Although most states allow permitted citizens to carry firearms, employers in those states may challenge right-to-carry laws and place a ban on firearms while at work. Now, employers are voicing out to challenge those employers.
A 2004 story sparked employee outrage and questions of the ability of companies to ban guns. Pizza Hut delivery man Ronald Honeycutt was approached by a man holding a gun after he had just finished dropping off a delivery. When Honeycutt realized he was about to be the victim of a robbery, he reached into his belt for the 9 mm handgun that he always carries and shot the man more than 10 times, ultimately killing him.
Although Honeycutt was not criminally penalized because he was acting in self defense, he lost his job because Pizza Hut’s employment policy has a no-weapons rule which Honeycutt was in violation of. Gun-owner groups say that employers who ban guns are stripping away second amendment rights, and workers’ rights to defend themselves on the job.
According to a report issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, about 76% of all workplace homicides are robbery-related, compared to 7% of the general population. Criminals out to commit robbery can generally feel confident that people on the job, in service and retail positions, are usually carrying cash or have the ability to obtain money from a cash register.
Most employers with policies that ban firearms are standing by their restrictions, saying that laws that allow guns in parking lots infringe on employers’ property rights and endanger all employees in the case of an impulse attack. According to the Department of Labor, one employee is killed and at least 25 are seriously injured in an average U.S. work week. Many employers are finding themselves having to choose sides, and are fearing the backlash and boycotting of their business if they choose a side that doesn’t sit well with employees or customers.
At this point, courts are siding with employers who choose to ban firearms, more than employees who want to bring their firearms to work. As long as employers have specified outlined policies that ban weapons in the workplace, employees agree to such policies and may not fight against them. To further fight for employer rights, many gun advocates are pushing for laws that would make employers who ban guns liable if workers are injured in an attack on company property.