New Law To Allow Licensed Gun Owners Keep Guns In Cars At Work

Governor Rick Perry has been busy signing and vetoing various bills to come out of this legislative session. One bill he vetoed would have banned texting while driving. The governor said the measure amounted to 'micromanaging' the behavior of adult drivers. But one bill he signed will allow licensed concealed handgun owners to keep guns in their cars while they are at work. David Pitman explains how the new law will work, once it takes effect later this year.

Employers will no longer be able to prohibit their employees from keeping guns inside a locked car in a parking lot. South Texas College of Law Professor Charles "Rocky" Rhodes says employers can still prohibit their workers from bringing those guns inside the building.

"That's going to still be a determination made on a case-by-case basis by a particular employer whether, or not, they want their employees to have the ability to be armed while they're actually in the office building or the other workplace." 

If a gun kept in a parking lot is used in an act of violence, Rhodes says the law shields employers from civil liability claims, except in cases of gross negligence.

"But that's a very difficult standard to meet, and it certainly wouldn't be met in most cases in which an employee went out and grabbed a gun that was in a locked vehicle."

The new law also says employers do not have to make sure their employees are actually licensed to carry concealed weapons, in order to keep them in their cars.  It takes effect on September 1st.  It applies to nearly all public and private employers, including universities and hospitals. The only significant exceptions are public, private, and charter schools — along with oil and chemical refineries. 

Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...