When States Allow Employees to Bring Firearms to Work

There are certain news stories we one cannot help but muse on all the absurd potentialities.  One such story is one that came through a news letter to which I subscribe.   It  is an article in The Republic, in Columbus Indiana, where it reports that the Texas Legislature may allow employees to bring their guns to work with them.   That's right.  They can bring their guns, potentially, as long as they leave them in the parking lot.   Thirteen states have enacted similar legislation.  This comes at a time, of course, when government agencies, politicians, civil groups and what not are demanding background checks for for anyone buying a firearm.

The vote in the Texas Legislature was thirty to one in favor, so to say the least it is a popular concept.   Alicia Trip, Legislative Director of the Texas Rifle Association, said," We don't see it as bring your guns to work.  We call it the commuter safety bill."  Presumably, that means employees will be armed and ready during their commute should a bloodthirsty horde of renegade Apaches or carjackers,  whichever comes first.    Of course, plinking at targets and actually shooting people are to use a phrase, horses of a different color.  But I want go there.

One wonders if this will create a new form of employee bonding and team building.  A firearms show and tell out in the parking lot, during the lunch hour.  Perhaps the really accommodating employer will set up a target range out in the backyard so employees can shoot it up and try each other's weapons.     And the, of course, if a bunch of heathen terrorists decide to launch a "take no prisoners" attack on Big Ed's Produce and Patio Furniture Emporium, the workforce can band together and fight them off.    Talk about some terrific video for your iPhone.  Millions of hits on YouTube.

Not everybody is in favor of this legislation.  No surprise there.  At a time, as I noted, when various civic groups are demanding tougher background checks for those buying firearms, it would seem employers would be tasked with verifying the eligibility of the gun toting employee and the legitimacy of the firearm.  With the economy still slow and employers pressed for time they need to devote to the exigencies of actually running a business.

Various employers are far less sanguine about the bill.   Concerns are that in a tense workplace situation, should one employee have a beef with another, then with a gun in close proximity, the disgruntled employee may be more inclined to retrieve it from his car and start shooting up the place.   This can make for nasty headlines, and of course there is the pesky liability issues, and the resultant horror show that someone, or several someone's, have been killed or injured.   With workplace violence on the increase, this is a consideration, and not a recommended means of ending those uncomfortable office trysts.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas have that needling policy where they prohibit employees from coming to work with weapons.  Can't imagine why.  As for other health insurance companies, I don't know.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield were the two listed in the article.   So there could be a conflict between the new healthcare policy and the new weapons to work policy.  Of course if this becomes a heated controversy, I would say the ones with the weapons have the upper hand.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I am not so concerned with the macro issue, guns versus anti-guns.  That's for other people to go on about.  I am concerned about common sense and what may be its practical application.  Maybe this new legislation will reflect no real increase in workplace violence in the form of shooting.   Let's face it, most employees may kill time on the job, but they have no intention of killing their fellow workers.  But then, there could be an increase.  And then, at best, we would chalk this new legislation up as almost a good idea.

As for the marauding hordes of barbarians that may sweep down on your vehicle as you commute from work, they are probably on a break or squandering their spoils.  All that Marauding is tough work, after all.  And as all recruiters should know, good help is hard to find.  No matter the industry.

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Comment by Mark Cook on April 15, 2011 at 12:07pm

I'm going to preface this buy saying I dont own a gun, havent carried a gun, and very rarely handle a gun.


Workplace violence happens from time to time... some of those times, it involves a gun. Whether or not a state government 'allows' an employee to bring a gun into the workplace is irrelevant. If someone has the desire and the wherewithal to bring a gun into the workplace, they will do it--or attempt to.

In a case in Atlanta, the employee's husband, from whom she was separated, arrived at her workplace to have a discussion/fight/argument. After the discuiion ensued, she retured to the building. He went to his house, grabbed a firearm, returned to her workplace, asked to see her, and shot her dead. The employer had a 'no guns' policy.


A second case: Workplace has a 'no guns' policy, and has a secured gated entrance. Similar scenario ensues--fight with an ex-spouse, who then goes home, gets a gun, waits just outside the premises, shoots employee. Easy enough to do--after all, the access out is as controlled as the access in. All he has to do is wait till the car passes through the gate.


I'm not against a workplace safety policy by any stretch; but common sense dictates that a 'no guns' policy is useless against someone determined to cause harm to the employer. 


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