The new Texas state law that allows employees to bring guns to work, so long as they are secured in a locked vehicle, goes into effect September 1.
Senate Bill 321 was passed in the state legislature in May and was signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 17. The law allows employees who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun or otherwise are lawfully allowed to possess a firearm to have the weapon secured in a locked vehicle in an employer’s parking lot, garage, or other parking area provided for employees.
The new law provides some liability protection for employers. The July issue of Texas Employment Law Letter points out that a section of the law holds employers immune from lawsuits except in cases of gross negligence. The law also allows employers to prohibit employees from possessing a weapon on company property other than the parking area.
In addition, the law doesn’t require employers to inspect parking lots, garages, or other parking areas to make sure employees are complying with the laws relating to the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition.
The law also provides some exceptions. For example, if the car is owned or leased by a public or private employer and used by the employee in the course of his duties, an employer can ban firearms from the vehicle unless using a gun is part of the employee’s job. Further, some employers — schools and certain oil, gas, and chemical facilities — are still allowed to prohibit guns on the premises.
Texas joins a number of other states that have enacted these so-called “parking lot” laws in the past several years, including Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah.
Keep up with the latest developments in Texas employment law with the Texas Employment Law Letter