Can you carry a firearm at work? What are the rules in Georgia about possessing a firearm in your place of employment? Do you have to have a weapons carry license? Can you carry without a license? Is there a difference between a government employer or a private employer? Do signs restrict you properly? Can you be prohibited by company policy and are there restrictions in the law that would keep you from possessing a firearm?
Carrying in the workplace
If you are a weapon’s carry license holder, you can carry on private property and that includes the place where you work. Remember also that if you’re properly able to possess a firearm, meaning you’re not restricted from possessing a firearm in Georgia, then you can carry without a license in your home, your car, or your place of business.
You don’t have to have a weapon’s carry license if you are otherwise eligible to possess a firearm in the place where you work. If you are the employee, you’re eligible to carry without a weapon’s carry license and certainly eligible to carry with a weapon’s carry license except that your employer may restrict access to the building with a firearm. Someone in legal control of a property can exclude you or eject you if you are in possession of a weapon.
Now, signs don’t necessarily carry the force of law. The law states that you must be actually informed, but the fact is, if you are a weapon’s carry license holder or if you aren’t, your employer can restrict your access to the building. What your employer cannot restrict access to is your own private vehicle.
Carrying in your vehicle at the workplace
The law in Georgia allows you to carry into the parking lot if it is your car, but not a company car (that’s company property and can be restricted), if you have a weapon’s carry license, and if the firearm or the ammunition (or both) are locked out of sight in the vehicle.
If, however, the parking lot is a secured parking lot with gates, guards, doors, and fences, then there can be a policy in place to secure the parking lot and the building from firearms. Now, your employer cannot just search the vehicle unless it’s a company car.
Where can’t I carry?
What about statutory restrictions? Remember, as a weapon’s carry license holder, there’re still some places you cannot carry a firearm: in a government building without a weapon’s carry license, in a courthouse, a jail, or a prison, a place of worship without permission, in a state mental health facility, or on the premises of a nuclear power facility or within 100 feet of a polling place. So, any of those places become problematic for a weapon’s carry license holder and certainly for someone who doesn’t have a weapon’s carry license.
Additionally, you are restricted from facilities associated with electrical generation or they’re owned or operated by a public utility. Any U.S. Department of Defense contractor, or any employee who may already be restricted due to a completed or pending disciplinary action which restricts your ability to carry after the hearing, cannot carry into the parking lot or anywhere where the firearm is prohibited by state or federal law.
If the parking is a temporary parking area, then the employer can restrict you. Otherwise, if it’s an unsecured parking lot, you have a weapon’s carry license, and your ammunition and your firearm are locked out of sight, you would be eligible to carry and leave it in your own vehicle.
If you have any questions about firearms and your job, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney today.