ATLANTA - The owner of a Georgia-based insurance firm is requiring all of his employees to get permits to carry concealed weapons and providing each of them with a handgun.
Lance Toland of Lance Toland Associates said Tuesday that the slaying of his uncle several years ago influenced his decision to implement the policy for the 10 women and two men who work in the company's three offices.
None of the employees objected to the policy, Toland said.
"I said, 'We're all going to get firearms,' and it was a unanimous, 100-percent participation, no dissenters whatsoever," Toland said. "It's about protection, No. 1, but it's really about us as citizens of this great country enjoying and using our right to bear arms."
Toland is a pilot, and his business provides aircraft insurance risk-management services with offices in the Georgia cities of Griffin and Chamblee, and on St. Simons Island.
He said he gave each of his employees a Taurus Judge revolver, which can fire shotgun shells. It can fire the shot in a relatively wide range, increasing the chances that the ammunition will make contact, Toland said.
"This Judge, if someone comes into the room and you aim in that direction, you're going to get a piece of them," Toland said. He added that the gun is the "perfect weapon" for anyone who is not a "seasoned marksman."
A representative for Everytown for Gun Safety, a national group that advocates gun control, declined to comment Tuesday.
Toland's employees receive training from National Rifle Association instructors, he said.
One of them, Andrea Van Buren, said the mandate would be a great idea for other companies, "as long as they are willing to commit to training ... and also you have to commit to being ready to use it if you have to," Van Buren told WSB-TV.