Bring your gun to work law passed in Tennessee

| March 22, 2013
no handguns allowed sign

See this sign here.

A recent gun law is pitting employers and employees in Tennessee against each other–and each group has the law on their side.

A new bill, signed by Governor Bill Haslam, will allow people with handgun carry permits to store these weapons in their vehicles, no matter where they’re parked. However, the new bill conflicts with prior legislation that protects the rights of employers. Knox News reports:

“Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville and four fellow Republican co-sponsors on Thursday (March 14th) submitted a letter for inclusion into the Senate Journal elaborating on their legislative intent for the measure.

While the letter states the bill does not seek to alter the state’s “employment-at-will doctrine,” it notes that businesses could run into trouble if they seek to enforce a gun ban on their property.

“Employers who terminate employees just for exercising this right may violate the state’s clear public policy that handgun carry permit holders are allowed to transport and store firearms or ammunition,” the sponsors wrote.

That analysis appears to conflict with statements by the main House sponsor who stressed in committee and during floor debate that the bill wouldn’t affect employers’ abilities to fire anyone.”

Lawful concealed weapons permitted sign

See this sign here.

The prevalence of workplace violence makes employers’ concerns understandable: the most recent federal census revealed that 17 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2011 were caused by workplace violence, or 780 deaths of a total 4,607.  Permitting employees to have guns as close by as the company parking lot will inevitably cause concern. Like many other states, employers in Tennessee are permitted to enforce a company policy that prohibits employees from having guns in their cars in work lots, even if the gun has been legally obtained. This puts two liberties–that of the employer enforcing their company policy and the employee exercising their right to stow their weapons–directly at odds.

The legislation (HB142) has been approved in both the Senate (28-5) and the House (72-22). The bill goes into effect this summer, on July 1st.

Category: Guns, Trespassing