Guns at Work in the Mass Shooting Debates
In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, less than a week after the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, news reports show that in the United States in 2015 approximately 353 mass shootings have occurred. While arguments can be made to factually distinguish all of these events—the mindset of the shooter, the events leading up to the shooting, the ease of firearm access—the Colorado Springs and San Bernardino shootings had at least one thing in common, employees were killed or injured. As humans we experience a range of emotions regarding these events—but as employers we need to make sure that we are consistently providing a safe working environment for our employees.
While this blog post could provide an all-encompassing analysis as to what a "safe working environment" means in different situations, today we will focus on "Bring Your Gun to Work" laws across the country. Each of the following states have state laws that set forth permissible rules/standards for bringing guns to work insofar as the firearm is stored in the employees' vehicle on the property. The statutes generally restrict and employer's ability to prohibit employees from storing firearms in their private vehicles when parked on the employers' premises. Additionally, many of the states below also have posting provisions which require employers to post notice regarding employees' rights under the applicable law.
• Alabama: Alabama Code § 13A-11-90(b)
• Alaska: Alaska Statute § 18.65.800
• Arizona: Arizona Revised Statute § 12-781
• Florida: Florida Statute § 790.251
• Georgia: Georgia Code § 16-11-135
• Illinois: 430 Illinois Comp. Stat. Ann. § 66/65(b)
• Indiana: Indiana Code § 34-28-7-2
• Kansas: Kansas Statute § 75-7c10
• Kentucky: Kentucky Revised Statutes § 237.106
• Louisiana: Louisiana Revised Statutes § 32:292.1
• Maine: Maine Revised Statutes Title 26 § 600(1)
• Minnesota: Minnesota Statute § 624.714
• Mississippi: Mississippi Code § 45-9-55
• Nebraska: Nebraska Revised Statute § 69-2441
• North Dakota: North Dakota Century Code § 62.1-02-13
• Oklahoma: Oklahoma Statute Title 21 §§ 1289.7a(A)
• Tennessee: Tennessee Code §§ 39-17-1313; 50-1-312
• Texas: Texas Labor Code § 52.061
• Utah: Utah Code § 34-45-103(1)
• Wisconsin: Wisconsin Statute § 175.60
Clear from the above list, neither California nor Colorado have "Bring Your Gun to Work" statutes. Despite this, employers in all the states not listed above (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming) should remain aware of firearm restrictions in their state (and/or municipality) and take steps to keep the work environment safe for all employees.
If you have any questions regarding firearms in the workplace, give a member of Verrill Dana's Labor and Employment Practice Group a call to discuss further.