Much Ado About Nothing: The Firearm Carry Act Of 2021’s De Minimis Effect On Guns In The Workplace

Vinson & Elkins LLP
Contact

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Keys. Phone. Wallet. Mask. For the past year, those have been the staple items most individuals have ensured they have on their person before leaving their home to go to work. But as Covid-19 cases continues to subside in the United States, and more and more individuals stop donning masks, Texans might start putting down their masks and picking up something new on their way out the door: Cue the Firearm Carry Act of 2021. The Texas act, which was sent to Governor Abbot for signature on May 28, 2021 and expected to go in effect September 1, 2021, allows persons 21 years and older to possess and carry firearms in public without a government issued permit or license, provided state or federal law does not otherwise prohibit the individual from possessing the firearm.

While the law certainly makes it easier for individuals to carry firearms in public, it does not give individuals the right to carry firearms carte blanche. Importantly for employers, the act explicitly states that it does not interfere with an employer’s right to prohibit their employees from carrying a firearm on the employer’s “premises.” Employers likely remember discovering what the law considered their premises to be nearly 10 years ago after Texas lawmakers gave employees with permits the right to store firearms in their locked personal vehicle. An employer’s premises includes “buildings and parts of buildings,” but not parking areas, driveways, or sidewalks. From an employment law perspective, the new act merely extends to unlicensed gun owners, the rights that licensed gun owners already have. Assuming Governor Abbot signs the law, employees must be allowed to keep firearms in their own private, locked vehicles on employer parking lots or in employer parking garages.

Because some employees are likely to be unfamiliar with the act’s restrictions, employers should consider sending a friendly communication to their workforce that provides both a description of the act’s limitations and a reminder of the employer’s firearms policy. Employers might also consider placing notices on employee entrances that firearms are not allowed on the premises, a topic we discussed a couple years ago here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Vinson & Elkins LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Vinson & Elkins LLP
Contact
more
less

Vinson & Elkins LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.