Starting on September 1, Texans will have the right to bring guns and ammunition to their workplaces, as long as they’re stored in a locked car. The law, which Texas Governor (and newly anointed presidential hopeful) Rick Perry signed in July, will prohibit employers from banning guns from employee parking lots.
Gun rights advocates applauded the measure, saying that it would allow for needed self-defense at work. Critics, however, pointed out that the new law could simply increase the potential for violence in the workplace.
According to a Dallas employment attorney, Bryan Neal, most Texas employers currently ban firearms. ”I think that employers would feel better if there were no guns in the workplace,” he explained. ”Employers feel this is their private property and they shouldn’t’ be told what they can or can’t prohibit.”
Under the law, employees who choose to keep their guns in their vehicles must have a gun license. A few places of work — like schools and chemical and gas companies — are exempted (thank goodness, at least, that gun rights advocates aren’t pushing for firearms in school parking lots). It also provides for some employer liability, but Neal says that’s not good enough.
A New York Times editorial from 2007 declared, “Workplaces that tolerate guns are five to seven times more likely to suffer homicides than job sites that ban firearms, according to a 2005 study in The American Journal of Public Health. The notion that self-defense mandates keeping guns in office drawers or out in parking-lot glove compartments is a dangerous fantasy.”
Well, it’s a dangerous fantasy that’s about to become reality, at least in Rick Perry’s state. Makes you just that much happier that he’s running for president, right?
Photo from Anupam Kamal via Wikimedia Commons.