Texans would be allowed to keep firearms and ammunition in their cars and trucks while they are at work, under a bill approved Tuesday by the state Senate over the objections of business groups.
The bill would ban employers from setting policies that prohibit guns from their parking lots. It is the third time since 2007 the Senate has passed the bill, only to see it fail in the House twice. The latest bill now heads to the House for consideration, and the author of the measure is optimistic it will pass.
State law already allows Texans to carry concealed handguns in their vehicles, with some restrictions, though many employers have adopted policies barring weapons their workers leave in their vehicles.
“There’s a fear that law-abiding citizens have to pick between their jobs and their Second Amendment rights,” said bill author Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy.
Senators passed the measure 30-1. It is supported by the Texas Rifle Association, but has run into opposition from the Texas Association of Business and other business groups and Texas trial lawyers. Business groups warn the bill could lead to more workplace violence.
The bill still lets businesses ban guns from their offices and from company vehicles. It would not apply to school parking lots or federal property where firearms are already banned.
Hegar said his bill covers concealed handguns as well as rifles or shotguns that may be used in hunting. But any gun in a car or truck would have to be kept hidden from view and the vehicle would have to be locked.