Texas Legislature to Consider Workplace Firearms Bill

December 22, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Texas legislator has pre-filed a bill for the upcoming session of the state legislature restricting employers' rights to ban firearms from workplace parking areas.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports, under House Bill 220, employers would be prohibited from establishing policies or rules barring employees with concealed handgun permits from transporting or storing handguns in locked cars in employer-provided parking areas. However, the bill would allow a private employer to establish such a policy if the parking area is completely surrounded by a gate, is not open to the public, and entrances and exits are monitored by security personnel.

The bill would protect employers from liability in civil actions for incidents involving the possession of a licensed concealed handgun, according to SHRM. Similar laws have been passed in Alaska, Kentucky, Minnesota (See Minnesota Law Changes Workplace Weapon Policies), Mississippi and Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma legislation was an amendment to the state’s Self-Defense Act that prohibits company policies barring anyone except a convicted felon from storing firearms in their locked vehicles on company property. The amendment came under attack by firms claiming it violates employer property rights (See Sooner State Firms Battle Gun Law), and by employees fired by Weyerhaeuser Company prior to passage of the amendment for having guns in their vehicles (See Weyco Wins Appeal of Gun Policy Lawsuit ).

SHRM also reports that a bill pre-filed in Georgia, though not aimed at employers, could also prohibit employers from banning guns in cars in company-provided parking lots or garages. The bill would permit any licensed handgun owner to transport an unloaded or loaded firearm anywhere in a private passenger motor vehicle.