Showdown looms over 'bring your gun to work' laws

Some companies aren't happy about states letting employees store firearms in their vehicles while on the job.

By Bruce Kennedy Jun 14, 2013 7:32AM

Handguns on displayThey're known as "bring your gun to work" or "parking lot" laws, and Alabama will soon become the latest of about 20 states to have such a measure. The NRA-supported bill was signed into law in May and takes effect in Alabama on Aug. 1.


The new law allows people with valid permits to keep firearms stored in their vehicles while at work. And those with a valid state hunting licenses can keep an unloaded rifle or shotgun in their vehicles while at work. Among its provisions, including how and when a firearm can be transported onto company property, the NRA notes the Alabama law "extends the current Castle Doctrine to include places of business to ensure the right of self-defense does not end when you enter your business."


While gun-rights advocates applaud such measures, these laws also create tricky legal challenges for many companies and employers concerned about both workplace security and possible lawsuits related to gun rights.


The law "provides the employees with a cause of action and a right to go into court, which is a big change for this subject," Marion Walker, with the Fisher & Phillips law firm, told the Birmingham Business Journal.


For example, the law firm suggests employers not ask their employees if they're carrying a gun. If an employer thinks a worker poses a risk to himself or others, it can inquire about a firearm in the person's vehicle. However, as the BBJ notes, "the law does not define how a company could arrive at that conclusion."


These laws have also been opposed by companies such as FedEx (FDX) and Volkswagen (VLKAY), which believe an employer's right to decide if a gun is allowed on company property should have precedent over an individual's gun rights.


"FedEx should be allowed to continue to implement policies that are designed to protect our employees from irrational or heat-of-the-moment actions by their co-workers," Mark Hogan, the company's vice president for security, said during testimony last year before Tennessee lawmakers. "Allowing employees to have near, immediate access to firearms, at work, creates an element of risk that is unacceptable."


In the meantime, experts are advising Alabama companies to review and revise any workplace violence-prevention policies to ensure they comply with the new law.


"Also look hard at updating your Professional Conduction of Prohibition Against Harassment to include prohibitions on bullying as objectionable conduct," Tommy Eden, a management labor attorney at Contangy, Brooks & Smith, recently wrote in the Opelika-Auburn News. "Workers who are bullied at work may decide that the gun in their pickup is the great equalizer."


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112Comments
Jun 14, 2013 10:24AM
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Good luck preventing me from keeping a gun in my car. Maybe I can't take it into the building, that's the businesses right to tell me, but they can't tell me what I can and can't keep in my car. And even if they try I won't let them deny my Constitutionally-protected rights to defend myself.

I don't need to make a choice between self-defense and working. If my car breaks down in a bad neighborhood or I return home to surprise criminals inside my home I will be armed, period end of discussion.

Jun 14, 2013 11:40AM
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If you are from New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle you will find bringing your gun to work insane.  If you are from Guntersville, Alabama, Defuniak Springs, Florida, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, Tupelo, Mississippi, Monroe, Louisiana, Hardy, Arkansas, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Murphy, North Carolina, Sweet Water, Texas, or Coal Town, Kentucky, you probably don't have a problem with this because you have had your gun in your car all along.
Jun 14, 2013 12:14PM
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I bring mine all the time. sometime on me.  no one complains when the criminal tries to steal something. when i was younger my neighbor was not so hot on me walking around my property in NJ with a rifle. after his garage was broken into and his car window broken as they tried to steal it he never said another word and was happy to see me walk with it.  its time people take the responsibilty for the actions and not blame a gun
Jun 14, 2013 10:42AM
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Individual rights to self-defense outweigh those of a company, whose policy-makers are not accountable to the employees who may require protection, and are often determined by their own political or social agenda.

 

In any case, property rights extend to personal vehicles.  I don't relinquish my right to keep certain types of media or other items just because I drive onto a company's public-access parking lot.  The same principle applies to firearms, pocket knifes, or pepper spray.

 

Ultimately, a business, whether a small locally-owned convenience store or a multi-national corporation, is safer with employees who take responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of their coworkers.

Jun 14, 2013 12:16PM
Jun 14, 2013 12:51PM
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back when the US was the US and not socialist kids had guns  at school to go hunting with  they did not shoot anybody. workers  had them in there  car to target practice  with  no body got  shot . fast forward to  now   laws are not  enforced  anymore  30 years ago you were reasonable for your actions.  now they make up  excuses'  for what you do. when i was a kid and there was a gun in the house and i even looked at it  my ****  was red  not  fear  but respect  for the weapon and what it could  do. my father taught me how to  shoot  and how to handle a gun  so i would not hurt  anyone  or  myself   you want more control over guns  teach it in  school  under  police  supervision  the  more they  know  about  guns  the less chance  people will get  killed HARD TO  TALK ABOUT  SOMETHING  YOU KNOW NOTHING  ABOUT
Jun 14, 2013 12:14PM
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My God I hate liberals and now I will NEVER use Fedx again.

 

 Congrats UPS you just got a new account

Jun 14, 2013 1:37PM
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to quote the article:   Tommy Eden, a management labor attorney at Contangy, Brooks & Smith, recently wrote in the . "Workers who are bullied at work may decide that the gun in their pickup is the great equalizer."

 

 

what the lawyer SHOULD do is stop the employees BEING BULLIED AT WORK! then they'd have no reason to go for their guns. Nope, keep the abusive environment, and blame the guy who can't take it any more.

Jun 14, 2013 2:35PM
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So if an employer does not allow the employee to have a gun in their vehicle, does the employer then take responsibility for the employee's safety for the time period between when the employee leaves for work in the morning and finally returns home in the evening?
Jun 14, 2013 12:45PM
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It's worked so well for the Post Office.
Jun 14, 2013 1:24PM
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Why is this in the 'Money' section of MSN anyway?
Jun 14, 2013 3:00PM
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more food for thought: some claim that "gun free zones" are to prevent the possibility of workplace violence. BUT if an employee is disgruntled enough to want to murder their boss or coworkers does anyone think that he/she will just sit at home moping.

"*sigh* I wish I could kill my jerk boss and those azz-kisser co-workers of mine but there's that stupid rule about bringing guns to work... guess I will just sit here and drown my sorrow in cheap booze instead"
Does anyone really think that is what would happen?

if anything the rule just sticks on another criminal charge to a long list of charges, IF SWAT captures the crazy guy alive...
Jun 14, 2013 2:43PM
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Ha ha ... who cares.  Nobody.  Criminals have more guns than law abiding citizens and I don't see anyone stopping them from carrying.  Get real.  The constitution doesn't guard your right to have firearms, the people who defend the constitution do.  So, carry if ya want.  I think this article just gives them the right to document, follow and search you since you have to be a registered "gun toter."

Jun 14, 2013 2:18PM
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Sounds good!!!Just hope Kansas got the message.
Jun 14, 2013 4:19PM
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who doesn't carry a gun around with them everywhere they go? are there really people out there that don't? UGGH...I don't know about you but, I personally know my rights and fully understand them and FULLY utilize them EVERY DAY....ALL DAY!!!!

 

I'm not a scared little coward like you sheep. you want to have rights? USE THEM!!!!!! all you people just hand them over willfully and then complain when you can't use them....makes no sense....DDDEEERRRR!!!!!!!!  MAN UP LITTLE GIRLS!!!!! this country used to have men in it.

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The companies can go to hell. It should be a nationwide right not just statewide.
Jun 14, 2013 4:41PM
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I hear this crap all the time from Big companies.

My Girlfriend was confronted in a PUBLIX parking lot.

when I went in and asked to speak to the manager, he told me they are NOT responsible for what happens there.

 

Now I use this rule of thumb.

If my car is hit in a public lot, and the company that owns/rents the space says they are not liable if my car gets damaged, say. from a cart, , I figure they have absolved themselves of the responsibility of what happens out there

when I carry.

simple, eh?

Cant have it both ways.

 

Jun 14, 2013 5:11PM
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As an employer and a 2A supporter, I see the problem.  The employer carries liability if the employee who has a gun in his vehicle does something stupd with it.  Amend the law to isolate the employer's liability, and some of the complaining will drop.

 

I carry at work, and some of my employees do also.  I pity the fool that tries to rob us.

Jun 14, 2013 7:43PM
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Anytime guns are prohibited, those initiating the prohibition should be totally responsible for the safety of anyone legitimately present in those locations.
Jun 14, 2013 3:29PM
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If the law says I can take my gun to work and use it to protect myself, my company should not be able to tell me I can't.
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