Companies in several states could be barred from telling employees to keep their guns at home if lawmakers prevail in a battle that pits gun rights advocates against private businesses, reports USA Today. At least six states – Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Oklahoma – have laws prohibiting some employers from barring their workers from leaving guns locked in their cars in employee parking lots. Several more states are considering such laws. Supporters say licensed gun owners should have access to weapons in case they need them for self-defense on the way to and from home.
Business organizations and gun-control advocates argue that such laws clash with employers’ responsibility to maintain safe workplaces and their right to determine what to allow on their private property. There were 516 workplace homicides – 417 of them caused by gunfire – in 2006, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The laws are being considered as the number of states that allow a law-abiding adult to carry a concealed gun in public has reached 40. “It’s part of the general movement to allow people to have guns for self-defense not only at home, but in public places where they’re most likely needed,” says Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA School of Law. He says employers face more constraints than in the past.