Last week, the NRA-ILA updated you on the recent hearing by the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee (here) which included a review of the implementation of Senate Bill 321, the NRA-backed employee/parking lot protection legislation sponsored by state Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) and Representative Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington) that was enacted during the 2011 legislative session.
A representative from the NRA-ILA testified at that hearing that some employers are claiming that their federally-approved facility security plans banning firearms in company parking lots override state law. Other employers have posted 30.06 signs outside their parking areas in an effort to prevent or discourage employees from transporting or storing lawfully-owned firearms in their private vehicles while parked at work. We mentioned that state Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) had requested a ruling from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on these two points, and a formal opinion (here) was issued yesterday.
In summary, his opinion states:
* An employer subject to Section 52.061 of the Labor Code may not ban the transport and storage of handguns in locked private vehicles by employees with concealed handgun licenses in employee parking areas by posting the notice authorized by Section 30.06 of the Penal Code;
* A federally approved facility security plan under either the Maritime Transportation Security Act or the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards is not federal law that would preempt Section 52.061 of the Labor Code; and
* No statute for which we are aware provides a specific remedy for employees whose employers violate Section 52.061. And the state legislature has not authorized this office or any other state agency to take corrective action. Despite the lack of a statutory remedy, an aggrieved employee may, depending on the circumstances, have the ability to sue an offending employer under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act.
We applaud and thank General Abbott for interpreting the law and its application in the manner the state legislature intended, and for upholding the rights of hard-working Texans to protect themselves in these circumstances.