Safety and OSHA News

New open carry law: Should businesses opt out?

Oil-producer Chevron is one of several companies that have chosen to opt out of a state’s new gun open-carry law that took effect on Jan. 1, 2016. Which other companies are following suit?

Chevron, the largest employer in downtown Houston, has informed its employees that it’s opting out of the new Texas open-carry law.

According to the Houston Business Journal, the oil company informed its employees that, “based on existing laws and company policy, no firearms (handguns, rifles or shotguns) are permitted inside Chevron office buildings.”

Chevron says its Texas decision “is consistent that no firearms are allowed in any Chevron facility without prior approval from Global Security.”

The new Texas open-carry law allows residents with a concealed handgun license to openly carry a gun in a belt or shoulder holster without a new license or additional training.

Open carry is prohibited in some places, including:

  • schools and school buses
  • sporting events
  • anywhere an activity is sponsored by a school
  • polling places during elections
  • courts
  • racetracks
  • secured airport areas, and
  • businesses where alcohol is sold and is 51% or more of revenue for on-premises consumption.

Private employers may prohibit employees and customers from carrying handguns, concealed or open.

The posting requirements for businesses that decide to ban people from carrying on their premises are very specific. Posted signs must be in English and Spanish. The language must appear in contrasting colors with block letters one-inch high and be displayed where they will be clearly visible to the public. For open-carry bans, the signs must be located at each entrance to the property.

The Texas Business Association has expressed concerns with the law’s signage requirements.

Besides Chevron, other businesses that have chosen to ban open-carry at their facilities include some grocery chains, Houston’s Galeria mall, Whataburger and Torchy’s Tacos. The Houston Business Journal says this is “just a few” of the businesses that are opting out of the law.

Laws allowing employees to store guns in their vehicles parked where they work have been controversial.

Before Tennessee enacted such a law, its state OSHA had weighed in on whether guns in vehicles parked at workplace lots are a hazard to employees. Tennessee OSHA had said each case of gun possession in a workplace that served alcohol would be considered on its own merits. The new law took that decision out of the hands of Tennessee OSHA.

Does your company have a guns-in-the-workplace policy? You can weigh in on this issue in the comments.

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Comments

  1. I can’t think of a single refinery or chemical plant here on the Gulf Coast that allows concealed carry at their facility. I know of several facilities that don’t allow them on their property at all, including the parking lot.

  2. Realtalk4u says:

    Oh yet where are all these 2nd admendment people bitching about CORPORATIONS TAKING your guns away from you? They literally took guns out of your hands and cars , yet no complaints about it? SMH Yet you still think obama created and executive order ( which he didnt, if he did please show the executive order number) it was an action learn the difference

    • Paul McCarthy says:

      Corporations are not required to abide by the restrictions of the Second Amendment. Obama is. And no, he did not create any executive order. He did create 4 Presidential Memoranda and 23 Executive Actions in 2013 and 11 more in 2015. While none have the force of law, and most require Congressional approval, he has said outright that he would like “Australian style” gun control legislation- legislation that confiscated and destroyed tens of thousands of heretofore legally owned firearms. So what he not saying, but really is saying-is that he wants to do exactly the same thing.

    • Corporation typically do this because of liability concerns (the ‘deep pocket’ theory in action). As you know, due to the Lawsuit Lotto, any thing that happens on a persons property automatically makes them a party to the lawsuit.

      Side note: I once worked for one business that was privately owned that forbid forearms on the premises except for the owner himself.

  3. @disqus_Ecj7OThtMk:disqus
    The Constitution is a document restricting
    powers of the government, not restricting the powers of private institutions
    and individuals. The Freedoms granted allow corporations to restrict what they
    allow or do not allow on their property, and it also allows one to choose
    whether to work there or patronize the business. Also, to be clear, the
    corporations have not ‘taken your guns away from you’. They have restricted
    what is permitted on their property. One can still own the guns, and carry
    wherever that access has not been restricted. Every party involved is able to
    make a free choice, the very essence of United States founding values.

  4. Paul McCarthy says:

    Stupidity and ignorance of facts and statistics at its finest. Companies afraid of non-existent litigation, and people afraid of non-existent events. If someone wants to carry, let them carry. The mere act of carrying a gun is no safety issue whatsoever. There may be other factors to consider, but certainly not the safety of guns or the owners thereof.

  5. I believe that to consider the right to carry as a safety issue is a false distinction. This is not to say that there are not times, places, and tasks where having 1/2lb of steel (give or take) hanging off of your belt might become a hazard or inhibition to work; but that the responsible carrying of firearms by employees is not, in itself, a hazard. Granted, negligent discharges (with a well designed modern firearm there is no such thing as an “accidental discharge”) do occasionally happen, and I fully support policies to diminish that likelihood, such as a prohibition on showing off your piece, and a requirement for holster use. In regards to workplace violence, I believe forbidding carrying in the workplace accomplishes only the helplessness of your employees. I have never yet been to a site where I could not have easily snuck in a weapon. On the other hand, in the nightmare scenario of an active shooter, when flight is impossible and hiding ineffectual, being able to shoot back is a powerful aid to survival. Another angle is that open carry tends to be disquieting to some. For this reason I strongly advocate concealed carry, mostly as a courtesy to those who are not as comfortable with firearms as I am.

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