Parking Lots are New Battleground in Bring-Your-Gun-to-Work Debate

Friday, October 18, 2013
Rocky T. Christian shot his boss to death in the company parking lot in Apopka, Florida (photo: Orange County Jail)

The gun lobby has managed to convince lawmakers in more than 20 states to adopt laws allowing employees to bring guns to work, as long as the firearms remain in their automobiles. Known as “bring your gun to work” or “parking-lot” laws, these measures have angered many business owners, including those running some of the largest companies in the United States, who argue that the statutes interfere with company policies and conflict with property owners’ rights.


To date, 22 states have passed laws allowing individuals with valid permits to keep small and large caliber weapons in their vehicles once they arrive at their jobs. Workers cannot bring the weapons into the workplace itself, nor can their bosses tell them to leave their weapons at home.


This restriction has not sat well with many big employers, including FedEx, Volkswagen, Caterpillar and Bridgestone, which have fought the laws in state legislatures.


“Much like a private homeowner is able to tell his guests whether they can bring a gun into his yard, FedEx should have the right to decide what it will and will not allow on its private property,” Mark Hogan, vice president of U.S. security for FedEx Express told Tennessee lawmakers last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Tennessee went on to adopt a law allowing guns in parking lots.


Gun-rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, claim the laws increase worker safety, and say that workers have a right to protect themselves during their commutes.


But Hogan disagreed with the notion that guns at work makes the job safer.


“FedEx should be allowed to continue to implement policies that are designed to protect our employees from irrational or heat-of-the-moment actions by their co-workers,” Hogan told lawmakers, according to MSN Money. “Allowing employees to have near, immediate access to firearms, at work, creates an element of risk that is unacceptable.”


Last year alone, 375 U.S. workers were shot and killed on the job, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, workplaces that permit guns are about five times more likely to have an employee shot to death compared to workplaces that prohibit weapons, according to a 2005 American Journal of Public Health study.


A ban on guns in the workplace provides “an opportunity for the employee to cool off before they take an irrational action in response to something that happens at work,” FedEx’s Hogan testified in Tennessee.


Some firms are taking extra precautions in advance of a situation where they anticipate an employee may become angry. For instance, some companies have hired armed guards and had staff wear bulletproof vests at meetings where an employee is told he is being terminated. One such meeting, related to The Wall Street Journal by Philadelphia labor law specialist Jeffrey Pasek, was held at an airport so that the employee to be fired would first have to pass through security scanners.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Guns in the Parking Lot: A Delicate Workplace Issue (by Sara Murray, Wall Street Journal)

Showdown Looms over 'Bring Your Gun to Work' Laws (by Bruce Kennedy, MSN)

‘Guns at Work’ Laws Pit Gun Owners Against Employers (

Starbucks Seeks to Keep Guns Out of Its Coffee Shops (by Stephanie Strom, New York Times)


Texas TopCat 5 years ago
In searching for examples, I have only been able to find cases where employees used guns in their cars to prevent violent crimes and no examples of employees using guns left in cars to cause violence. Of course, with the current administration calling the Ft Hood attack as "work place violence", not sure what the liberal elements of the country call workplace violence.
Texas TopCat 5 years ago
After some investigation this group seems to always mirror the goals of the extreme progressive left. So, I suspect any factual content is suspect and should e considered from a very biased organization. The report sited concluded "might increase" and was quoted as "five times" increase.
George H. Foster 5 years ago
In Florida, your car is considered your property, even if it parked on someone else's, except in a few narrow situations. This law has been on the books since 2005, with few problems, especially with the 1 million people who now have concealed carry permits.. I work for a firm that has over 1,000 people, and it is the expectation at all times by security that somebody has a gun in their car. The joke is that the real problem with guns in the building is women who drop their concealed carry permitted handgun into their purse, and forget to take it out and leave it in the car. Somebody with rage or grudge against somebody at an organization is not concerned about such a rule, since they are not expecting to come to work there again.
JRE 5 years ago
normusa 5 years ago
Employees are entitled to be able to protect themselves between home and work. If the company does not want weapons left in cars, they should provide secure storage. Also, any building that does not allow firearms should provide secure storage for the guns and put ALL people through metal detectors to make sure no persons are armed.
Biff Sarin 5 years ago
The crossover here is that you are inviting, what one can only assume are trusted employees to bring THEIR property (their car) onto your property. You ask those employees to travel to YOUR office, factory, or warehouse to perform their job. They have the right to protect themselves during their commute. If you don't agree with the law, then let them telecommute. I feel sorry for people that take public transit to work, some transit trains aren't the safest places in the world and they have no where to legally store their gun when they get to work at a gun-prohibitionist employer.
TomSally 5 years ago
My company has this policy, I just ignore it, and keep my gun in my car. Go ahead, see if you can find it. Boogita Boogita, its there and you cant find it statists.

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