As a result of a new law, Texas employers have been amending their workplace violence policies so employees can store legally owned guns in their vehicles while they are at work.
The law, which went into effect Sept. 1, is intended to provide extra security for commuters who drive through dangerous neighborhoods on their way to and from the workplace.
More than a dozen states already have such laws, and adding Texas to that group was a major coup for the gun rights lobby. Two previous bills had failed in the Legislature before SB 321—known as the Employee Parking Lot Bill—passed in May and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry.
The Texas law is part of a backlash against firearm bans that many U.S. employers imposed after a series of widely publicized school and workplace shootings in the 1990s. In 2008, a federal judge upheld a Florida law that allows employees holding a concealed-weapons permit to keep a gun locked in their parked vehicle and, in 2009, a federal appeals court said a similar Oklahoma law does not conflict with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s standard on workplace violence.
The Texas law states that an employer cannot prohibit an employee who has a concealed handgun license or “otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm” from storing the weapon “in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage or other parking area the employer provides for employees.”