For seven years the Texas Legislature has discussed the possibility of passing a law that allows gun owners to bring their guns to work with them. Recently such a law finally passed the Legislature.

On May 31, the Legislature passed SB 321, and Gov. Perry signed the law on June 17. On Sept. 1 the Hegar Gun Bill, SB 321 will become effective in Texas. The law allows employees to bring their guns and ammunition to their workplaces. The guns must be kept in the locked, private vehicle of the worker. If an employee has a concealed handgun license he or she can also bring a handgun to work, provided it’s kept in his or her locked, private vehicle.

This provision applies only to parking areas, parking lots, parking garages or other parking facilities provided to workers by the employers. The weapons are not allowed on the premises as defined by Texas law.

Section 46.035(f)(3), Texas Penal Code, defines “premises” as a building or a portion of a building. The term does not include any public or private driveway; street, sidewalk or walkway; parking lot; parking garage or other parking area.

Under a new law that takes effect Sept. 1, most employers will not be able to prohibit workers who legally own guns and ammunition from storing them in their vehicles on a company parking lot during business hours.

The few exceptions to the measure — Senate Bill 321 by state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy — include public and private schools, and lands that contain oil, gas and mineral leases. Certain properties where firearms are already outlawed, such as federal buildings, are also exempted from the law, as are company vehicles owned or leased by the employer.

Gun owners hailed SB 321 as a victory for Texans who want to protect themselves during their daily commutes to work.

“This is not the safe-parking lot bill. This is the safe-commuter bill,” said Alice Tripp, the legislative director for the Texas State Rifle Association, the state’s lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association.

Source: Dick Bagget for the San Angelo Standard-Times; Julian Aguilar for The Texas Tribune.

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