By now, we’ve all read about the Supreme Court decision holding that the Second Amendment guarantees a private right to possess firearms. But here’s an interesting trend in firearms law that directly impacts employers: several states have passed or are considering laws preventing employers from prohibiting employees from keeping firearms in their cars on company property.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed such a law, which went into effect July 1, although that law is being challenged in Federal Court. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed his state’s version in April, which took effect immediately. Louisiana passed its version in July, and it will go into effect August 15. Oklahoma passed such a law in 2004, but a federal district court issued an injunction blocking the law from taking effect, and that case is currently pending before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Firearm rights’ groups such as the National Rifle Association were very active in passing these laws. Employer groups like the Society for Human Resource Management, the Brady Center and major employers like Disney World opposed them on the basis that they infringe upon employers’ property rights, violate federal occupational safety laws and increase the risk of workplace violence.
Given the momentum it received from Supreme Court’s ruling on the D.C. gun ban, we anticipate the pro-gun lobby will become even more active in seeing similar laws passed in more states. The western states, with their libertarian attitudes and high rates of gun ownership, are likely to become the gun lobby’s next targets. Major employers and employer groups will likely challenge these laws, both in the state legislatures and the courts. The 10th Circuit ruling on the Oklahoma law may well decide how prevalent these laws will be. And rest assured, Ted Nugent will be involved.