You can now keep your handgun in your car on your employer’s parking lot

The last session of the Texas Legislature was a bit of a disappointment. Campus carry didn’t make it. An attorney I spoke with said that was because one of the co-sponsors pulled his support when he found out that he might not get his complementary A&M season football tickets next year if he let it go through. I’ll be digging into that story a bit farther as I have time.

However, there was one significant pro-gun bill passed. You can now keep your handgun in your car on your employer’s parking lot. Your employer may not forbid you to do so.  There are a few exceptions, so read the statute carefully. Bear in mind that Texas is a Right-To-Work State, so your employer can fire you for any reason, or no reason at all. Also bear in mind that carrying a handgun is not Politically Correct, so you may have a hard time prevailing in court even if you think you can prove you were fired in violation of this new law.

Here’s the text of the bill:

SB-321: Relating to an employee’s transportation and storage of certain firearms or ammunition while on certain property owned or controlled by the employee’s employer.

Bill Summary

Senate Bill 321
Senate Author: Hegar et al.
Effective: 9-1-11
House Sponsor: Kleinschmidt

Senate Bill 321 amends the Government Code to provide for the definition of “premises” for purposes of provisions regarding the rights of employers to prohibit a concealed handgun license holder from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises of a business. Senate Bill 321 amends the Labor Code to prohibit a public or private employer from prohibiting an employee who holds a concealed handgun license issued by the Department of Public Safety and who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm or ammunition from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition the employee is lawfully authorized to possess in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking area the employer provides for employees, with certain exceptions. The bill specifies that the prohibition does not prohibit an employer from prohibiting an employee who holds a concealed handgun license, or who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, from possessing a firearm the employee is otherwise authorized by law to possess on the premises of the employer’s business. The bill provides immunity from civil liability for a public or private employer or the employer’s principal, officer, director, employee, or agent for any damages resulting from or arising out of an occurrence involving a firearm or ammunition transported or stored in accordance with the bill’s provisions, except in cases of gross negligence, and establishes that such immunity does not limit or alter the personal liability of an individual or employee who engages in certain actions involving a firearm or ammunition.

Senate Bill 321 amends the Government Code to provide for the definition of “premises” for purposes of provisions regarding the rights of employers to prohibit a concealed handgun license holder from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises of a business.

Bill Text

S.B. No. 321 AN ACT relating to an employee’s transportation and storage of certain firearms or ammunition while on certain property owned or controlled by the employee’s employer.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Chapter 52, Labor Code, is amended by adding Subchapter G to read as follows:

SUBCHAPTERG.RESTRICTIONS ON PROHIBITING EMPLOYEE TRANSPORTATION OR STORAGE OF CERTAIN FIREARMS OR AMMUNITION

Sec.52.061.RESTRICTION ON PROHIBITING EMPLOYEE ACCESS TO OR STORAGE OF FIREARM OR AMMUNITION. A public or private employer may not prohibit an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, or who lawfully possesses ammunition from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition the employee is authorized by law to possess in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area the employer provides for employees.

Sec. 52.062. EXCEPTIONS.

(a) Section 52.061 does not:

(1)authorize a person who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, or who lawfully possesses ammunition to possess a firearm or ammunition on any property where the possession of a firearm or ammunition is prohibited by state or federal law; or
(2) apply to:

(A)a vehicle owned or leased by a public or private employer and used by an employee in the course and scope of the employee’s employment, unless the employee is required to transport or store a firearm in the official discharge of the employee’s duties;

(B) a school district;

(C)an open-enrollment charter school, as defined by Section 5.001, Education Code;

(D)a private school, as defined by Section 22.081, Education Code;

(E)property owned or controlled by a person, other than the employer, that is subject to a valid, unexpired oil, gas, or other mineral lease that contains a provision prohibiting the possession of firearms on the property; or

(F)property owned or leased by a chemical manufacturer or oil and gas refiner with an air authorization under Chapter 382, Health and Safety Code, and on which the primary business conducted is the manufacture, use, storage, or transportation of hazardous, combustible, or explosive materials, except in regard to an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and who stores a firearm or ammunition the employee is authorized by law to possess in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area the employer provides for employees that is outside of a secured and restricted area:

(i) that contains the physical plant;

(ii) that is not open to the public; and

(iii)the ingress into which is constantly monitored by security personnel.

(b)Section 52.061 does not prohibit an employer from prohibiting an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, or who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, from possessing a firearm the employee is otherwise authorized by law to possess on the premises of the employer’s business. In this subsection, “premises” has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035(f)(3), Penal Code.

Sec.52.063.IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL LIABILITY.

(a)Except in cases of gross negligence, a public or private employer, or the employer’s principal, officer, director, employee, or agent, is not liable in a civil action for personal injury, death, property damage, or any other damages resulting from or arising out of an occurrence involving a firearm or ammunition that the employer is required to allow on the employer’s property under this subchapter.

(b)The presence of a firearm or ammunition on an employer’s property under the authority of this subchapter does not by itself constitute a failure by the employer to provide a safe workplace.

(c)For purposes of this section, a public or private employer, or the employer’s principal, officer, director, employee, or agent, does not have a duty:

(1) to patrol, inspect, or secure:

(A)any parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area the employer provides for employees; or

(B)any privately owned motor vehicle located in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area described by Paragraph (A); or

(2)to investigate, confirm, or determine an employee’s compliance with laws related to the ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition or the transportation and storage of a firearm or ammunition.

Sec.52.064.CONSTRUCTION OF PROVISION RELATING TO IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL LIABILITY. Section 52.063 does not limit or alter the personal liability of:

(1)an individual who causes harm or injury by using a firearm or ammunition;

(2)an individual who aids, assists, or encourages another individual to cause harm or injury by using a firearm or ammunition; or

(3)an employee who transports or stores a firearm or ammunition on the property of the employee’s employer but who fails to comply with the requirements of Section 52.061.

SECTION 2. Section 411.203, Government Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 411.203. RIGHTS OF EMPLOYERS.
This subchapter does not prevent or otherwise limit the right of a public or private employer to prohibit persons who are licensed under this subchapter from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises of the business. In this section, “premises” has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035(f)(3), Penal Code.

SECTION 3. The change in law made by this Act applies only to a cause of action that accrues on or after the effective date of this Act. A cause of action that accrues before that date is governed by the law as it existed immediately before the effective date of this Act, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.

SECTION 4. This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.

Share
This entry was posted in Course Material. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to You can now keep your handgun in your car on your employer’s parking lot

  1. Bob says:

    How does this relate to those working in Security?

    I have a CHL, but I’m not allowed to carry it while on duty. However, my employer told me I’m not allowed to have my firearm in my vehicle on property either. I feel like this directly interferes with SB 321.

    • chltx says:

      I would recommend that you get your commission, so you can carry a gun on the job. Commissioned work pays better anyway.

      As for having a firearm in your vehicle, there are a few exceptions to the law for certain employers, but I don’t think yours falls under any of them. However, you have to bear in mind two things: 1) Texas (I’m assuming you are in Texas) is a right-to-work state, so your employer does not need a reason to fire you, and 2) Carrying a gun is not Politically Correct, so you are unlikely to prevail in court even if you can prove that your employer violated the law by prohibiting you from having a handgun in your vehicle under the provisions of 46.02.

Leave a Reply