On June 17, 2011, Gov. Perry signed into law a bill, which restricts employers from prohibiting employee storage of lawfully possessed firearms in vehicles parked in employer parking lots. This amendment to Chapter 52 of the Texas Labor Code, provides that a private or public employer may not prohibit an employee from storing a firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, garage, or other parking area provided by the employer. However, in order to store a firearm in his or her vehicle, the employee must hold a concealed handgun license in accordance with Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code or otherwise lawfully possess a firearm.
Here are some exceptions associated with this new Bill.
It does not authorize possession of a firearm where possession of a firearm is otherwise prohibited by state or federal law.
It does not apply to vehicles owned or leased by the employer. Employers may continue to prohibit possession of firearms in a company car. This does not pertain to employee that are required to transport or store a firearm as part of the employee’s duties.
It does not apply to employee storage of firearms in their vehicles in parking lots of school districts, open-enrollment charter schools or private schools.
It does not apply to chemical manufacturers or oil and gas refiners where the primary business is the manufacture, use, storage or transportation of hazardous, combustible or explosive materials. Even this exception contains an exception. An employee who holds a CHL may store a firearm or ammunition in a privately owned vehicle at a chemical plant or oil and gas refinery as long as the car is in a parking lot outside of the restricted area of the plant, and as long as the plant is not open to the public and entry to the plant is monitored by security personnel.
This bill applies only to parking areas. An employer may continue to prohibit employees from possessing a firearm on the “premises” of the employer’s business.
SB 321 goes into effect Sept. 1, 2011. Employers in Texas should review their employment and security policies to make sure that their policies comply with SB 321.
For more information regarding your company’s policies and procedures and their compliance with State and Federal Laws, consult with a qualified HR Specialist or your LL Roberts Group PEO Consultant (toll free) at 877.878.6463.