Work it Out Blog

Ohio Expands Right to Carry Concealed Guns on Employer Property

Jan 24, 2017 by Jill C. McQueen

              On December 19, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed into a law a measure that will expand the right to carry concealed firearms.  Among other things, Senate Bill 199 lifts the existing ban against guns on college campuses, at daycare facilities, and in public areas of airport terminals.  (College Boards of Trustees will still need to vote to permit concealed firearms, while in-home daycare and childcare centers may continue to prohibit firearms by posting a sign to that effect.)

               Of particular concern to most employers is the provision that allows holders of a concealed handgun license to bring the weapon onto business property.  The law provides:

Sec. 2923.1210(A) – A business entity, property owner, or public or private employer may not establish, maintain, or enforce a policy or rule that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting a person who has been issued a valid concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition when both of the following conditions are met: 

(1)  Each firearm and all of the ammunition remains inside the person's privately owned motor vehicle while the person is physically present inside the motor vehicle, or each firearm and all of the ammunition is locked within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or container within or on the person's privately owned motor vehicle;

(2) The vehicle is in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be.

This means that, when the law becomes effective, Ohio employers will no longer be able to enforce a rule prohibiting guns in an employee vehicle on employer property, such as employee parking lots, against individuals with a valid concealed carry license.

               A controversial amendment to the bill was removed at the eleventh hour.  That amendment would have afforded civil rights protections to gun owners, making holders of a concealed handgun license a protected class—much like race or age—and permitting recourse to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

               While it would surely provide cold comfort in the event of an incident of workplace violence, the statute provides employers with immunity from liability arising out of “another person’s actions involving a firearm or ammunition transported or stored” pursuant to the new law, including the theft of a firearm from an employee’s car.

               The bill is expected to go into effect on March 20, 2017.  Employers are encouraged to review existing policies and signage before that date to determine compliance with the new law.

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.