Going to work is an important part of everyone’s lives, and while most civilian jobs do not normally involve carrying a firearm, a question we hear all the time is, “Can I carry my handgun at work?” The answer is best understood in two parts: whether it’s a crime, and if not, whether your employer can prohibit carrying.
If you have a Texas License to Carry or another recognized license or permit, taking your handgun to work is simple. If a business has not given you proper 30.06 or 30.07 notice or is not a prohibited place, you should be clear of any potential criminal charges. Remember though, there are specific places where possession of firearms is generally prohibited, such as schools, bars, offices used by courts, and the list goes on. With or without an LTC, you cannot carry at these places.
Additionally, if you don’t have an LTC, you generally cannot carry a handgun at work unless the premises are considered to be under your control. For example, if you’re a business owner, you may legally possess a handgun on the premises under your control without a license.
Under Texas law, both private sector and government employers CAN prohibit a person from having their handgun inside of buildings. For example, if a valid employment contract prohibits firearms anywhere on a company’s premises, carrying your handgun inside of an office building could be grounds for termination, even though it’s not a crime.
Texas law provides some relief for folks who would like to take their gun to work but are prohibited from doing so by their employer. The Texas Labor Code prohibits employers from having a policy or rule against gun owners storing firearms within their privately-owned motor vehicle in an employee parking area. Time for some bad news, though. This law provides absolutely no remedy for an employee who is terminated for having a handgun in their car. In other words, if your employer fires you for having a gun in your car, you very likely have no recourse against the employer. Also note, under this rule, some employers are still legally allowed to exclude firearms from parking areas, including property owned or leased by a chemical manufacturer or oil and gas refiners; and businesses that manufacture, use, store, or transport hazardous, combustible, or explosive materials.
The last major consideration we must take into account: Any person can be fired by their employer for a legal non-discriminatory reason. Unfortunately, Second Amendment Patriots are not considered a protected class like age, race, or gender. Under the current state of the law, it’s not considered discrimination to fire an employee for violating a firearms policy.
If you have any questions about firearms and your job, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney today.