Today I had an encounter with an open-carrying security guard that actually left me feeling as though he was intentionally menacing me with his gun, though it remained in his holster.
My colleague and I had gone to see a company that we could potentially do business with. My company makes specialized manufacturing equipment for specific industries, and the company we were calling on is the type that would use our products. They had an address listed, so we drove there. The place was a very large industrial looking building, in an industrial park. It had a very long row of loading docks down one side, and tractor trailers coming and going. I could see that there were different names above the docks. The whole complex was surrounded by a tall fence, with a locked automatic, unmanned gate. I was dressed in a business clothes, with my company logo embroidered in my pressed white shirt, and my colleague was also totally professional looking.
We got to the gate, and called on the call box. Someone answered, and we said we were there to meet with this particular company. He said “there’s no company in this building by that name” and basically ended the conversation abruptly. We stood there at the gate for a few more minutes, checking the address, and trying to call a contact at the company. I walked down the fence a little way to try and get a look at the names over the docks to see if I could spot, maybe, a parent company, or a DBA, or anything that would tell me they were there under a different name.
Suddenly, this dude comes walking fast out of the building toward us, with a security patch on his shirt and a double stack Glock open carry on his right hip. He comes out through the gate, right up to me, and says in a pretty aggressive way, “what, you don’t believe me?”
I tried to explain to him that we were wondering if maybe this company was operating under a DBA, and I noticed that the whole time I’m talking to him he’s got his hands on his hips, doing his best Raylan Givens with his fingers holding the handle of his Glock. There was absolutely no need for that, we were being respectful, outside their gate, and there for legitimate business purposes. His attitude and the fact that he looked ready to draw his weapon immediately had me at condition orange, and my hand went in my pocket around my revolver.
Was what he was doing menacing? What’s the protocol when someone, like a private security guard in Florida, is allowed to open carry? He was basically doing the best he could to show me his gun, even though I was no threat at all. Do private security guards have any authority other than to ask you to leave? I had never even resisted leaving, just questioned if the company I wanted was maybe in the building under a different name. He did agree, the address on their site is the building he was “guarding”, but insisted they’re not in there.
I’m too old and too professional to be talked to and menaced by a punk kid with a giant Glock and a bigger attitude.