…if you live in Texas, that is. On June 17, Governor Perry signed a bill into law that allows employees to store firearms in their vehicles while on company property. But there are restrictions:
- The firearm must be lawfully possessed
- The employee must have a Concealed Handgun License (CHL)
- The vehicle must be locked
- The vehicle must be privately owned
There are also exceptions to the new law:
- The employee may not posses a firearm where it is otherwise prohibited by law (a school parking lot, for instance)
- The law does not apply to company cars (unless the employee transports firearms in the scope of their employment)
- The law also does not apply at chemical or oil & gas plants
The law gives companies immunity from civil liability in the event that injury or damages occur as a result of the new law.
Needless to say, there has been hot debate on both sides of this issue. Advocates for stricter gun control say that easy access to weapons at work is a recipe for disaster. It is not far-fetched to imagine a disgruntled employee becoming enraged by some incident at work and deciding to go retrieve a weapon he keeps close by in his vehicle. The employee could then easily bring the weapon into the office and use it against a defenseless coworker or supervisor. The presence of guns in company parking lots has the potential to escalate incidents of workplace violence to deadly levels.
Supporters of the law say that it is necessary to give CHL holders the protection envisioned when CHL legislation was first passed. Holders of a CHL argue that unless they can store guns in their vehicles, they have to leave them at home. Then if they had need of their weapon for protection anywhere outside their home, they would be unable to defend themselves. For instance, if they wanted to protect themselves from a would-be assailant at a store on the way home from work, they must have access to their weapons in their vehicles.
Whether employers and employees are ready or not, the bill goes into effect September 1, 2011.
Source: Cuaderes, Jim. “Guns in Vehicles in Company Parking Lots Now Allowed in Texas.”ASAP (2011): 1-2. Littler. Littler Mendelson, 2011. Web. <http://www.littler.com>.