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Ruling: Employers Can't Use Penal Code to Restrict Handguns in Cars

A law passed last year allows licensed employees to keep concealed handguns in their vehicles while on employer property, and the employer cannot use the penal code to circumvent the law, according to an opinion from the attorney general's office Monday.

A M&P Shield handgun, small enough to be ideal for conceal carry, in Austin on April 23, 2021.

In an opinion released Monday that reinforces a 2011 law, Attorney General Greg Abbott's office said that employers cannot prohibit an employee with a concealed handgun license from keeping a handgun in a locked, private vehicle in an employee parking lot.

State Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, wrote a request for opinion from the office on May 7 on the matter. During the 2011 session, the Legislature passed a law allowing employees to store concealed handguns in their vehicles on employer property except in cases where prohibited by federal or state law.

According to the attorney general’s opinion, Section 30.06 of the Texas penal code — which allows  employers to post notices restricting handguns or other firearms on the premises — does not supersede the state law that protects concealed handgun license holders.

The opinion also notes that there is no statute that suggests a way for employees to respond when the employer violates this law. However, “an aggrieved employee may, depending on the circumstances, have the ability to sue an offending employer,” the opinion states.

Deuell's office could not be reached for comment.

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