Since the issuance of the AG opinions regarding the right of the public to carry, either concealed or openly, in governmental buildings, another question has come up regarding the rights of a county employee to bring his gun into the workplace and the ability of an elected official, or department head, to prevent same....
The below examples have been modified to protect the actual offices attempting to limit the employees from bringing in firearms.
Example, The Tax Assessor has an employee who works in the courthouse well away from any courtrooms or other offices utilized by the court.
The elected Tax assessor wants to ban all employees from bringing their gun into those offices.
Second example, the appointed County Librarian mandates her employees who are licensed not to bring their guns into the library, which is a stand alone building,
I have looked at Labor code 52.061 and .062 however, in light of the recent decisions, I am still of two minds about the authority of an elected official or appointed department head to prevent such carry...if the public has the ability to carry into those offices, it seems an employee would have the same right...
What am I missing? Any others having this issue?
We are in a small jurisdiction, most of the County employees have licenses, and we have no security in the courthouse which is the reason most employees bring their guns to the office
Just saw email from TAC about the webinar on the 20th that indicated TDCAA will participate in the discussion....I assume this question will be asked then as well.This message has been edited. Last edited by: mhartman,
The answer is in the LTC (formerly CHL) subchapter of the Government Code:
Sec. 411.203. RIGHTS OF EMPLOYERS. This subchapter does not prevent or otherwise limit the right of a public or private employer to prohibit persons who are licensed under this subchapter from carrying a handgun on the premises of the business. In this section, "premises" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035(f)(3), Penal Code.
It's been on the books since 1997.
Remember, the Penal Code concerns criminal law, not employment law. The legislature can make something a crime and then give defenses to that crime (which is what LTC basically amounts to), but those criminal defenses do not carry with them a defense to being fired.
And to anticipate the next question of raised by gun enthusiasts: No, gun owners/carriers are not a "protected class" for employment law purposes.
I foresee a conflict coming between commissioners and elected official who have differing views on what they allow employees to do. Especially if the CC wants to prevent carrying in the county buildings and the elected official wants to allow it.
I can see the CC claiming to be the employer since they usually publish the employee policy manual and set salary etc. Therefore, they will claim the ability to ban employees from carrying in county owned buildings.
Not sure this will be a big issue, but it might come up in the webinar.
Do we ever really run out of sources of conflict among people who go looking for it?
Another piece of advice we often give to those having trouble with their friendly neighborhood elected peers is this reminder: "No, he can't make you do it, but he cam make you wish you had done it." Don't forget to factor that into your calculus.
No we do not....otherwise known as job security!
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