Employer Firearm Policies: Parking Lots, State Laws, OSHA, and the Second Amendment


On June 25, 2008, night-shift worker Wesley Higdon was escorted out of a Kentucky plastics factory by his

supervisor following an altercation over his cell phone usage and failure to wear eye goggles. Higdon then

allegedly went out to the factory parking lot, retrieved a firearm from his vehicle, and killed his supervisor and

four coworkers before turning the gun on himself. Under Kentucky law, Higdon’s employer was required to allow its employees to keep weapons in their vehicles while parked in the factory parking lot. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, homicide was the second-leading cause of death for women in the workplace in 2006. Eighty-one percent of all workplace homicides that year involved firearms..... In response, many employers have banned firearms from their property in order to decrease gun-related violence. Gun advocates have criticized these policies and have repeatedly challenged them in courts. In recent years, these advocates, including the National Rifle Association (“NRA”), have begun lobbying state legislatures to establish laws that prohibit employers from maintaining gun-free workplace policies. In what appears to be the first step of this strategy, the NRA is lobbying state legislatures to pass laws that prohibit employer policies restricting firearms in vehicles parked in employee parking lots. These parking area firearm laws have become a key front in the gun policy debate: pitting the employers’ obligation to protect the safety of their employees against an individual’s right to carry and transport firearms....This commentary will examine current state laws and employers’ challenges to them as well as the Supreme

Court’s recent Second Amendment decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and its potential for increased


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