FOX13 Investigates: Gun rights in the workplace

FOX13 Investigates: Gun rights in the workplace

According to the federal government, 80 percent of all active shooter incidents happen at private companies, schools and other government properties.

In 168 active shooter scenarios studied by the FBI, 486 people were killed and 557 were wounded. The study covered the years 2000 through 2013, and it included the Colorado theater and Fort Hood, Texas shootings.

Lawmakers in pro-gun Tennessee have pushed the envelope on individual gun rights. In 2015, the state passed a law allowing employees to store guns in their employer parking lots.

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22 other states have similar laws. But it's illegal to bring your gun to work if your employer prohibits it, and most companies do.

Randa Fergus, who owns LaRue's Haircutters in east Memphis, does not fall into that category. As a gun owner herself, she encourages her stylists and even customers with concealed carry permits to bring their weapons to her shop.

"I can't see them not bringing, being allowed to bring a gun to work," Fergus said.

Fergus agrees with gun rights advocates who say the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to make sure there is a good guy with a gun. They believe that in a situation like the Colorado theater shootings, 70 people would not have been killed and wounded.

But most companies, especially big corporations like FedEx, oppose guns at work and prefer to keep the workplace gun-free.

And that's the right approach, according to corporate security expert Brent O'Bryan of Allied Barton Security Services. He said corporations need to train their employees how to react in an active shooter situations through drills and seminars. He told FOX13 that will keep them calm if an incident ever happens.

O’Bryan said if an active shooter incident happens at work, people should use a three step approach when they react.

First, they should look to escape as quickly as possible.

Second, they should look to hide, if escaping is not an option. O'Bryan says good places to hide are closets and conference rooms.

Third, he said people should look to neutralize the threat, using whatever weapons they might have at their disposal.

"That may mean I'm sitting at my cube. What can I do; what do I have here? I have a stapler. I have a pair of scissors, anything to neutralize the threat," O'Bryan said.

Randa Fergus has never had to use the .38 caliber she keeps in her workspace, and she hopes to never be presented with a situation that causes her to use deadly force.

“God gets us up and gets us through each day and you just have to hope that some evil, crazy person isn't out there targeting you that day," Fergus said.

But if she's ever confronted with an active shooter, or any other violent emergency, she told FOX13 she'd rather take her chances with that .38 rather than banking on a drill.