Guns in the Workplace Revisited

With all the terrible news this week regarding the attack at Virginia Tech, it seemed an appropriate time to revisit the issue of guns in the workplace. Workplaces that tolerate guns are five to seven times more likely to suffer homicides than job sites that ban firearms, according to a 2005 study in The American Journal of Public Health. Yet the gun lobby is hard at work trying to pass laws in state legislatures that would make it illegal for an employer to forbid guns on the employer's grounds.

As this recent editorial in the New York Times points out, this fight is pitting two formidable interests - the gun lobby and corporate America - against one another. From the article:

Bills to deny this common-sense right to workplace safety were initially approved in three states. But they failed last year in such gun-friendly states as Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Virginia after business interests rose up in active opposition. The National Rifle Association is back at work harder than ever in a dozen states. But so are Chambers of Commerce and corporate executives, warning of the danger -- and business liability -- of forcing companies to allow workers to carry guns.

Here in Texas, the gun lobby is hard at work to pass just this sort of legislation. My friend Mike Fox put me on to state House Bill 220, which would prohibit employers from banning guns in parking lots except under very narrow circumstances, and SB 534/HB 992, which would provide a cause of action for anyone discharged for having a gun on an employer's parking lot if certain notice requirements have been met by the employee.

As if employers didn't have enough to deal with without employees being allowed by law to pack heat at work. Pure insanity.

OK here is some homework for every Texas employer that reads this blog: Contact your state senator and congressperson and let them know that employee safety is important to you and that you hope they will not support any of these bills.State Senator Contact Info . State Representative Contact InfoTheoretically related Links:Guns in the Workplace - HR Lawyer's BlogNational Rifle Association web page in support of the Texas billsHouston Chronicle Article on the Texas bills