Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News Gun Laws

The Letter of the Law: Parking Lot Storage Statutes

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Letter of the Law:  Parking Lot Storage Statutes

You can take your kids to work. You can take your pets to work. But you can’t always take your gun to work. 

Kentucky law – like similar laws in other states – grants protection against disciplinary action for employees who store a firearm in a private vehicle on their employer’s property, if the employee’s possession of the gun is otherwise legal. 

Bruce Holly, who had a valid Kentucky concealed carry license, kept his handgun in his car’s center console while at work. The employee handbook issued by his employer, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Inc. (UPS SCS), stated the employer’s policy was to “prohibit the possession and/or use of weapons by any employee on UPS property.”

When Holly’s car broke down at work, his supervisor agreed he could take it to a repair shop, and authorized another employee to go with him so he would have a ride back. Before he left, Holly asked M., a coworker, if M. would keep the gun in his car. The switch took no more than five minutes, and Holly replaced the gun in his own car in the employee parking lot later that day. No one else had had access to the gun. Holly claimed that the same day, his supervisor told him he should remove the gun “ASAP from the property.”

Holly continued to safely store his gun in his vehicle while at work. Two months later, he was fired, after the employer’s security staff found out about his gun. Holly alleged his termination was illegal as violating Kentucky law, Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 527.020 and § 237.106, and the state’s common law on wrongful termination. 

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 527.020(8), on carrying concealed weapon crimes, provides that a person not legally prohibited from possessing a gun may store a gun in a vehicle’s glove compartment, center console, seat pocket or other compartment or container inside the vehicle. Any attempt by a person to prohibit keeping a gun in a vehicle in accordance with this law gives rise to a civil cause of action for damages or other relief. The other law relied on by Holly, Section 237.110(17), allows a private business owner to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons at the workplace by concealed carry license-holders, but exempts the carrying of concealed deadly weapons and ammunition in a vehicle “owned by the employee.” 

Holly argued that notwithstanding the given reason for his termination (the misuse of company time arising from Holly asking a subordinate employee, M., for a personal favor during work), the real or actual cause was his possession of a handgun on workplace property. Because this conduct was protected by statute, Holly said, his employer provided this other, pretextual reason to mask its true motive.

In evaluating Holly’s wrongful dismissal claim, the court began with Kentucky’s employment law. “Ordinarily an employer may discharge his at-will employee for good cause, for no cause, or for a cause that some might view as morally indefensible.” One exception to this general rule was when an employee’s termination was “contrary to a fundamental and well-defined public policy” that was “evidenced by a constitutional or statutory provision” like the one at issue. The court of first instance, however, concluded that on the facts, Holly was not protected under Kentucky law based on the specific wording of Section 237.110. This referred to possession in a vehicle on the employer’s premises where the gun was “not removed from the vehicle” while the vehicle was on the premises. As soon as Holly took the gun out of his car for a reason other than the listed exceptions (defensive use or where authorized by the property owner), “his statutory protection ceased.”

Holly appealed. In an unreported decision dated March 2, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed that Holly’s conduct fell outside of the four corners of the statute. “While it is undisputed that Holly possessed a gun in his vehicle on the UPS SCS premises–which is gun possession protected under Kentucky law–it is likewise undisputed that he removed the gun from his vehicle and placed it in another employee’s vehicle–which is not gun possession ‘in compliance with the provisions of KRS 237.110…’”

This decision follows an earlier ruling in Kentucky, Mullins v. Marathon Petroleum Company, LP in 2014, in which Jason Mullins sued his employer, Marathon Petroleum Company, alleging a violation of the same Kentucky laws. Mullins claimed he was disciplined and placed on a precarious “one strike and you’re out” status after a security guard spotted a rifle in the back seat of Mullins’ car while it was parked in the employer’s lot. In another decision anchored to the specific language of the law, the court held that based on the “unambiguous wording of the statute, a cause of action will only lie … if an employer ‘prohibits’ employees from keeping weapons in their vehicle.” Marathon did not “prohibit” employees from keeping weapons in their vehicles, but did require that employees follow its weapon policies, including disclosure and obtaining approval. The state law does not prohibit or regulate “approval” or “disclosure” requirements at all, so in this case, too, the employee’s lawsuit was unsuccessful. 

The moral for employees who rely on their state’s parking lot protection laws when transporting or storing a gun while at work or on an employer’s property is to follow the letter of the law. Although state law may allow an employee to possess a handgun in his or her vehicle at work, this protection does not immunize or apply to all other handling of the gun while on the premises. As these cases show, an employer may be acting within its rights in disciplining an employee whose actions fall outside the precise and exact “safe zone” established by law.

TRENDING NOW
Washington Post Employs Deceptive Tactic on “Children” and Guns

News  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Washington Post Employs Deceptive Tactic on “Children” and Guns

The Washington Post has surpassed the Brady Campaign and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety to take a place alongside the New York Times as the premier anti-gun propagandists in the country.

Gun Control Lobby Seeks to Thwart SHARE Act with Hysteria, Fear Mongering

News  

Hunting  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gun Control Lobby Seeks to Thwart SHARE Act with Hysteria, Fear Mongering

The panic is now starting to set in amongst the gun control lobby, which is desperately searching for ways to smear a bill that has been around for years in various forms without attracting much ...

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Most concealed-carry permit holders understand the potential pitfalls of traveling with a firearm, given the outrageous patchwork of state laws involved in even a short interstate trip. And while we haven’t posted much about reciprocity ...

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll Throws Wrench in Anti-gun Agenda

News  

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll Throws Wrench in Anti-gun Agenda

Demonstrating the importance of the gun issue to the American electorate, 35 percent of respondents reported that “gun rights or gun control” had an impact on their voting behavior. The issue was the highest-rated answer, ...

Anti-Gun Politicians: Blocking Out The Facts About Suppressors

Hunting  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Anti-Gun Politicians: Blocking Out The Facts About Suppressors

As soon as the Hearing Protection Act was put forward on Jan. 9, 2017, leftists came out of the woodwork to criticize and misconstrue the goals of those who supported removing suppressors from the auspices ...

Rhode Island:  House Gives Final Approval to Gun Control Bill

Friday, September 22, 2017

Rhode Island: House Gives Final Approval to Gun Control Bill

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello summoned lawmakers back to Providence in a rare September session, and the House passed an anti-gun bill Tuesday afternoon.  The session had abruptly ended in June with the budget and a ...

UK: Growing Support for Arming More Police

News  

Friday, September 22, 2017

UK: Growing Support for Arming More Police

The UK’s fear of firearms, and potential weapons of all kinds, is well-documented. Subjects are urged not to carry any item, such as pepper spray, that might be adapted for self-defense. Officers take to social media to boast of ...

Long Term Trends in Gun Sales Remain Strong

News  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Long Term Trends in Gun Sales Remain Strong

Discussion of the state of the firearms industry began again with the release of the August NICS numbers. Allegations of a fading industry recur every month. Obama was the greatest gun salesman ever, Hillary Clinton ...

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

Gun owners received good news this week with the passage of the SHARE Act by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources (see related story). Meanwhile, progress continued to be made on another NRA legislative ...

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

Hunting  

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting and broadening access to federal lands ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.