just carrying your weapon into them.
Federal and State Laws
There is no federal law against carrying a concealed weapon into a bank; however there may be a state or municipal law that prohibits it. Montana is the only state that has a specific law at the nexus of concealed weapons and banks. The state prohibits any person, regardless of whether he or she has a permit, to carry a concealed weapon into a bank, credit union, savings and loan institution or similar business. An exception permits a concealed-carry weapon at an ATM, bank drive-up window or unstaffed night depository. A bank branch in a mall, grocery store or other public place is also concealed-carry territory unless the gun carrier is within the bank’s enclosure or using its services.
Municipalities might also have laws that govern whether it’s permissible to carry a concealed weapon into a bank.
Private Property Rights
A bank is a privately owned business; even banks located within stores etc. are located on private property. Banks can establish policies and post signs to prohibit open or concealed weapons inside their buildings as a matter of private property rights.
The business or bank has to post a sign or notification that guns are prohibited on the premises.
The reality is that even if the bank has a policy that does not allow guns and they post a notification that guns are not permitted; if someone does bring a concealed weapon onto the premises they would likely not now about it. If by some chance the do find out that a customer brought in a firearm, they can have the person removed from the property but they wouldn’t be able to press any criminal charges.
Regardless of whether the law allows you to legally carry a concealed weapon into a bank, there is an ethical issue of whether you should carry a concealed weapon into a bank.
On the one hand, if your weapon is not concealed properly, you could be perceived to be a bank robber. Additionally, if a robber pulls a gun and you pull your gun, there are a lot of innocent bystanders in the bank building who could be injured if shots are fired.
On the other hand, the whole purpose of carrying concealed is to be prepared to defend yourself from a possible attacker. A well-trained concealed carrier only pulls their gun out of their holster if they intend to shoot. Situational awareness would always dictate when and where that happens.
So, what is the answer? Know what the bank’s policy on guns is and abide by it. If concealed weapons are permitted, make absolutely certain that your weapon is 100% totally concealed before you enter that building.