McDonald vs. City of Chicago, which the Supreme Court heard March 2, could overturn Chicago’s gun ban. Should the ban be overturned, employers will need to consider the implications. “As a result, employers may experience an increase in employees who legally own and possess firearms,” says Jessica Walberg, an associate at Ford & Harrison.
In a similar case in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that a handgun ban in the District of Columbia violated the Second Amendment–the right to bear arms. Many experts believed the rejection of this 32-year ban would mean a looser attitude toward gun ownership, but that wasn’t the case.
In Washington, lifting the ban led to the creation of barriers, whose goal was to slow an inevitable increase in gun possession. As Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told CNN, the ruling “still [allowed for] common-sense gun control laws, restrictions to make us all safer.” Despite requiring fingerprints, photographs, a 20-question test on the District’s gun laws and regulations, a five-hour class, a vision exam and more from gun buyers, the ban’s rejection still managed to provoke an increase in firearm possession.
Just like the obstacles implemented in D.C., Chicago employers may be spurred to produce their own deterrents–and they will be legally entitled to do so. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on McDonald this month.
“The Supreme Court’s 2008 decision did not specifically permit employee possession of firearms at work but rather lifted a ban on possession and ownership of handguns within the District of Columbia,” Walberg says. Therefore, employers are free to put their own policies in place that would prohibit employees from bringing firearms on work property.
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