On Jan. 1, 2016, Texas became the 45th state to allow some form of open carrying of firearms. The Texas statute allows licensed handgun owners to openly carry their weapons in a wide variety of locations, including most workplaces. In addition to the “open carry” statute, Texas also enacted a “parking lot law,” which permits employees to keep guns in locked private vehicles in parking lots, including the parking lot at their workplaces. Unlike the open carry statute, the parking lot law has no “opt out” mechanism for employers. While the precise numbers of employers who have chosen to allow weapons in the workplace is unknown, it appears that at least some Texas workplaces are now welcoming guns with, as they say, open arms.
Whether they encourage their employees to bring firearms to work or would prefer that the employees’ guns stay at home, however, all Texas employers must comply with all applicable provisions of the state’s bring-your-gun-to-work rules. In some cases, doing so can create tension between workplace violence prevention programs (which tend to discourage the presence of firearms) and compliance with Texas law.
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