Is your real estate agent packing? Not filling boxes to help you move, but “packing heat” — as in carrying a gun? Many real estate agents are doing just that these days to protect themselves when showing houses to complete strangers, or listing houses for sellers they aren’t familiar with, according to the National Association of Realtors. Of the 3,000 members who responded to NAR’s latest safety poll, 14% said they carry a firearm on their person. Male agents were more likely than their female counterparts to carry a gun; women overwhelmingly preferred to carry pepper spray.
One female agent in Northern California told me that while she and members of her team haven’t carried firearms yet, guns “could be in the future for us.” Similarly, when a male agent in Maryland was asked if he carried, he responded, “Not yet.” Another man, one who’d been a police officer for 16 years before becoming a full-time agent in Massachusetts, was explicit when asked if he carried a gun: “I own firearms and practice with all the revolvers, compact pistols and semi-compact pistols I own,” he said. “I have a concealed firearms permit. I prefer my S&W .380 ‘Bodyguard’ with a red laser built-in sight. … It is a very concealable weapon I can carry in any season.” He said his broker’s policy prohibits guns in the office. But does he carry when actually showing houses? “Why would I not?” he said. Overall, the NAR survey found that half of all agents carry some kind of self-defense weapon. But only 38% said they have taken a self-defense class. Just 4% of the respondents had actually been the victim of a crime, but nearly half were aware of crimes committed against their fellow professionals. And that’s what has another Maryland agent concerned.
“Each report of a Realtor getting attacked makes me a little nervous, as this is one of the most dangerous professions there is,” she told me. Still, this agent, who has a concealed weapon permit, doesn’t want anyone to know if she’s carrying or not because “it could put my life in danger.” [full article]