Many Employers currently have a company policy restricting firearms on company property. Senate Bill 199, effective March 21, 2017, may impact your company’s firearms policy.
Currently, employers may restrict employees with a valid concealed handgun license from bringing firearms onto company property which includes the buildings and parking lots, and may hold employees accountable who violate the company policy with corrective action including termination.
Effective March 21, 2017, individuals with valid concealed handgun licenses may possess firearms inside of their personal vehicle in company parking lots. Employers may still restrict employees and customers from possessing or carrying a licensed concealed firearm on company property and within the company building by posting a sign in a conspicuous location. Here is a link to the Ohio Attorney General’s sign: http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Concealed-Carry/Model-Concealed-Carry-Sign. The main impact is that employers may no longer restrict customers or employees with a valid concealed handgun license from possessing a firearm in their personal vehicle if properly stored.
Below is a more detailed language of the upcoming changes:
Sec. 2923.1210. (A) A business entity, property owner, or public or private employer may not establish, maintain, or enforce a policy or rule that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting a person who has been issued a valid concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition when both of the following conditions are met:
- Each firearm and all of the ammunition remains inside the person’s privately owned motor vehicle while the person is physically present inside the motor vehicle, or each firearm and all of the ammunition is locked within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or container within or on the person’s privately owned motor vehicle; and
- The vehicle is in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be.
Other Entities Impacted:
The above changes impact all employers, but there are additional nuances to colleges, airports, daycares, and schools. These changes are discussed below.
Individuals with a valid handgun license are not able to carry firearms on public or private colleges, universities or other higher education institutions. The upcoming changes will enable an institution to authorize specific individuals or classes of individuals to carry concealed handguns on the institution’s premises. If the institution does not adopt authorization for individuals to carry a concealed handgun on the premises, then individuals will not be able to carry a concealed handgun on premises but may still properly store a handgun in their personal vehicle.
Individuals with a valid handgun license will be able to carry a concealed firearm in limited areas of airport terminals. These individuals are not able to carry beyond passenger or property screening checkpoints or where access is restricted by airport security. For example, an individual with a valid license would be able to help a family member carry luggage into the airport carrying a concealed firearm but would not be able to go through passenger screening or luggage check-in points. Individuals with a valid concealed handgun license, may still properly store a handgun in their personal vehicle.
Individuals with a valid handgun license will be able to carry a concealed handgun into a daycare facility unless the daycare facility posts a conspicuous sign restricting entrance into the facility possessing a firearm. Please see link above for a model sign by the Ohio Attorney General. If a daycare does post a conspicuous sign restricting individuals from carrying a concealed weapon into the facility, then individuals may still properly store handguns in their personal vehicle.
Individuals with a valid handgun license, in a school safety zone, will be able to exit their vehicle with properly stored firearms in their personal vehicles. Currently, individuals with valid handgun licenses who are carrying are not able to exit their vehicles. The purpose of this change is to allow parents or caretakers the ability to drop off forgotten homework, attend a school conference meeting, or attend a school assembly as long as the handgun is properly stored in a vehicle. Individuals will still not be able to carry a handgun onto school premises.
CCJ recommends updating your current firearm policy, educating your Human Resources Managers, and educating Operations Supervisors/Managers about the changes. After the March effective date, it will no longer be permissible to discipline employees with a valid concealed handgun license for having properly stored firearm in a personal vehicle in a company parking lot. Companies who continue to enforce a company policy that violates Senate Bill 199, would be opening themselves up for a wrongful termination claim. Employers may, however, discipline employees who do not properly store firearms in personal vehicles. For example, it is not permissible for an employee to store a firearm in a company vehicle or carry a firearm into the building.
The workforce may be split on these upcoming changes so companies should be ready to address questions from employees who want to be sure they are following the law while on company premises and questions from employees who may feel discomfort at work. Additionally, many Human Resources and Asset Protection departments are reviewing the protocols for exiting an employee from a building after termination to ensure safety measures are in place for employees and customers within the building.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at 800.686.0440.