On March 18, Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill allowing most employees in the state to bring weapons onto their employer’s property as long as the weapons are kept out of plain sight in locked vehicles. The bill will take effect July 1, 2010.
In the signing statement accompanying the bill, Governor Daniels acknowledged the broad bipartisan support the legislation had received in the legislature. He also acknowledged and encouraged the legislature to resolve the bill’s ambiguities to avoid unnecessary litigation. Most significantly, however, the governor’s decision to sign the legislation rested in large part on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the “even stronger language” of the Indiana Constitution, which states: “The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.” Here is Governor Daniels’ complete signing statement:
Considering the clear language of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the even stronger language of Article 1 Section Thirty-Two of the Indiana Constitution, protecting these rights as provided in HEA 1065 is appropriate. I also am compelled to give great weight to the overwhelming consensus of both Houses of the General Assembly as they passed this bipartisan statute. The law does contain ambiguities that the General Assembly may wish to refine at some future date, to avoid unnecessary litigation, but the understandable concerns raised against the bill do not suffice to justify a trespass on a fundamental right so expressly protected by our founding documents.
In light of this development, many employers will need to revise their current policies and practices to conform with the law by July 1.
Look for more detailed coverage of this law in the next issue of Indiana Employment Law Letter. You can find information on state laws regarding weapons in the workplace for all states in 50 Employment Laws in 50 States.